It’s very common for babies to wake up between the hour of 5 and 6am (or earlier – what???).
Typically, they’re in a very light state of sleep at this time and the littlest things can wake them. Chirping birds, a car door closing outside, a creak in the hardwood if you get up to go the bathroom….
Trust me – all hope is not lost. You don’t have to tiptoe around the house or run outside, shaking your fist like a madwoman every time someone gets into their car. There are a few simple things you can try right off the bat to help with the early wakes.
1. Make your child’s room dark. Like, really dark. I suggest blackout blinds. Too much light coming into the room can wake a sleeping baby easily.
2. Get a white noise machine. If the house noises or external neighborhood noises are loud, then I recommend a white noise machine. My faves are Obus and Conair. Set it to a straight “white noise” or “rain” setting and keep it on all night long. You can also use a fan.
3. Make sure your baby is getting enough daytime sleep. Nap deprivation can cause early morning wake-ups. The more sleep they get, the better they sleep at night.
4. Put them to bed early. If your baby is going to bed too late, this can actually cause them to wake up earlier. Doesn’t make sense at all – but babies can be bizarre little humans.
5. Try to shorten their ‘wakeful window’ between nap and bedtime. If your child’s awake time is too long from when they wake from their last nap until bedtime, this can also cause them to wake early.
Remember – a 6 - 7am wake time is an appropriate biological time for a little one to rise – especially if they have had a proper amount of sleep. If this is the case, they generally wake up happy, cheerful and ready to go. However, if your baby wakes cheerful and then is a total grump by 7, you likely need to work on extending the sleep time.
The longer the early risings have been happening, the longer it will take to change the pattern. But keep in mind, early wakes generally only take a few weeks to a month or two to sort out as long as you’re consistent with your methods.
Hang in there, parents! You got this!
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