Seven Ways to Handle Baby Waking Up Early

a baby asleep in a parents arms
*Collaborative Post

Is your baby waking up through the night and far too early in the morning and refusing to go back to sleep? We hate to tell you this, but it’s certainly very normal for your baby to wake up early in the morning. It’s not easy to deal with, and it’s not fun to have to get up that early in the day, but it is normal and that should give you some comfort. When your babies wake up early every day around 5 am, you might hear suggestions (which we can give you below) of putting the baby to bed later or giving them some solids before sleep – only after six months – or waking the baby in the night and then resettling them. The problem is that you could try all of the suggestions and it doesn’t guarantee anything.

Some babies wake up very early in the day because they go to bed feeling too tired rather than ready for a sleep. Others might be bothered by the lights coming in through the window or noise going on outside. If the lights or the noise are the problem, those are easily fixable, but identifying the cause of the early morning wakings may not be as straightforward as you think. Books like Newborn Sleep Schedule & Patterns: What To Expect And How To Cope can help you to learn what to expect of newborn waking, but you must remember that every baby is different and that those babies don’t read the books that come out. Only you can gather as much information as possible to help you to understand what’s happening in your baby’s brain. Below, we got some of the reasons that a baby could be waking very early in the day.

baby asleep in a woven nest

  • Sore teeth. As your baby develops, their new teeth will start to grow through the gums. Sore teeth is a very good reason for waking up in the night because it’s painful to push teeth through tiny gums. One of the main symptoms of baby teeth growing is a disturbed sleep schedule, and your baby may start waking up at odd hours. Gum inflammation, excessive drooling and crankiness are all signs that your child is teething. There are good teething remedies out there though, and you can use these to help your baby to be more comfortable.
  • Your baby is not getting enough sleep. A six month old baby is supposed to sleep between 12 and 15 hours per day which is divided into daytime nap times and nighttime sleep. If your baby isn’t napping through the day as much anymore or their naps have become shorter, the chances are that she will be overtired by bedtime and then struggle to stay asleep for longer. There’s a good rule of thumb here, in that when your child is going to nap within two hours of the wake-up time, settle them back down for a sleep again. As they get older you can stretch this to 3 hours or four hours, but either way you learn the signs of tiredness very quickly. 
  • Bedtime is too early. A 6 pm bedtime is great for parents who are exhausted and really need those evenings back, but if your child then sleeps miraculously for 10 or 11 hours through the night, you’ll be looking forward to a 5 to 6 am wake-up call. You could try to put your child down later or gently stretch out the bedtime by half an hour to 45 minutes, but there’s no guarantee that that will be in later wake up for you. It’s worth a try, but you might find them very cranky so you’d have to adjust the daytime naps to suit the new bedtime routine.
  • Environmental changes. With daylight savings time comes and early sunrise. If the light is streaming in through her bedroom window, and the sunshine is shining on her face, the chances are she’s going to wake up through the night again. That 4 am sunrise is beautiful in the summer but not so beautiful when you have a newborn baby: you’d like to sleep a little bit longer in the morning. Even adults have trouble adjusting to sleeping in a new environment, so make sure that your baby’s environment is calm, quiet and at the right temperature.
  • They are hungry. Babies have tiny tummies that need to be regularly filled. If the last nighttime feed was at 2 am, the chances are they’ll be up three hours later for another one.

*This is a collaborative post. For further information please refer to my disclosure page.

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