Looking for an optimal 4-month old sleep schedule? I’ve got you covered with sample naps and wake windows for your 4 month old baby
I really loved the 4-month-old phase! It felt like I was finally getting some glimpses into my daughter’s personality.
She was also still so squishy and content to hang out in my lap without trying to wiggle away and get into mischief!
Babies at 4 months old typically show so much personality with limited mobility, so they can’t get into too much trouble!
At this age, babies are capable of distinguishing between colors and keeping their heads fully supported when propped in a sitting position. That means that activity seats and tummy time are a lot more fun!
You’ll probably be in for lots more giggling and smiles from your growing babe. But along with these developments also comes a change in your 4-month-old’s sleep schedule.
Let’s talk about what might change between months 3 and 4 and see an optimal sleep schedule for your 4 month old.
What is A Typical Schedule for a 4-Month-Old?
In those early newborn weeks, you shouldn’t worry too much about a newborn sleep schedule. Naps are unpredictable and sporadic and all your newborn cares to do is eat, sleep, and cuddle!
But as your baby starts to “wake up” from the newborn haze—around 3 months old—you can go ahead and start laying the foundation for a solid routine and baby sleep schedule.
As a Pediatric Sleep Consultant, I encourage families to follow an eat-play-sleep routine. I recommend you start by implementing some awake time after feedings.
Your 4-month-old is more than capable of staying awake after they eat, but they might need your help!
It might take some effort on your part to keep your little one stimulated during and after feedings. If you start to see heavy eyelids while they’re nursing, try talking or singing to your baby, or gently playing with their arms and legs.
One of the biggest reasons to implement an eat-play-sleep routine is to avoid creating a sleep association for your baby where they need to be nursed to sleep.
Sample 4-Month-Old Sleep Schedule with Feeds
This sample 4-month-old schedule has your baby’s awake times starting at 90 minutes for the first stretch of the day (before their first nap) and going up to 2 hours maximum throughout the rest of the day.
It also includes feedings every 3 to 3.5 hours. Some babies will need to eat sooner, so make sure you’re paying attention to your baby’s hunger cues.
Sample 4-Month-Old Sleep Schedule
7:00 am: Wake and nurse or bottle
8:30 to 10:00 am: Nap
10:00 am: Nurse or bottle
12:00 pm to 1:30 pm: Nap
1:30 pm: Nurse or bottle
3:30 to 5:00 pm: Nap
5:00: Nurse or Snack bottle
6:30 pm: Nurse or bottle and start bedtime routine
7:00 pm: Bedtime
Night feeds as needed.
Want sample schedules for ages Newborn through 3 years old that you can print and implement?
Get printable schedules for babies ages Newborn through 3 years old with my Baby Schedule Cheat Sheets.
The Cheat Sheets are 25 pages on baby’s wake windows through their first three years, as well as tips on when to extend their wake windows and how to handle nap transitions. Check them out here!
How Long Can a 4-Month-Old Stay Awake?
You’ll hear me talk about baby wake windows a lot. Wake windows are how long your baby can stay awake between sleeps, based on your baby’s age and development.
Knowing how long your baby can be awake between sleeps will help you avoid an overtired baby and give your baby the best chances of taking a good nap.
While a 3-month-old can usually stay awake between 60-90 minutes, your 4-month-old will transition to a longer wake window between 90-120 minutes.
That means your 4-month-old will eventually be capable of staying awake for a solid 2 hours! That’s a big change from the newborn wake windows of 45 minutes!
This also means that your baby should get between 15 to 17 hours of sleep in a 24-hour period, Typically amounting to around 5.5 hours of day sleep and 12 hour nights.
Signs that Baby’s Wake Windows Aren’t Long Enough
If you’re not sure whether your 4-month-old wake windows are long enough, there are some signs to look for.
Your 4-month-old sleep schedule might need to incorporate longer wake windows if you notice any of the following:
- It’s taking longer than 15 minutes for your baby to fall asleep once you put them down.
- Your baby is waking up less than an hour into their nap.
- Bedtime is a consistent battle, lasting a week or more.
- Your baby is waking up too early in the morning.
If you’re dealing with any of these sleep issues, consider lengthening your 4-month-old wake window to up to 2 hours between sleeps.
How Often Should A 4-Month Old Sleep?
Your four-month old should be put down for a nap after being awake for about 90 to 120 minutes. Babies can typically handle the shortest amount of awake time at the beginning of the day.
Since short naps are common at this age, your baby may take 4 short naps as supposed to 3 longer naps. Keep the wake windows the same, even if your baby took a short nap.
A sample sleep schedule for a 4 month old with shorter naps may look like this:
7:00 am: Wake and nurse or bottle
8:30 to 9:15 am: Nap
10:00: Nurse or bottle
11:15 am to 12:00 pm Nap
1:00 pm: Nurse or bottle
2:00 to 2:45 pm: Nap
3:30 pm: Nurse or bottle
4:45 to 5:15 pm: Nap
6:45 pm: Nurse or bottle
7:15 pm: Bedtime
Night feedings as needed.
Around 4 months old, your baby should be ready to transition from 4 naps to 3 naps per day. Those naps are on average about 1.5 hours long, but can be as long as 2 hours.
Many babies struggle with short naps. If your baby is taking short naps it could be due to over tiredness, under tiredness, a sleep association, or simply developmental.
Make sure to get your baby outside and get in some movement before they go down for a nap, which will help improve their sleep. Often sleep begets sleep, so the better your baby naps during the day, the better she’ll sleep at night!
As your baby gets closer to 5 months old, their third nap of the day might shorten to a 1-hour cat nap.
The Four-Month Sleep Regression
Remember when your newborn could sleep through the sounds and vibrations of a grocery cart under florescent lighting? Your 4-month-old isn’t sleeping nearly as deeply as they used to!
Your baby’s sleep patterns change around 4 months of age and become similar to our sleep cycles as adults.
Everyone, including you and me, wakes up and out of a sleep cycle several times during nighttime sleep.
As we transition between sleep phases, we put ourselves back to sleep without being conscious of it, because we are surrounded by familiar and comforting things with positive sleep associations.
Your 4-month-old is starting to transition between a newborn-like sleep cycle and an adult-like sleep cycle, with lighter sleep between cycles.
That means if your little one is moving between sleep cycles at nap time, they’ll need independent sleep skills to drift back into a deeper sleep—otherwise, they wake themselves up, looking for help from you!
This change in sleep cycles is what often leads to the dreaded four month sleep regression. Your newborn may have been sleeping well, and is suddenly fighting sleep or waking up multiple times in the middle of the night!
Not all babies experience the 4-month sleep regression. In fact, if you’ve managed to avoid unhelpful sleep associations, this regression might completely skip you over!
However, if your baby is used to being rocked or fed to sleep, it’s a shock to them to wake up between sleep cycles and find that they’re alone instead of in your arms.
Rolling Over While Sleeping
Your 4-month-old is learning new skills and developing physically and cognitively!
One new skill that can cause a sleep disruption in your 4-month-old’s sleep schedule is when your baby starts rolling over in their sleep.
Rolling is one of the big developmental milestones and one you should be proud of! Unfortunately it’s also a change that can cause some sleep hiccups.
Once your baby learns how to roll, they might roll in their sleep and wake up crying. It’s kind of a rude awakening, especially when they’re not used to it yet!
Once your baby starts rolling, it’s time to kiss the swaddle goodbye. The transition out of the swaddle can be a rough patch, especially since swaddling can be such a strong sleep association in your baby’s early months.
Luckily there are swaddle alternatives to help keep your 4-month-old cozy while they sleep. See some of the best sleep sacks here for when you’re ready to drop the swaddle.
So much is happening at 4 months old, but a good schedule can optimize your baby’s sleep. Let me know in the comments if you have any questions about this four month old sleep schedule.