Suggestions for Early Risers

 

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Early rising is one of the most common problems that parents have when it comes to their little one’s sleep. The child may fall asleep with no problems, sleep through the night without a peep and then cock-a-doodle-do at 5 a.m.! They’re up and ready to start the day, whether you like it or not. Between 5am and 7am is a tricky time for babies as they are in the lightest stage of their sleep and most likely already have 10 hours under their belt so if they are woken, it is very tough to get them to go back to sleep. The reality is, early mornings are probably going to be part of our lives for a while (a side effect of being a parent unfortunately), but here are a few suggestions that I recommend you try to see if you can make that early morning not quite so early.

 

  • Is your child’s room as dark as possible? Even the slightest bit of light can encourage your baby to wake before an appropriate time, especially during these summer months. Humans sleep best in complete darkness so investing in good blackout blinds for you and your family will help encourage restful sleep.
  • Is there any environmental noise happening? Somebody getting up for work, neighbourhood/building noise, a garbage truck rolling by? Using a sound machine set to white noise can help eliminate the chance that something is waking your child. Make sure if introducing white noise that it is on when baby goes to bed and stays on all night long so their sleep environment is consistent.
  • Stick to your guns on wake-up time! I never suggest getting your baby out of bed prior to 6 a.m. If you start bringing them out earlier than this it will only persuade them to call for you at this time. Decide on a minimum wake-up time (within reason) for your family and make it a rule. If you have a toddler who is in a bed, introducing a night light that changes colour when it is morning can be very useful. I recommend the Gro Clock or the Good Nite Lite.
  • What time is your baby’s first nap? If you’re putting your little one down too early after rising then they will start to use this as an extension of their nighttime sleep.
  • What is happening when your baby is waking early? Could they be waking up early looking for something? Make sure to delay your baby’s first feed by about 10 minutes. If you rush to them and feed them right away when they wake at this time, you’re only supporting their decision that it’s time to get up.
  • What time is baby’s bedtime? It could be that your baby is overtired, which can lead to early wake ups. Ensuring that your child gets to bed somewhere between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. is ideal, depending on when their last nap ended. Keep in mind that when changing bedtime you often need to stick to the new time for a week or two to see any results, so be patient.
  • If after trying an earlier bedtime for a week to two weeks you don’t see any change in wake-up time it may be time to look at slowly moving bedtime later by 10 minutes every three days until it is 30 minutes later than normal. Again, you cannot expect to see results for at least a week, if not two; just be consistent and patient.

“Wake to Sleep:”

  • This is usually the last thing that I suggest to parents when nothing else has worked and you have looked at all other possible causes for the early rising. This can only be done if the wake-up time is fairly consistent.
  • Set your alarm for 10 minutes before the time your baby is currently waking.
  • Go into the room and lightly rouse baby, but not fully awake (this is the tricky part), then quietly leave the room.
  • If your baby still wakes at the same time then leave them until your decided minimum wake-up time. I suggest 6 a.m. at the earliest.
  • If your baby manages to sleep longer but still not until your minimum wake-up time, still leave them until that time.
  • This will have to be done for a full seven days until you will start to see any success, so be patient.

Please let me know if you have any questions or if you would be interested in a FREE 15-minute consultation to discuss your child’s sleep. I can be reached at 778.881.4345!

Sleep well,

Kathryn

May 13, 2014 - 12:28 pm

Rylee - Thanks. My baby is 7 months old and she’s been waking up early despite blackout blinds and white noise. She will sometimes fall back asleep after I nurse her and sometimes not. But I will try your suggestions 🙂

May 13, 2014 - 7:23 am

kathrynwood - If you’re still nursing during the night, and do a feed at 5 I would always put them back down to sleep. I never suggest getting a baby out of bed and starting the day earlier than 6am so if they are upset I would use some soothing techniques to try to help them fall back to sleep. These would vary depending on your child’s age. If they are younger than 3 months I would use a pick-up/put-down method, older than that try gentle touch and talk to soothe them back to sleep. If they are still awake at 6am then get them up, make a big deal about it being morning, open the blinds and take them out of their room to start the day.

May 12, 2014 - 6:16 pm

Rylee - For the early morning wake up do you leave them to cry if they wake at 5, you nurse and then they don’t go back to sleep?

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