4 At 4 - The 4 Hour Schedule At 4 Months That Helped Us All
Right around the time my son turned four months old, we started to notice a bit of a change in him, in particular to his sleeping and eating patterns. I tried to be very loose and laid back about his schedule from the get-go, and didn’t force a strict timeline to our day, but a rather consistent routine developed anyhow. He would get really sleepy and ready for a nap every 1-1.5 hours, and then nap for roughly 1.5-2 hours, so he naturally was eating about every 3 hours. His schedule for the most part was very “textbook”. At about 4 months old though, as I said, he started to change. Here’s how a slight adjustment to his routine made for a smoother day (and night). When Hayden turned four months old we noticed that after 3 hours he just wasn’t that hungry and was starting to eat less and less, but seemed hungrier more often throughout the day, and he was also waking up more at night, starving and taking full feedings. We also noticed that he wasn’t really sleepy and ready for a nap anymore after being awake for an hour or so. He was starting to fight his naps a bit more. He was definitely changing.
One of the parenting books that I followed quite closely when I was a new mom dedicated an entire chapter to baby’s development and growth during the fourth month of life, and talked in detail about how important it was to change their routine a bit to account for this growth. I briefly remembered this so revisited the topic and sure enough, it stated that at four months, babies are growing so much that they can handle being up for longer, and need a bit more stimulation and awake time to get them properly tuckered out for a nap. In terms of feedings, they are also starting to be ready to eat more per feeding, and less often. The idea is to stretch out their feedings so that they are hungry enough to take a full feeding and not just snack. It seemed clear at this point that Hayden was snacking throughout the day, and by night time was ravenous because he wasn’t getting enough calories during the day.
So we gradually over the course of about 3 days started to stretch out his feedings to every 3.5-4 hours. We also then kept him up a bit longer, more like 2 hours, before we put him down for a nap. By the end of the transition he had dropped a feeding completely, but he was eating much more at those feedings than he was before. He also dropped a nap.
His schedule now looks roughly like this everyday:
Wake 7 am and eat.
Nap from 9-10:30/11 am
Eat at 11 am
Nap from 1-3:30/4 pm
Eat at 4 pm
Catnap from 5:30-6
Eat and bedtime by 7:30
Eat again at 10:30-11pm
Sleep till about 4:30 and eat again
Up for the day at 7:30 to start again!
Moving from a 3 hour routine to a 4 hour routine definitely helped all of us. Hayden is happy hanging out with us a bit more during the day and is less hungry between feedings and at night. We’re happy to be waking up less, although the routine is by no means perfect. Just last night he was up about 4 times just wanting to hang out with us! But for the most part we are all doing great now that we are on a 4 hour schedule.
Did you notice any big changes when your baby turned 4 months old, or any other changes during big developmental periods?