Friday, May 27, 2011

Breakfast and Morning Wake Time

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Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and this is true for more reasons than just giving you the energy you need for the day. The time you eat breakfast every day impacts the time you wake up in the morning. This is true no matter what your age is. 

If you eat breakfast every day at 7:30, most days you will wake up by 7:30--ready for food. 

This is an important point to remember when you are establishing morning wake time.

Does your baby wake earlier than you want her to? Try slowly moving breakfast to the time you want to eat. If she wakes at 7:00 and you would prefer 7:15, get her up when she wakes if she needs you to, but distract her for at least 5 minutes. A few days later, try for 10 minutes. Then eventually get to where you feed her at 7:15.

Consistent breakfast time is also very important if you have night wakings that you want to stop. I have posts with more on this, so see:
This concept is also true for older children. If you feed your toddler, preschooler, or child at the same time each morning, your child will tend to wake up closer to that time.

Now, there are of course more factors than the time of breakfast in morning wake time. We have the sun (Early Morning Waking and the Sun). We also have being too hot or too cold. We have what time the child went to bed the night before. The time you eat breakfast, however, is a very important part of the equation. Babywise book one cautions to not underestimate the power of starting the day at the same time each day in getting your baby to sleep through the night.

Keep breakfast time consistent, and you will have a consistent morning wake-up child.

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27 comments:

Kristin L. said...

How do you feel about waking your little one up in the morning and/or from naps to maintain your schedule? Occasionally, my six month old will sleep past my preferred wake up time/first feeding time of 7am. He also doesn't nap well. He sleeps for only 30 minutes, then wakes up and talks to himself for a while. Sometimes he falls back asleep, but then sleeps past my preferred next feeding time. When either of these situations happen, I feel really bad waking him up because he is finally sleeping well!? Deciding not to wake him, though, usually throws our daily schedule off. Any thoughts?

jaclyn said...

We have been fighting early waking for quite a while now, and I am at a loss. my DWT was originally 730 but she never made it past 700, so I just adjusted to that. Over the past couple of months it has gotten earlier and earlier to where she is not consistently waking at 544. I have blacked out her windows and that didn't help. She goes to bed around 700 and usually sleeps until morning, but we can't get past 544. I leave her in her crib as long as she is happy, but I typically get her by 600-610.

My question is, with the breakfast time, should I try to have her wait until 700 to eat and then put her down for a nap right away? Or should I not disrupt the E/W/S cycle? (I have tried feeding her a little and putting her back to bed, but she won't go back to sleep. I've also tried giving her a full feeding and putting her back down, but that didn't work either.)

Thanks!

Cindy said...

I'm in the same boat at Jaclyn. DS goes down at 7:30 PM and his wake time is 7:00. Lately it's gotten earlier and earlier. He's almost 7 months old. he now wakes at 6AM and stirs around and I end up getting him up at 6:50 to feed and get him to daycare before work. I too have tried black out windows, make room cooler, warmer, etc. Is he hungry? He's allergic to cereal so we dont' feed him cereal. He eats 4ounce fruit 7:00 AM and 6 ounce bottle. 11:30 4 ounce food, 6 ounce bottle. 3:30-4:00 4 ounce food, 6 ounce bottle. 6:45 8 ounce bottle, then bed at 7:30. When he wakes from naps, he's so hungry. Eats entire jar but only take 6 ounce of formula no more. He takes the entire 8 ounce at 6:45.

Plowmanators said...

Kristin L.,

While trying to establish consistency, it is best to be as consistent as possible. In those situations, I would let him sleep an extra 30 minutes, but not more than that unless there is some major extenuating circumstance (like sickness, travel, etc.)

Plowmanators said...

Jaclyn,

I would get her as close to 7 as possible to establish metabolism.

Plowmanators said...

Cindy, it does sound like he is hungry. Have you tried giving him more food during the day?

MrsSwerve said...

Hi, need some help on wake time, my baby is 13 wks and has been sleeping through the night very well he is on a 3-4hr feeding schedule and his last feeding is around 8:30-9pm and he was consistently sleeping until 7am now he keeps waking up at 4:30am and fusses until i tuck him back in and settle him down but he then wakes back up 20-45min later and does this all the way till i end up feeding him. It started after we traveled to see my husband and my husbands alarm for work goes off at 4:30. I need his first feeding to be like 6-7am and then he usually goes right back to sleep for another 3-4hrs. any tips on how i can get him back waking at 6-7?

Plowmanators said...

MrsSwerve,

It sounds to me like he is hungry. If he was not hungry, I think he would sleep longer after you put him back down. Waking that soon after falling back asleep I would say is a hunger issue. It is a growth spurt age, so I would consider that.

It is also possible it is a discomfort issue. He might be too cold or something like that.

Katie said...

I have an 11 month old who since daylight savings time has not adjusted her am wake time. Before, she would consistently wake between 6:30-7. Now she is waking anywhere between 5:45-6:30.
It's not the sun, b/c it's dark. My husband tries to be as quite as possible (even when it's the weekend and no one is stirring, she wakes), she goes to bed at 7 (although since she's started feeding herself, it's been about 7:15)
When she wakes, she will sit for 10 or so minutes and then starts crying. I have made the mistake of feeding her at 6:30 instead of the desired 7am. This morning I let her cry on and off for 30 minutes until 6:30. Any suggestions - do I get her up after x minutes of crying and not feed her until 7? Any tips on training her to wake later would be greatly appreciated.

CaliforniaMamaOf2 said...

I always come to your blog for answers and can usually find them, but now I can't figure something out with my almost 22-month old. For the last 8 weeks, starting one week before Daylight Savings Time, my daughter (who has ALWAYS slept 7:30pm-7:30am) has started waking up around 6:30am-6:45am. She started doing this 2 months after we had a new baby. This has thrown off the timing of the day with my new child and I can't figure out why she is now waking early. I have been leaving her in her crib until 7:30 am still and continue to feed her breakfast at 8am. We've put her to bed earlier, put her to bed later, but nothing is working...she continues to wake at the same time. Should i just consider making this her new waketime and change the time i get my 4 month old up? The 4 month old is still waking between 4 and 5 am, but I was trying to start his day at 6:45 am. Not sure if this info is relevant, but the 22 month old takes 1 nap during the day and rarely sleeps longer than 1.5 hours. any suggestions?

Plowmanators said...

Katie,

I would go into her room and soothe her and when she is calm tell her it is still night time and she needs to go back to sleep and put her back in her bed. She will have no concept of time and not know how close it is to time to get up.

And, do your best to not feed her until close to 7.

Plowmanators said...

CaliforniaMamaof2,

I would consider it normal "two year old sleep problem" (I have a post on that). I would leave your schedule as is since it sounds like she is content.

Abi Spencer said...

Hi again - another question from Abi :) Liam is just now five months and I dropped the dreamfeed last week. He's done fairly well with it - now five feedings a day because we're still doing the three hour schedule. However - I realize that I may have made a little mistake with the timing of dropping the feed. Liam has STTN great since 7 weeks. He still does but about two weeks ago - he started waking up between 6 and 6:30 instead of our normal 7am wake time for the day. I wondered if it was just a phase and I still do. He was doing it before dropping the dream feed and he's now still doing it. I am able to keep the first feeding at 7am for the most part because after letting him CIO one major time, he now just plays or talks if he wakes early. I am not sure how to treat the early waking. It's becoming more consistent so I've thought about adjusting wake time but honestly the thought of starting our day at 6:30am every morning - even Saturdays and Sundays!!! - is not what I'd like to do. Thoughts? My biggest theory is that this is just phase and if I keep feeding at 7am he will eventually go back to sleeping until 7. Yes? No? Help!

Abi Spencer said...

Hey from Abi. Thought I would leave another note to follow up on my comment above. Liam is waking up consistently around the 6am hour. Wake time needs to be 7am. He plays/talks for up to 40 minutes and then starts crying. I am now really wondering if he is getting too much day time sleep. We are still on the 3hr schedule and don't think he's ready to go to 4hrs yet. He's taking four naps a day and I am thinking I need to get rid of that last nap of the day. Do you agree? Any thoughts on how best to do that?

Plowmanators said...

Abi,

Since he was waking early before you dropped the dreamfeed, it most likely is not connected to having dropped the dreamfeed. However, it might not hurt to do it for a couple of days.

BUT I do think that he should drop that fourth nap. My kids dropped it while on a three hour schedule--we just didn't have any sleep between the last two feedings. So I would drop that first and wait a week or two before trying something different.

Holmes Family said...

My 4 month old baby is on a regular 3 hour schedule throughout the day and has been since birth. He goes to sleep without a problem after his 8pm feeding (5oz). I usually wake him to eat at 10:30 or 11pm before I go to sleep. The problem is that he wakes each night about 2 and 5am and seems hungry. I've been only giving him 2oz because I want him to get used to eating less at night. If I don't feed him, he screams and acts hungry. After I feed him, he does right to sleep. Is he really hungry in the middle of the night, or is he just wanting to be soothed? Suggestions for getting him to sleep through the night? Do I just need to let him CIO? Thanks for your help!

Kelly said...

My daughter is 29 weeks old. She has yet to consistently make it to DWT. DWT
is 7:15ish am. Before WW 26 hit, cold, and ear infection, she was starting to get it. She was
making it to at least 6:30 am. Then with the sickness and WW she started waking even earlier. She pretty consistently wakes between 5:15-5:30. We held her out as long as possible, but she would never go back to sleep until she was fed. So eventually we gave in and started feeding her after about 45 minutes of crying/fussing. She would take almost a full feeding at DWT too so I was wondering if she was actually hungry. I think she is hungry at that time, but not so hungry she couldn't wait to DWT really. She's just the kind of baby that thinks when she wakes up, it's time to eat. Now that the WW and sickness are past, I'm wondering how to eliminate that feeding. I've tried feeding her less, but that's not really doing the trick. That's what I did to eliminate the early morning feeding before and it worked. I am also wondering if there are other factors contributing to her waking. I am a working momma and get up at 4:45am. My husband gets up around the same time. We don't talk loudly and make as little noise as possible in an effort not to wake her. I know our being up could be contributing, but she has also shown us on several
occasions she can sleep through us getting ready for work. She wakes usually at the same time on the weekend. We have tried putting her paci back in when she wakes and she ends up even more frustrated. If we don't do anything, the results are pretty much the same. The problem is that if we don't go ahead a feed her soon after, then her DWT is all off. She does take a full feeding during the 5am hour and will take another almost full feeding at DWT. Does that mean she needs the extra milk? She is bottle fed, but with expressed milk and
eats 5-6 oz each meal. She has some acid reflux issues. The dr has us putting cereal in her bottles to help with the spitting up, so she's getting extra calories there too. I feed her solids 2-3 times a day.
Does it sound like she is waking out of habit or does she really need that extra bottle? Here's her schedule. Her DWT is approximate because
it depends on when her sitter (grandma) arrives and gets settled. She also cannot handle more than 1.5 hours of waketime. I'm trying to extend naptimes and waketimes, but it's been hard. I really want her on more of a 3.5-4 hour schedule. Any suggestions?? Do you think she's getting enough to
eat?

5:30-45ish bottle right back to sleep
7:15 5 oz bottle, 2 tbsp solids
8:30 nap
between 10:30-11 5 oz bottle, 2-4 tbsp solids
11:45ish nap
1:45ish eat
3:00ish nap
5:00 eat, 2-4 tbsp solids
6:15 bath, bottle, bed by about 7

Thank you for your help!
Kelly

Kelly said...

My daughter is 29 weeks old. She has yet to consistently make it to DWT. DWT
is 7:15ish am. Before WW 26 hit, cold, and ear infection, she was starting to get it. She was
making it to at least 6:30 am. Then with the sickness and WW she started waking even earlier. She pretty consistently wakes between 5:15-5:30. We held her out as long as possible, but she would never go back to sleep until she was fed. So eventually we gave in and started feeding her after about 45 minutes of crying/fussing. She would take almost a full feeding at DWT too so I was wondering if she was actually hungry. I think she is hungry at that time, but not so hungry she couldn't wait to DWT really. She's just the kind of baby that thinks when she wakes up, it's time to eat. Now that the WW and sickness are past, I'm wondering how to eliminate that feeding. I've tried feeding her less, but that's not really doing the trick. That's what I did to eliminate the early morning feeding before and it worked. I am also wondering if there are other factors contributing to her waking. I am a working momma and get up at 4:45am. My husband gets up around the same time. We don't talk loudly and make as little noise as possible in an effort not to wake her. I know our being up could be contributing, but she has also shown us on several
occasions she can sleep through us getting ready for work. She wakes usually at the same time on the weekend. We have tried putting her paci back in when she wakes and she ends up even more frustrated. If we don't do anything, the results are pretty much the same. The problem is that if we don't go ahead a feed her soon after, then her DWT is all off. She does take a full feeding during the 5am hour and will take another almost full feeding at DWT. Does that mean she needs the extra milk? She is bottle fed, but with expressed milk and
eats 5-6 oz each meal. She has some acid reflux issues. The dr has us putting cereal in her bottles to help with the spitting up, so she's getting extra calories there too. I feed her solids 2-3 times a day.
Does it sound like she is waking out of habit or does she really need that extra bottle? Here's her schedule. Her DWT is approximate because
it depends on when her sitter (grandma) arrives and gets settled. She also cannot handle more than 1.5 hours of waketime. I'm trying to extend naptimes and waketimes, but it's been hard. I really want her on more of a 3.5-4 hour schedule. Any suggestions?? Do you think she's getting enough to
eat?

5:30-45ish bottle right back to sleep
7:15 5 oz bottle, 2 tbsp solids
8:30 nap
between 10:30-11 5 oz bottle, 2-4 tbsp solids
11:45ish nap
1:45ish eat
3:00ish nap
5:00 eat, 2-4 tbsp solids
6:15 bath, bottle, bed by about 7

Thank you for your help!
Kelly

Plowmanators said...

Holmes Family, I would feed him a full feeding at one of those night feeds and work on dropping the other. You could decrease the number of ounces for that one feeding, then try to soothe him. You could do CIO, also (or instead). I think it is possible he is hungry for one feeding in the night, but I would doubt two.

Plowmanators said...

Kelly, it does sound like she needs the feeding since she is taking a full feed at both feedings. Once she starts not eating well at DWT, then I would assume she no longer needs the night feeding.

Kelly said...

Thanks for the advice, but she is not actually eating well at DWT. I've tried giving her less over time to try to wean her from the feeding, I tried wake to sleep, and tried CIO. None have worked. It seems like her clock is stuck at that time. Is there anything else I can try to help her to stop waking at that time? When I did wake to sleep, I just reinserted her paci, but it woke her to the point that she couldn't go back to sleep without a feeding. I only tried it a couple times. I was hesitant because I thought it might get her in the habit of waking even earlier. She has slept a little later on several occasions. Does it sound like she is just not a 12 hour sleeper? If she's not, that's fine, but I'd like to at least start the day a little later.
Thanks!

Plowmanators said...

It is possible she is not a 12 hour sleeper (I have one), but I wouldn't throw in the towel yet.

Try this. I did this by accident with McKenna.

She was waking around the same time each night in the night. I can't remember what time it was--it would be on my blog somewhere in June of 2009 if you want exact details :)

I typically gave her the dreamfeed around 10:30 or so (again, exact details somewhere in June). One night, I had a bunch of girlfriends over for a girls night. They didn't leave until close to midnight. So that night, I did the dreamfeed close to midnight. Not a great long-term thing to do, but that seemed to be far enough off of normal that she didn't wake at the "habitual" time that night. The next night, I did the dreamfeed that night at normal time and she still slept past the habitual time.

So that is something to try.

Another thing, my girls both slowly crept closer and closer to making it through the night. They did get there. Those mornings they don't feed well for the DWT feeding are frustrating, but they will get there.

laura said...

Hi there,

I have an almost 3 week old baby and last week we began feeding on the babywise schedule - 7am, 9:30am, 12pm, 2:30pm, 5pm, 7:30pm, 10pm, 3am. We also followed the eat/wake/sleep routine, in which I keep her up after feedings and then rock her to sleep.

It's going well so this week I decided to implement some sleep training, beginning with her morning nap. All 5 mornings I've put her down at about 8am after 30 minutes of eating and 30 minutes of being awake. I check her diaper, swaddle her, rock her, and put her down in her crib, minus her pacifier because she spits it out anyway. 3/5 mornings she has been asleep by the first 15 minute mark after some fussing. 2/5 mornings she has continued to cry and I pick her up, comfort, try to burp her, and put her back down and then go another 15 minutes.

When she DOES fall asleep, it's fleeting. 10-15 minutes of sleep followed by 5-10 minutes of being awake and crying. This goes on the entire 75-90 minute nap time until it's time to feed again at 9:30. What am I doing wrong??

Thank you,
Laura Griffin

Olivia said...

Hi Valerie! I think I have referenced your blog almost every day since my son was about 2 weeks old! Now I have a question.

My son is now 25 weeks old. He was STTN from 2-3 months (7-8pm bedtime, 10pm dreamfeed, 7am first waketime) but for the past 3 weeks or so has been waking at 4, often on the dot, making me think he is stuck! I have been feeding him anyway; maybe I am contributing to keeping him stuck. But I do let him cry for about 30 minutes first. Once in a while he'll go back to sleep, but not usually. I have kept him back at a 3 hour schedule as we work this out, with a dreamfeed at 10pm still. Knowing that some babies are too disrupted by a dreamfeed, I skipped it last night to see what would happen, so he was down for the night by 8 after nursing and solids. My "stuck" theory is still going strong as he woke at 4:00am on the dot (as far as I could tell from the monitor)!

While I waited to see if he'd go back to sleep, I decided to pump in order to see exactly what he was taking at 4am. I gave him 3 oz instead of everything in the hopes of weaning him of that feeding. He cried for about 5 minutes after I put him down (not typical to cry at all then, he probably was wanting a full feeding then like he's used to) but then slept til DWT of 7am.

At 7am he didn't seem interested in a full feeding, unless he was just eating slightly faster. It's hard to be sure. He was not as interested in his solids, though, so I'm REALLY thinking he's stuck at 4am more than hungry. Do you recommend CIO at 4am? How long would you let him go? Or would you recommend something else, like offering less? Or would gradually pushing it back somehow be a better thing to try?

Also, this may be an entirely separate issue, but I want to mention it in case in your experience you see a relationship. Even though he's about to turn 6 months old and I get the feel that lots of 6 month olds are on a 4 hr schedule, he normally seems to go down for naps easily after only 1 hour of waketime. Then the nap is about 1.5 hours, keeping us back at a 2.5 hour schedule a good amount of the time, or sometimes a 2 hour nap, keeping us on a 3 hour schedule. I'm wondering at his age if this is too much sleep during the day and his nights are suffering for it. But, like I said, the 4am on the dot MOTN waking is making me think it's a stuck issue.

Any feedback to our situation is appreciated very much! I'm so thankful for your blog!

Renee Cook said...

I have a 13 month old who has been sttn since 12 weeks. She's always slept until 7 and breakfast has been shortly thereafter. Lately she wakes around 5 and doesn't go back to sleep no matter how long we leave her in her crib! Thoughts?
Some things I'm considering- she's definitely teething & I'm surest nights ibuprofen has worn off; but if I go in to give her some and put her back down she screams and doesn't go back to sleep.
We finally dropped the last before bed bottle a few weeks ago. We weaned it gradually, finally cutting it after se was down to 2 ounces and really didn't seem to need it. She's a pretty good eater, although has been pickier - I assume because of teething.
Not sure If there's something we can do to help her get to at least 630 asleep. We put her down between 630 and 7 pm for bedtime every night.

Thoughts?!

Renee Cook said...

I have a 13 month old who has been sttn since 12 weeks. She's always slept until 7 and breakfast has been shortly thereafter. Lately she wakes around 5 and doesn't go back to sleep no matter how long we leave her in her crib! Thoughts?
Some things I'm considering- she's definitely teething & I'm surest nights ibuprofen has worn off; but if I go in to give her some and put her back down she screams and doesn't go back to sleep.
We finally dropped the last before bed bottle a few weeks ago. We weaned it gradually, finally cutting it after se was down to 2 ounces and really didn't seem to need it. She's a pretty good eater, although has been pickier - I assume because of teething.
Not sure If there's something we can do to help her get to at least 630 asleep. We put her down between 630 and 7 pm for bedtime every night.

Thoughts?!

Pettyj said...

Hi! For the past two-three weeks my almost one year old (will be in a week) has been waking up at 545 (normally 645/715 wake time). He goes to bed at 730 but I have even tried moving that up some to see if it helps. I don't feed him until 715/730am but some mornings he's been so loud I get him at like 630 so he doesn't wake my older son. He naps great during the day. I know that sleeping 715-545 is a decent amount of time but I can't have him up at 545!!! Thoughts on what I could do to change this pattern he's developed? Thank you!

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