CASE STUDY: better naps and night time sleep within 4 days!
*this is a case study from a real-life mum who reached out for help. We share our case studies in the hope it may help other mums who are in the same, or similar, situations. Not everyone parents in the same way, so please do not judge, criticize or demean these mothers and the parenting choices they have made in the best interests of their babies and their families.
Age: 4-5 Months
Room: swaddle, white noise
Naps: catnapping all day in 35-45 minute naps
Setting: rocked/patted to sleep
Night: waking every 2 hours after midnight
Charlotte was quite an easy newborn. Her mother Natasha followed her cues for sleeping and feeding and she was sleeping in long stretches overnight by around 8 weeks old and having 3 or 4 naps during the day of over an hour each nap.
When Charlotte reached 12 weeks old things started to change. She started waking after 35-45 minutes for her daytime naps, sometimes being able to be settled back to sleep by rocking or patting or feeding, other times not going back to sleep at all. Natasha wasn't too worried about the catnapping because Charlotte continued to sleep well overnight... Until around 5 months. Charlotte had been sleeping for 5 or 6 hours at a time overnight but now she was waking at around midnight then every 2 hours after that until morning. Natasha wasn't sure what to do seeing as Charlotte had previously been sleeping so well and she was sure Charlotte didn't need to be fed every single time she woke.
Natasha found Little Ones after our blog on the 4 month sleep regression popped up on her Facebook page. It sounded exactly like what Charlotte was going through. Natasha purchased our Baby Sleep Program and through the Support Group sought some guidance for the best place to start.
We were able to quickly see that her baby was indeed going through the 4 month sleep regression and Charlotte's sleep needs had now changed and matured. She was no longer sleeping like a newborn baby and so her awake windows and sleep skills needed adapting to match her neurological development. As a normal part of the regression, Charlotte was now waking fully between sleep cycles for her naps and overnight and some strategies were needed to help Charlotte nap for longer and resettle herself in the night.
We suggested Natasha start the nap schedule component of the Sleep Program right away so we could guarantee Charlotte was being put to bed at the right times to mean she was perfectly ready for a longer nap; a baby will continue to catnap if they're over or under tired and Charlotte wasn't quite having enough awake time for her age. At the same time, Natasha started using on of our gradual self-settling methods to ensure Charlotte was being put to bed awake (but ready for sleep) and guiding her to the skill of falling asleep unassisted. Natasha used our method for rocked-to-sleep babies, which involves the parent soothing their baby if upset while still giving them the opportunity to fall asleep without being rocked fully to sleep. All in all this process took 4 days and Charlotte was no longer needing to be actively settled to sleep - going into her cot totally ready for a nap and falling asleep on her own! After some more perseverance around resettling during a nap, Charlotte started napping for more than one sleep cycle at a time, having a long lunchtime sleep, and her night wakes were drastically reduced!
Many babies go from being great sleeping newborns to tricky sleepers at around the 4 month mark, although it can start creeping in from as early as 8 weeks. This is due to the massive neurological development that occurs at this age that changes a baby's sleep patterns permanently. When this happens, a baby's ability to go to sleep depends completely on the things they have come to associate strongly with sleep - in baby Charlotte's case it was being rocked to sleep. This meant she needed this replicated each time she roused between cycles. Charlotte simply needed to re-learn how to go to sleep on her own, which she was able to do really quickly through following our Sleep Program and gradually being weaned off a dependance on rocking. Charlotte also needed help moving away from Newborn sleep patterns by having her awake windows extended between naps. This meant she was fully ready to settle well and sleep for longer. Addressing these factors resulted in Charlotte being able to nap for longer than one sleep cycle in the day and sleep in much longer stretches overnight.
Natasha was so surprised how quickly and easily this change happened!
"I didn't realise how much more awake time Charlotte needed than what I was giving her! This in itself made heaps of difference and she was even able to fall asleep on her own easier because she was perfectly ready to go to sleep! I'm amazed at the incredible difference in such a short time. Thank you so much!"
To start YOUR journey to better sleep, our Baby Sleep Programs are right here.
To learn more about baby sleep at this age, read: