Early morning parenting can be a tricky juggling act to tackle as new parents, and finding the right balance between your little one’s needs and yours is key. If you’re struggling with unwanted early wakeups from your infant, I’ve got some tips that will help make sure everyone in the family gets to sleep until at LEAST 6 am! ( and ideally closer to 7am)
Start With the Basics
First, let’s review the basics when it comes to establishing healthy sleep habits for your baby. It is important to have a consistent bedtime routine that includes wind down activities such as reading stories or rocking in a chair. Additionally, make sure your baby’s sleep environment is comfortable and dark so they can settle into a restful sleep without distractions. We don’t want pesky early morning light waking your baby unnecessarily. Lastly, it’s important to recognize when your baby becomes overtired or overstimulated – Getting them down BEFORE this happens can help immensely with early morning wake ups as babies who go to bed too late/overtired are MUCH more likely to wake early. Adjust your baby ‘s schedule accordingly so they can get down for bed within their sleep window.
Try Different Strategies
Sometimes our babies need more than just the basics – this doesn’t mean you did anything wrong! It just means that when it comes to sleep training it’s never just ONE thing. It’s several things that work together to create an independant sleeper. Most babies respond well to several different strategies combined. Things like white noise, proper sleep environment , swaddle or sleep sack and bedtime routine/timing can make a huge difference when combined. If none of these work, try setting up an EARLIER bedtime your baby. This may seem counterintuitive but many times an earlier bedtime will help deter early morning wake-ups because it prevents the cortisol spike that comes when your baby becomes overtired at bedtime.
Create an Ideal Schedule
Finally, create an age appropriate routine that works best for your baby and your family. This could mean having feeds that are mostly evenly spaced and 2-4 naps throughout the day with a consistent bedtime at night (around 7 pm). But remember you can’t have a SET bedtime for your baby before about 6-8 months. You ALWAYS need to take into consideration when your baby’s last nap ended, total daytime sleep and how long your baby can comfortably stay awake in general. A baby that is awake for several hours before bed is generally not going to sleep well. Also, remember that some infants may naturally wake up earlier than others –While this is completely normal you don’t have to settle for 5 am wake ups. Anything before 6 am is just too early and can generally be fixed through good sleep hygiene, daytime routine and age appropriate bedtimes.
Don’t forget to pause when your baby wakes. Giving them some time to go back to sleep can go a long way in preventing a baby that is waking early. When your infant wakes up – instead, give them some time, before getting out of bed yourself so they begin to learn that going back to sleep at 5am is what’s expected. While they may need some help from you as they are learning that’s Ok! Know that it is a process that can take some time if your baby has gotten into the habit of early waking, But it’s so worth it in the long run! You will never regret putting in the work now so reap the benefits of a good sleeper later!
The best thing you can do it to not compound the waking by getting your baby up and exposing them to light and stimulation, This tells their bodies that early morning is an appropriate time to wake up! You want to keep them in the dark, even if you have to hold them to get them back to sleep. Keep stimulation to a minimum and make sure they are not waking due to being hungry, or too cold. Remember our body temperature drops as the night goes on so your baby needs to be dressed appropriately at bedtime to ensure they stay warm til morning.
Early morning wake-ups are common among infants but they don’t have to be your new way of life! By creating a consistent bedtime routine with soothing activities like reading stories or rocking in a chair, making sure their room is DARK and comfortable, recognizing signs of being overtired or overstimulated, trying different strategies like white noise machines and black out shades, setting an earlier bedtime if necessary, and finally creating an age appropriate routine that works best for your baby – parents can successfully tackle any early morning wake ups their little ones throw at them!
It’s my honor to make sure your little one gets plenty of restful sleep while also having all the fun this season has to offer. Don’t wait to get started if your baby is struggling with early morning wake ups – book a call with me today and lets create a plan that will give you peace of mind AND a baby that sleeps til 7am! Book a call with me today!