How Little Z’s Sleep Trains 4 Month Olds


Oct 19, 2023

If you’re wondering what exactly is different about Little Z’s sleep training plans, or why you should follow one of our plans instead of just asking Google for help, then you will love what I’m sharing with you today!

While there are a lot of different ways that you can go down this path of sleep, in reality, there’s only four sleep training methods. Let’s talk about which methods I use and how it can help your family. 


Here at Little Z’s, we have Newborn, Baby, Toddler and Preschool Sleep Training Courses, so we serve all ages! Our Baby Sleep Training Course is the most unique because you actually get two plans in one: you get one plan for a 4- to 5-month-old and one plan for a 6- to 16-month-old.

Why is that? First, I do truly believe that a 4- to 5-month-old may still need to have a nighttime feed, so that program has a night feeding built into it. Whereas in our 6- to 16-month-old program, this feed is no longer needed.

Another difference between these two plans is beginning with the stay in the room method for younger babies, and jumping straight to leave and check with older babies.

Plus, with the 14 days of audio memos you receive as part of each plan, you’ll hear different encouragement and strategies for ages 4-5 months old than for a 13/14-month-old. 

Now that you have a general picture of what is part of our sleep plans, let’s jump into a little more detail about the 4-5 month sleep plans.



Everyone talks about the dreaded 4-month regression. I hear the cries from newborn parents who are really anxious about this, because perhaps they’ve had a great time with their 0- to 3-month old and they know that something’s about to change. Or, maybe you’re in the middle of this and you are cringing because you just want your newborn baby back. 

Let me just ease your mind about the 4-month regression. We can actually flip it around and call it a progression

Your baby is simply growing, thriving, and changing, and we can honestly celebrate this!! 


Newborns have 2 sleep cycles: REM and Non-REM. When you dive into my Newborn Sleep Course, we will learn even more about how amazing these two sleep cycles are. But around 4 months old, they’re changing from 2 sleep cycles to sleep cycles that are the ones that they’ll have the rest of their life. They’re the same sleep cycles that you and I have. 

Babies this age are going from newborn sleep cycles to their forever sleep cycles, and things are different. No longer can you do the same things that were working for your newborn. For example, things like holding them to sleep is not working anymore. Using pacifiers might not be working anymore. 

So people are in an uproar at 4 months wondering, “What happened to my baby who used to sleep?!” It’s because they’re growing and changing. So let’s celebrate that!!


At 4 months old, your baby is experiencing developmental changes. Perhaps they’re earning how to roll from back to belly, or belly to back, which ends up being an amazing skill for self soothing. 

Also, the Moro reflex begins to disappear. The Moro reflex is that startle reflex where they are in their sleep and they just kind of jolt around. It makes them feel like they’re falling and wakes them up. 


Now circumstantially, I’ve found that sometimes 4 months old is when the transition happens into a daycare setting or a sitter setting. Perhaps mom is going back to work and there’s just some differences in the home environment. 

Along with this, we sometimes find that mom and dad are ready to move baby into their own room. This all depends on your family flow and what’s going on circumstantially; however, these are just some of the factors that go along with the 4-month regression. All of this growth and all of this change seems overwhelming. 

So, what can you do to help your baby get some solid sleep independently? I’m giving you 4 key main action steps that you can try today!



There are a million options on sleep sacks so I’ve actually put together this amazing sleep sack rating guide that will help you understand the ins and outs of all the products. Hopefully this saves you from getting lost on Amazon – you can find that here

In general, I actually like to get babies out of the swaddle by about 10- to 12-weeks-old so they can start to manipulate their body. I want them to start utilizing their body, like fingers and rolling from belly to back and back to belly and understanding how to use those things to soothe themselves. 

4-month olds need to learn how to sleep independently, and the first step of learning how to sleep independently is self soothing.

Now honestly, sometimes parents are avoiding a sleep sack and they’re just going straight to PJs. That is totally fine, too! However, a lot of times babies aren’t ready to go straight from swaddle to just PJs. Sleep sacks can help with that!

If you are also in this transition from maybe staying at home and going to daycare, this is an excellent time to make sure that daycare can also use the sleep sack for naps because we want to use the same things from naps and nighttime sleep. So it’s really helpful to have a consistent routine of sleep sacks for naps and nights, even when they’re at daycare.

The sleep sack is also part of the bedtime routine, so where you have always been doing the swaddle, now just replace that with the sleep sack. 

Some people even said that their baby starts to rub their eyes the moment they put that sleep sack on because it’s such a powerful cue!



The second thing I want you to work on is focusing on naps in your baby’s crib.. You probably realize that at this point, it’s really hard to transfer your 4-month-old from the car to the crib. It’s just not going to happen. 

Remember, their sleep needs are changing. The sleep they had in the car as a newborn was honestly not the best quality so I’m thrilled that they are not as eager to take those car naps anymore. 

So, we want to get them in their crib for as many naps as possible around this age. Start with the very first nap of the day because it’s usually the easiest one to get them down for, and often the longest nap of the day.

But let’s also be realistic. At 4 months old, we can have anywhere from 4 to 3 naps a day. Do I expect you to be a prisoner to your own home? No, it’s good for your mental health to get out of the house, and you need to have a life! 

So if we can make a goal of having about half of these naps in their crib, that would be great!



For your baby’s awake time at 4-5 months old, we are actually creating a really consistent daytime routine so that they will be much more willing to self soothe because you’ve nailed the timing.

Here’s the deal. Overtiredness is basically hyperactivity. It’s really hard to get an overtired baby to fall asleep! We want to avoid that!

So often we’ve missed the mark when it comes to getting your baby down at the right time. And while there is no one size fits all, I would suggest finding your baby’s sweet spot. This could be anywhere from about 1½ to 2 hours of awake time and then down for a nap all throughout the day. 

Remember, there is no such thing as keeping your baby awake for hours so that they crash for bedtime! Focus on their awake time so that you can build a solid routine to help them get their naps when they need and also get them down for bed. 

All of these things from the swaddle to keeping them in their crib for naps as much as possible and keeping their awake time in check are so important. They are the foundation of the work that I do with 4-month-old families because we’ve got to make sure your baby can begin to learn the self soothing strategies on their own. 

It’s no longer time to depend on mom or dad’s arms to get you to sleep. So let’s make sure your baby is understanding how to form these self soothing strategies.



This is probably my favorite and it might feel like it’s a little disjointed from sleep sacks, awake times, and cribs, but it actually has everything to do with creating an independent sleeper!

I want you to get dad more involved with baby! Honestly, I find so often that dads are waiting and they’re willing and they’re so ready to be a part of it, and usually it’s just us (I say us because I struggle with this too!) who have been solely in control. We’ve got that mom instinct! We know exactly what’s going on and when to do it. And sometimes we just decide it’s just easier to hold the reins. 

But the reason that I want dad to get involved is because I want your baby to understand and realize that Mom and Dad are a team. I don’t just have to rely on Mom to go to sleep – there’s a unit here that helps me. That’s super important when you’re building your baby’s independent sleep habits. 

The two places I love to get dad involved are bath and story. They’re the easiest places to start. So let dad have a major part in bedtime routine since bedtime routine is the foundation of your child’s sleep.



All 4 of these steps work in conjunction! I want you to do all of them together. Sleep sack, in the crib, following the wake times, and cheering baby on as a team – that’s what makes for the best success!


There's only four sleep training methods. Let’s talk about which methods I use and how it can help your family.

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