Early morning wake ups are probably one of my most commonly discussed issues with parents. Even an otherwise “good” sleeper may be rising very early causing exhaustion and frustration.
What is an early morning wake up?
Before we get into other details, lets clarify what do we mean by early morning wake ups. On an average, babies should be sleeping approximately 10-12 hours at night. Yes, you read that right 😊 if you need help on how to make your baby sleep 10-12 hours at night, download the free guide to help you achieve longer sleep hours.
Coming back to early morning wake ups, if your baby is going to bed at around 7 pm and waking up by 6 am – that does not mean early morning wake up! It simply means that your baby has slept the amount required and is ready to take on the day :D. In this case, push back bedtime and adjust their naps in order to eliminate this as a potential issue.
What could be the reasons for early morning wake up?
- Build an age appropriate schedule for your baby and follow it consistently to ensure the baby is getting enough sleep and activity time. As mentioned earlier, while an early bedtime may be causing an early wake up, if your child is going to bed too late, they will often wake too early and stay in an overtired cycle. Therefore, it is important to find the right schedule for your baby and follow it consistently to ensure well spread naps and bedtime sleep.
- Does your baby have any sleep crutch? i.e. is there something that your baby absolutely needs in order to fall asleep? Probably a pacifier, nursing, head or back rubbing, being rocked or held to sleep. If the answer is yes, then that is a potential cause for early morning waking. As babies have shorter sleep cycles and constantly come in and out of it throughout the night, they are looking for that same support from the first round of falling asleep, in order to get back to sleep. Hence, it is important to help them learn how to self-sooth. Self-soothing eliminates the need for help from someone or something to fall back asleep, and they can bridge those sleep cycles on their own.
- The baby could be going through/or would have recently gone through a regression as a result of a growth spurt and may have developed the early morning waking habit. It is extremely important to stay consistent to the routine and sleep technique to ensure the baby does not develop any crutches.
How can you prevent early morning wake ups?
- Do not switch on the light and keep their room as dark as possible! The baby may get stimulated even with the slightest amount of light and can get in a wakeful state.
- If your think that the child is waking due to hunger – try and increase the daytime calories to make up for his growing needs. If the baby continues to wake up and is not ready for night weaning, do your best to keep the room dark and quiet and nurse him quickly without any interaction / activity. Place them back in their bed as soon as you are done with the feeding. Once you feed the baby, place them right back to bed so they can put themselves to sleep. If you think that the baby does not need night feeds anymore, you can begin to wean them from night feedings in a systematic manner.
- Try the “wake to sleep” approach. This technique helps when a baby is habitually waking during the night, in the early morning, or during their naps. As with everything, follow this technique consistently for 4-5 days to see the results!
- Lastly, if you are ready then you can sleep train your baby. You can choose a method you feel comfortable using and work towards a schedule as per the time that suits you and baby’s requirements. If you follow the method and schedule consistently, you will be able to achieve the goals set by you for your baby.
Babies often go through a lot of growth spurts driven by learning new skills, physical and mental development etc. which makes it all the more necessary for them to have a restful sleep. As parents we must support them by giving adequate environment and methods which can help in thriving growth. You can always book a free 15 minutes consultation to learn more. 😊
Say no to sleepless nights and yes to Sweet Dreams 😊