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ABC's of Infant Sleep- Early Wake Ups!

Do you find your baby is waking earlier than you'd like? You want that quiet time of solitude in the mornings. Working out alone, meditating in actual silence and even having that cup of coffee or tea at your prefered pace and temperature.

You hear the sound of coffee brewing, washer running and birds chirping in the background. Ahhh..that's perfect productivity right there!

As you sit down to enjoy your cup you maybe not..yep..yes it is. Cue baby cries. Hmph.

You just weren't ready for them to be up and we hear you.

Daydream over. Snap back to reality. May or may not need to listen to Eminem now so I can finish out that song lol!

Now the day really looks like...

  • clothes left in the washer

  • cold coffee

  • maybe get in some squats while brushing your teeth or baby lifts lol!

  • quick shower while entertaining said baby

If you have a little one that just doesn't seem to make it passed the hours of 4...5...or even 6 and you'd like them to, go through this quick checklist of 9 ideas and see which one {or few!} could do the trick.

First identify what the culprit might be and then you can make adjustments from there!

1. Sunlight getting in the room. As the morning approaches, baby's drive to sleep is not as strong as it was at bedtime and can easily become fully awake when transitioning sleep cycles. You can remedy this by turning off night lights, making sure lights will not go under the crack of the door into their room and blacking out windows. It's dark enough when you can't see your hand in front of your face!

2. Bedtime too late. Remember in our blog talking about Awake times! we mentioned the sweet spot. Adjusting bedtime even 15 minutes earlier could be exactly what a baby needs to sleep more soundly through the night and heavier in the morning.

3. First nap is too early. If your baby is waking up in the 5 o'clock hour and you would like to stretch that to somewhere in the 7th instead, try keeping them up for a full wake time rather than putting them back to bed after their early wake up.

4. Overtired at bedtime. In our last blog Daytime Sleep! we talk about them being overtired and having more night wakings if they did not get enough sleep during the day. Especially look between the last nap and bedtime. If you suspect your baby is overtired at bedtime, help them wind down sooner with a 20-30 minute simple routine.

5. Too much daytime sleep. This is something else to consider! We know that not enough sleep can cause more frequent night wakings just as getting too much sleep can cause baby to be wide awake before the roosters. Just review where your baby is on the Awake Times Guide and tweak where needed.

6. Not enough daytime sleep. This may sound repetitive and similar to number 4 but again...finding the culprit and then the solution is going to give you the results you are looking for and get some of that morning to yourself again! See Awake Times Guide for this also.

7. Reinforcing early wake ups. Sometimes our last resort is going to be getting them up before we desire as parenting can call our names all hours of the day and night. But, if you can implement some other changes before getting baby out of bed too early in the morning that will benefit you. Getting them up will only reinforce the early wake up for them.

8. Hunger. If you suspect baby is hungry then for sure feed him and try so with little disturbances. If you can pick baby up {swaddled if still using one} and get a good feed and burp, you can likely lay him back down without interrupting sleep too much, if at all.

9. Too drowsy at bedtime. The skill that little ones are learning is how to go to sleep from drowsy or awake. This is so when baby wakes in between sleep cycles, they can put themselves back to sleep without your assistance. If your baby is going to sleep too drowsy and waking early wanting you to provide more help for them, try helping a little less at bedtime and allowing him to practice connecting sleep cycles without you needing to step in.

Making these changes for your baby may take time.

Now you totally could have the simple, very quick fix of putting your baby to bed 15 minutes earlier and voila, problem solved! But you may also work to make changes for 1-2 weeks as you are literally reprogramming or resetting their circadian rhythm.

As always, send us any questions you have about your baby's sleep habits and we will get you your answers! Send us an email!

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