4-month-old-baby

When you’re a new mom, you experience many happy times with your baby. But sometimes, you also face some confusing situations. One common puzzle moms like us deal with around the 4-month mark is wondering if our little one is teething or having sleep regression. It can be a bit tricky to tell, can’t it?

In this article, we’ll look at the signs that show if your 4-month-old is teething or having sleep problems. Understanding the difference can help us take care of our babies better, so they sleep well and feel happy.

4-Month-Old Normal Sleep Pattern:

According to ncbi, “Sleeping for 12–15 hours a day is optimal for babies from 4 to 11 months old”

Typically, at 4 months old, babies usually sleep for about 12 to 16 hours in a day. They take short naps during the day and sleep longer at night. But remember, every baby is different. Some might sleep more at night, while others still wake up for feeds.

When do sleep regression and teething happen?

Let’s look at when do sleep regression and teething happen and how long each of them last:

Sleep regression:

Sleep regression usually happen when the baby is:

  • Around 4 months
  • Around 8-10 months
  • Around 12 months
  • Around 18 months

Each sleep regression lasts for a few weeks (typically 2 to 6 weeks). Every baby is different, so not all babies go through all of them.

Teething:

Teething can start as early as 2 to 3 months, and the symptoms can last for several days. The symptoms will come and go until the baby has all of the teeth erupted (that usually happens around 2 years of age). 

 Each baby’s teething experience is unique, so the duration of symptoms may vary.

4-month-old baby teething or sleep regression

Signs of teething in 4-month-old:

Let’s look at the things that show your 4-month-old is teething.

  1. Irritated Gums
  2. Excessive Drooling
  3. Chewing and Biting
  4. Fussiness and Irritability
  5. Changes in Appetite
  6. Disturbed Sleep
  7. Ear Pulling
  8. Low-Grade Fever
  9. Diarrhea and Rash

Babies usually don’t get their first teeth until they’re about 6 months old. But, the signs of teething can begin showing up as early as 2 to 3 months, and they can come and go for a few months before the teeth actually come through. 

So, be ready to offer lots of comfort and care during these early teething times when your little one might have some tough days.

How teething affects sleep patterns in infants?

When babies teethe, their gums hurt, and that can make it harder for them to sleep well. They might wake up more times at night or take shorter naps because they’re uncomfortable. 

This can sometimes confuse parents because it looks a lot like a sleep regression, which can make it tricky to figure out what’s causing the sleep issues. 

So, both teething and sleep troubles can affect their rest.

Signs of sleep regression in 4-month-old

Let’s look at the signs that tell us if your 4-month-old is experiencing a sleep regression. These clues might make you wonder why your baby’s sleep is changing.

  1. More Nighttime Waking
  2. Shorter Naps
  3. Difficulty Settling Down
  4. Increased Crankiness
  5. Changing Sleep Habits
  6. Nighttime Hunger
  7. Restless Sleeping
  8. Crying Upon Waking

Difference between teething and sleep regression in 4-month-old:

Before discussing the difference between teething and sleep regression, let’s check the similarity that often confuses the parents. 

Similarities:

  1. More Frequent Nighttime Waking: Teething and sleep regression can both cause 4-month-old babies to wake up more often during the night.
  1. Increased Irritability: Whether it’s teething discomfort or the effects of sleep regression, a 4-month-old may become fussier and more irritable.
  1. Shorter Daytime Naps: Babies experiencing teething or sleep regression might have shorter naps during the day.
  1. Challenges with Settling Down: Both teething and sleep regression can make it harder for a baby to settle down and fall asleep at bedtime.
  1. Shifts in Sleep Patterns: Teething and sleep regression can disrupt the usual sleep routines of 4-month-olds, leading to different sleep patterns.

Differences:

Location of Discomfort:

  • Teething: Discomfort primarily in the gums and mouth.
  • Sleep Regression: No specific focus on oral discomfort.

Excessive Drooling:

  • Teething: Often accompanied by increased drooling.
  • Sleep Regression: Typically not associated with excessive drooling.

Chewing and Biting:

  • Teething: Babies tend to chew and bite on objects or fingers.
  • Sleep Regression: Excessive chewing and biting don’t happen.

Fussiness Timing:

  • Teething: Fussiness can be more constant and related to teething discomfort.
  • Sleep Regression: Fussiness usually occurs around bedtime and nap times.

Changes in Appetite:

  • Teething: This may lead to a decrease in appetite due to gum soreness.
  • Sleep Regression: The appetite remains normal, but sleep interruptions can affect feeding patterns.

Restlessness During Sleep:

  • Teething: Babies may experience restlessness due to gum discomfort.
  • Sleep Regression: Restlessness during sleep is more common during sleep regression.

Difference with pain medicine (such as infant Tylenol)

  • Teething: The baby will become comfortable with general infant pain medicine.
  • Sleep Regression: Pain medicine will not make a difference. 

Tips for helping your baby sleep better:

Here are some simple tips to help your baby sleep better:

  • Soft Sounds: Use a machine or app that plays calming sounds to help your baby sleep.
  • Swaddle Comfort: Wrap your baby in a cozy blanket, so they feel snug and secure.
  • Warm Bath: Give your baby a warm bath before bedtime to help them relax.
  • Cozy Pajamas: Dress your baby in soft, comfy clothes for sleep.
  • Soft Night Light: Use a gentle night light in the room, so it’s not too dark.
  • Lavender Smell: A tiny bit of lavender oil can make the room smell nice and soothing.
  • Rocking Chair Calm: If you have a rocking chair, gently rock your baby to sleep.

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