Early Morning Waking: Tips and information for your baby.
Getting your little one off to bed at a reasonable time is important. Some people are under the impression that making bed time later will help rule out early morning waking and it’s usually not the case. Sleep promotes sleep. You can use a bedtime as early as 5:30/6pm if need be.
Eliminating all props but make sure you have a plan. So if your child is using a dummy or being fed/rocked/sat with to sleep all of the time for example, what this will mean is that in the early hours of the morning instead of your little one just drifting through each cycle they wake for their external prop. Come 4-5am it’s much harder to expect them to go back off to sleep. Self - settling plays a vital role in helping your little one re settle in the early hours of the morning. Props as I refer to them are any external measure that comes into play time and time again to get your little one off to sleep.
Early Morning Waking: Your Checklist
Run through the following checklist to ensure you are giving your baby the best chance to get quality sleep:
- Room Temperature - It is so common that little one’s wake early due to being cold.
*Note - Overheating your babe can be dangerous. If you believe your little one is warm enough then skip straight past this point.*
- Don’t encourage these early morning waking’s. I advise my clients that unless you are worried give your little one some time to see if they will drift back off to sleep. If your child is crying you can always go into the room and offer some comfort to encourage him/her back to sleep.
- Do not reward the early morning waking with a feed. Make sure you wait 15 minutes after you get your little one up to give them a feed.
- Is your little one over 6 months or close to and ready for solids? This may not be the issue but if your little one is too hungry, drifting back off to sleep can be a big ask. It is extremely unlikely in most cases of early morning waking that hunger is the cause.
- Make the room dark. This point is so important especially if summer is approaching. I mean al-foil on the windows kinda dark!
Make the room dark. This point is so important especially if summer is approaching. I mean al-foil on the windows kinda dark!
If you find your child is still waking early and you have tried everything plus they self-settle:
You can try and keep first nap at a reasonable time. If you bring your first nap too far forward and continue to accommodate the early morning waking there is a good chance it will stay around. On the other hand I don’t want your child’s awake time to be significantly past their normal awake time or they will end up with a rubbish nap. I wouldn’t stretch the awake time longer than 30 minutes past their normal awake period, it is a fine line between the two.
Age and expectation:
It is common to see early morning waking at particular times of the year. Another point to keep in mind is the total hours of sleep all night. If your child has gone to bed at 6 and is up at 5:30, 11.5 hours is completely acceptable.
If your child has gone to bed at 6 and is up at 5:30, 11.5 hours is completely acceptable.
I hope this helps you get rid of those annoying early mornings. If you are having issues with your child's waking and would like guidance getting it under control, please review my packages or contact me if you are ready to get sleep under control now.
The Gentle Sleep Specialist xo