Why the Four Month Mark is Important for Sleep

(Excerpted from The Dream Sleeper. Printed with permission from Jossey-Bass.)

The four-month mark is a magical moment in time when it comes to sleep:

Your baby’s sleep cycles are established. Babies are able to sleep at predictable and longer stretches at night and take regular naps. (They may not be doing this yet, but are ready to learn at this age!)

Her brain development is maturing. Babies can now recall past events so that once they learn something, they can recall a similar experience; for example, they can remember that sucking on their thumb to calm down for sleep felt good.

He has improved physical control. This development allows babies to be more purposeful in their movements, and their coordination is getting better each day. More physical control makes self-soothing easier because they have ore soothing options at their disposal.

She has gained weight and has greater stomach capacity. Babies are able to consolidate their feedings: they can eat enough during the day so they don’t need to eat at night. Helping a baby get the right nutrition during the day can involve doing some homework to help shift nighttime feeds to daytime, but it is entirely possible for healthy children four months or older (gestationally corrected).

Four to twenty-four months is the ideal time to sleep teach your child: her brain will be ready to absorb the concepts, and her body will be able to sustain her for longer periods without your help.