4 Months: Wonder Week 19 & 4 Month Sleep Regression

by Nicole on February 13, 2013

When you are pregnant/having a baby you know you’re going to be tired at the beginning. You expect it. So when Liv came and was eating every 2 1/2-3 hours during the day and (eventually) 3-4 hours during the night, Danny and I were like this isn’t so bad. She would get up to eat and be back to sleeping within the hour. Dare, I say it felt easy. Easy probably because we expected it to happen like this. And easy because she rarely cried.

She did get fussy around 4:30-5 pm but Danny would come home and give her the special Daddy rock and get her to go down.  It wasn’t bad. (Note: Happiest Baby on the Block and the 5 S’s are AMAZING.) We were blessed with a baby that wasn’t colicky and didn’t cry too much besides when she was hungry.

I distinctly remember one night that she cried for over an hour. We couldn’t get her to stop. Nothing was wrong, at least that we could figure out. We ended up giving her gripe water and blasting Enya. We all fell asleep on our bed in our clothes from the day. That was the only time that happened and we were/are SO grateful.

Fast forward…. Olivia is over 3.5 months (16.5 weeks today) and guess what….she’s sleeping WORSE than ever! Last night she got up EVERY HOUR. I’m not telling you this because I want you to feel bad for me…I’m telling you this because NO ONE ever tells you that at 3-4 months can typically be the worst sleep of your baby’s short life. I think it’s worse because if your baby was previously sleeping through the night or at least for 3-4 hour stretches you don’t expect it. AND/OR you never expected to STILL not be sleeping at 3-4 months. We are getting worse sleep than when she was a tiny newborn.

So what is going on? Well, first…really who knows. We are all so fast to want to blame something. Growth spurt, wonder week, teething, gas, etc. I admit I do the same. I’ve read up on the 4 month sleep regression because I had seen so many people mention it on twitter. I kind of knew it was coming, but since at 3 months Liv was only sleeping 4 hour stretches I didn’t think it could get much worse. Well, guess what IT DID. (At 13-14 weeks she had a couple of 6 hour stretches and we were rejoicing! That didn’t last long.)

At around 4 months babies can (not all will!) go through what’s called a sleep regression. It’s also called 4 month wakeful period. There are many different names/thoughts around this. It also comes around a wonder week. I’ve read your baby can start to get fussy around 15 weeks, it peaks at 17 and then gets better, with new milestones/developments happening by 19 weeks. It seems as if we have a textbook baby because right at 15 weeks she started getting fussy. It wasn’t too bad though, her sleep was worse every 3rd night I’d say. Now we are just past week 16 and it’s bad. I’m hoping next week will be better. I’ve read this blog post about a million times to make me feel better and give me hope she will sleep better one day.

Liv has many of these signs that she talks about. SUPER clingy. Needs a lot more attention (You may laugh at this because obviously all babies need attention, but typically she’s good to play on her play/activity mat or on her bobby lounger but she had a couple days so far where she would NOT even be put down.) She also has her hands constantly in her mouth, is not eating quite as much (although not very drastic so far) and would rather be eating her hands than talking.

Danny and I are both so tired, but I just keep telling myself this is a phase and she’ll move past it soon. This stretch is a LONG one. I’ve read that and I’ve heard that from a lot of moms. I’m hoping we’re almost halfway through it. It DOES help a lot to know that you’re not alone and most babies go through this (a simple google search will show you like this blog post here!) Once again I’ll vouch for the importance of mom friends so you can tell each other how tired you are.

I hope if you are going through this/are about to head into the time period or just came from it this helps. I know there are no answers but I just wanted to put it out there in case maybe one mom hasn’t read about this time period and wasn’t sure what to expect or was questioning why her baby isn’t sleeping anymore.  To read more about Wonder Weeks check out this guide or this  mom’s blog. You could buy the book too, but I don’t feel like there is much you can do. My plan is to just know it’s coming and give Olivia lots of extra love and snuggles.

This morning Liv woke up at 4:40. She was just chatting away so I left her for about 10 minutes before I went in. I was so annoyed to be awake (AGAIN). I put on a long sleeve shirt and was grumpily walking into her room. As soon as I turned the light on she started smiling and laughing. Instantly I wasn’t annoyed anymore and was laughing along with her. Amazing how that happens. <3

I’ll keep you updated on what’s going on. I can report though that her naps today went well and were 40 minutes and then two 1.5 hour naps.


Here are things we’ve tried since then…

Teaching Our Baby to Fall Asleep (using the swing) Part One & Part Two

Sleep Training: Cry It Out Part One & Part Two

Related Posts with Thumbnails

{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Holly February 13, 2013 at 10:48 am

This post will now show up in the google searches of desperate moms! Our nighttime sleep has gotten WAY better, but naps are absolutely all over the place. I was a grump one night too going in to feed Adeline for the millionth time, but she gave me the biggest grin ever. Humbling.


Bex February 14, 2013 at 6:34 am

I’ve actually never heard of this, but I’ve also been too tired for 15 years to read up on it. Ok, I’m kidding. Sometimes (often times) your babies and children will just do what they’re going to do with no regard to what’s normal or healthy or convenient. Three out of four of my kids NEVER napped. Winona was a sleep champion, Calvin was the chillest kid ever (but never slept a wink during the day), Jack was the stuntman (and still has us crazy with his antics most of the time), and Summer – at two-years-old – has decided that all of a sudden she’s just not into sleep. This is all par for the course. I was lucky enough to be at home, so I just rolled with the punches and allowed the kids to do their thing. You’ll be pleased to know that as they grew up, I never had a temper tantrum, a clingy school drop-off, trouble getting them into their own beds, or a fight at bedtime to shut off the lights. They’re all happy, healthy, thriving, pleasant, kids who also happen to be excellent sleepers. Look at it this way… more crying and awake time means more cuddles. You’ll be CRAVING them soon enough. Go easy, mama. xo


Michelle February 14, 2013 at 9:19 pm

Both of my kids did this and it really IS just a phase!

Hang in there mama and enjoy the 4:40 chat sessions. There will be a day (far, far too soon!) where they look at you and roll their eyes with every word you say. *sigh*


Stella February 17, 2013 at 2:46 pm

Oh pls keep the updates coming!! We’ve just started week 15 and I’m starting to feel the nightmare unfolding! My girl has been super clingy, unlike her usual self. I can’t put her down! She’s sleeping poorly in that she wakes do ever frequently. Just that day she woke every 15 minutes after being put down. Today, she simply refuses to n put down at all!

They say it usually lasts 1-2 weeks I can’t wait for it to be over!!!!!


Maria Delaney February 18, 2013 at 8:16 pm

I never had the 4 month phase thing. probably because Benjamin seemed to need very little sleep from day 01! He slept his first night at 13 months (ie. 6+hours, not 8+ hours!). he still has at almost 2od nights and bad nights :-( last night was the fifth night in a row he didn’t sleep well, so I’ wreaked! anymore I don’t look at the clock when he wakes up, I just try and get him back to sleep and me back to sleep as quick as I can. they say this won’t last forever and you do get used of it! it’s so hard as a new sleep deprived mom but try not stress! hugs to oliva. btw you said she has her hands in her mouth a lot, maybe she is teething! benjamin got his first tooth just before he was 4 months (which is early)!


Maria Delaney February 18, 2013 at 8:18 pm

*at almost 2yrs


Christina May 6, 2013 at 8:13 am

This is happening to us right now! Our amazing sleeper (waking only 1 time per night from 2 – 3 months) is now waking every 1 or 2 hrs! Its hell! But thank you for your post. I feel much better knowing we are not alone and this will get better. And yes – even at 5am you walk in there and they are all happy and smiles and you cant help but smiling!


Poppy's mum May 11, 2013 at 8:18 pm

We are about to enter our 6th week of this! Started at about 14 weeks. Up until then poppy would sleep 12 hours overnight with a quick feed around 2 or 3am. Now, on a good night we are up 3 times but often 4 or 5! She will not nap unless held and the last week or so refuses to be put down. It’s so exhausting and has been going on seemingly forever!! I am putting my faith in all the mums who tell me this is just a phase and hoping it ends soon. She’s learning some pretty amazing new things though and smiling and giggling more than ever and that makes it easier to bear.


Natalie May 23, 2013 at 7:27 pm

Hello x my ds is 17 weeks, this sounds exactly like what we are currently experiencing. He has always fed ever 2-3 hrs but did a 4-5 hr stretch from 8 pm onwards. He is in his nursery now as I realised I was disturbing his sleep. He goes to bed after bath and cuddles at 7-8 wakes between 10.30 up til 12 on a good night. He will then sleep an hour or so and be up 1 – 4 constant feeding! Suckling etc. I am pretty much totally sleep deprived now in 3rd week of this crazy pattern. If I know it’s a temp phase I can cope. He has been exclusively bf and only now were introducing one or two bottle form feeds per day as I am exhausted. Love him to bits best job but also the hardest! Xx any advice ladies?


Fleur July 18, 2013 at 11:30 pm

Any updates ladies? How is everyone traveling with sleep?


Dolly December 24, 2013 at 1:42 am

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Charlotte March 9, 2014 at 8:58 am

I feel like my baby is not normal or maybe just lucky, as he is 18 weeks (15 adjusted, but i dont adjust) and we have never experienced a noticeable wonder week, yet he has certainly hit all the milestones (minus the rolling over) that he should for his age. Im not trying to brag, im honestly just wondering why its not so obvious with my baby. Maybe hes one of those who wont experience a sleep regression (he was sleeping in 5 hour stretches at night by 5 weeks, now its 8, but daytime naps are no longer than 45 minutes), or maybe my intuition is better than I thought. I dunno, but people talk about the wonder weeks and I just cant relate and it makes me sad, and when i say we havent noticeably experienced one, I,get yelled at for talking about how ‘perfect’ my baby is (when really, i wasnt saying it to brag i was genuinely concerned). Is there anyone else out there whose babies have gone thru a,wonder week withOUT a noticeable change in behavior?


Nicole March 10, 2014 at 8:50 am

oh my goodness, do not feel bad! Every baby is different. Do not worry about not noticing any signs of wonder weeks. As long as your baby is hitting milestones than I wouldn’t worry at all! Enjoy your happy baby! :)


Jessica March 16, 2014 at 2:25 pm

How long did this last? What did you find that helped? I feel like I am losing my mind! He was such a good sleeper and now naps are 30-45 minutes and he is super tired but can’t sleep. Up every hour at night when was sleeping 10 with one or no wake ups. Did her sleep return to normal or as it forever changed? Please help!!!


Nicole March 17, 2014 at 12:53 pm

Hi jessica! for us it lasted until about 19 weeks. Her sleep went back to relatively normal until 6 months when she had another regression. We ended up doing CIO because she was getting up every hour. I wrote a post about that too. Hang in there, it does get better! Email me if you need anything else/ to vent :)


Shannon March 18, 2014 at 7:32 pm

My 18 week old was an awesome nighttime sleeper until a month ago. She rarely naps for more than 30 min at a time, and always wakes up from naps screaming hysterically. A few months ago, it started taking hours to put her to bed at night. I would nurse, rock her to sleep, but as soon as I put her in her crib… hysterical crying. I started Weissbluth’s extinction method. She went from crying to 45 minutes to 15 minutes at naps and bed-time within a week. Nonetheless, we ALWAYS get 10 min of HYSTERICAL crying before naps and night. In fact, as soon as she sees her crib/sleep sack, the hysterical crying begins. The hysterical crying continues even if I stand beside her crib, touch her while in the crib, or rock her (in my arms) in the same room as the crib. Naps NEVER last more than 30 min… and then she wakes up.. crying hysterically. If I nurse her after a nap, she will sleep ON me for hours. I know she is overtired… which makes this all the more frustrating. As of 16 weeks old, she began waking in the night every two hours. Starting at 18 weeks, it is every hour. She is awake at night EVERY hour. THe only way to get her to go to sleep for more than an hour is by nursing her, in bed. I am not a fan of co-sleeping. It is uncomfortable and dangerous. In the morning, I am freezing and she is sweaty. I have tried Cry it out throughout the night, but it is not working. I have a 5 year old and a husband and she is waking up the whole house. We are currently sleeping in the basement in an effort to allow half of the family to get some sleep. I would be alright with staying awake all night.. if she would nap during the day.. but she doesn’t. I’m seriously on the edge and don’t know how much longer I’m going to be able to deal with this. FYI… my first baby also did not nap…(longer than 30 min) until she was 2. I have basically memorized Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. The No Cry Sleep Solution does not work. Really, I’m just looking for somebody who is going through the same thing to tell me that it’s going to be okay.


Danna March 27, 2014 at 7:20 pm

My baby has been sleeping 5-9 hours a day for 3 weeks. Sometimes the longest stretch in a day is 45 minutes. This can’t be normal. He is 18 1/2 weeks. 17 1/2 from his due date. I’m literally losing my mind.


Shannon April 3, 2014 at 7:25 am

I feel your pain. It is really hard to go through a sleep routine that many times a day. It is so frustrating. My baby is just getting worse. The last 2 days I have been running into her room in order to nurse her back to sleep… if I lie down with her, she’ll sleep for hours. Problem is, I have another child who needs my attention. When she has slept for the 2 hours during the day, she is getting up at 5:00a.m instead of 6:30??!! I should probably stop reading books/blogs etc.. and just let whatever happens, happen. I read somewhere that sleep training between 4 and 5.5 months is not effective, due to developmental issues. There is a window between 5.5 and 7 months that is optimal sleep training time. I’m just going to suck it up for another 2 weeks, and then my little cutie will be in for a rude awakening.


K April 24, 2014 at 3:53 pm

Hi girls – our son was sleeping through at 6 weeks. We had a few days of this unsettled behavior at 13 weeks but these things helped – firstly heaps of love and age appropriate stimulation in the day time between naps. A new study shows bubs who get referred sunlight in the afternoon sleep better so an afternoon walk in the pram.
Regulate nap times – put back to bed in day time 1.5 hours each time after waking or the appropriate length of wake time for your bubs age, let baby nap as long as they want (naps will consolidate and get longer when they get older), but don’t let them nap longer than 2 hours as this will effect night time sleep, put to bed at 7pm every night – work gradually towards this time, don’t let your baby nap past 5.15pm in the evening, follow bed time routine – ours is bath, dance, love to dream swaddle (until he can roll) then bed.
Demand feed until 6 weeks or they are nearing 6kg then move to own room. Start to delay feeding gratification at night. Bub is capable of sleeping through at this stage so help him to do this. When he wakes don’t go to him when he fusses, go when he is really awake and when he is actually crying. Often times he will put him self back to sleep after fussing. If if has not been 3 hours since your last feed and he wakes, and if he is clean, and fed then leave him – let him cry it out and he will go back to sleep ( this is controversial but it works and there is no personality change from doing this just better sleep – work towards this though slowly and only let him do this once per night)
Pretty soon your bub will start to sleep longer at night – when you go to him, take a small torch or night light then turn it off once you have started feeding so you are in darkness, don’t make eye contact with bub and keep the stimulation and noise minimal – in the animal world eye contact signifies play time
Good luck with your bundles of joy – the above helped me to be a better, more rested and more responsive mother during the day.
They have also linked post natal depression with sleep deprivation so I encourage mothers to take these steps to get your baby to sleep at night.


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jessiker November 14, 2014 at 4:09 pm

I know this post is from over a year ago – but thank you! My little girl is 19 weeks and the past month has been… well for lack of a better word.. hell! I googled, with desperation, if this is normal. Sure enough, I have been reassured by blog posts like this. It helps to know I’m not the only one going or who has gone through this :)


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