Early Morning Wakings: What to do when baby wakes early

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Early Morning Wakings: What to do when baby wakes early. Reasons baby might be waking early in the morning and how to solve it and get baby sleeping through the night. 

Baby laying on white blanket

It is hard to stay on track each day if the first wake up time of the day is off. When baby is waking too early, it leaves you wondering what to do.

Your baby can wake early in the morning before your desired wake time for a variety of reasons. It often happens when baby is extending night sleep and making it longer between feedings in the middle of the night.

The baby who was waking at 3 AM to eat moves that feeding to 4 AM, then 5 AM, then 6 AM. These are considered night wakings. Parents are left wondering what to do when baby is waking so close to the official first feeding of the day. You can read all about that in my 5-6 AM “Night” Wakings post. 

Baby can also be waking up early in the morning because of a sleep regression, teething, or pain. Baby might be waking up because the dreamfeed needs to be dropped or because the swaddle needs to be dropped. There are a whole variety of reasons for early waking. 

Figure Out Why Baby is Waking Early 

Parents naturally want to know what to do about their little one waking early in the morning.

The answer to that depends on why baby is waking early.

Therefore, your first step is to figure out why baby is waking early. Once you know why, you can make a plan of action. Your solution for a baby waking early because of teething pain will be different than for a baby waking early because the dreamfeed needs to be dropped. 

Here are some common reasons for early morning wakings:

  • Baby is naturally extending time between night feedings
  • Baby naturally has an early internal clock
  • Baby is having a growth spurt
  • Baby is getting too much daytime sleep
  • Bedtime is off and needs to be adjusted
  • Baby needs to drop the dreamfeed
  • Baby needs to drop the swaddle
  • The sun is waking baby
  • Baby is too hot or cold
  • External noises are waking baby up
  • Baby is teething
  • Baby is sick
  • If baby has reflux, baby might need the med dosage adjusted
  • Baby has pooped
  • You recently changed baby’s schedule and baby didn’t need that schedule change
  • You have had disruptions to your routine that has left baby unable to sleep as well
  • Fussiness or colic

Read: Ultimate Guide to Stopping Baby Poop at Night


Narrow it Down and Experiment

Look at the list I have for you there. Your task is to decide which of those reasons is the reason your baby is waking early. There will be some things you can scratch off the list. If you try to feed baby and baby refuses to eat, you can cross growth spurt off the list. If baby is waking with no sun up OR with blackout curtains in the room, you can cross that off. 

There will be plenty of things you can’t cross off, however. Cross off what you can and then look at the list and go with your gut. Listen to your mommy instinct and pick one thing you think it is. 

Then you experiment. You try to solve that issue and ONLY that issue. Do not try to solve even two at a time. You need to isolate variables so you can figure out what the reason for the early waking is. Think scientific method. So much of being a parent is being a scientist. 

Experiment with that one solution. I am a big advocate for taking notes as you problem solve (I have a lovely Book of Logs you can purchase if you need help tracking the right things). 

Once you have tried that solution for a few days, if you still have early morning waking, reset and try the next idea. 

Considerations 

Some causes for early morning waking are more likely to apply in different situations. A baby who was sleeping through the night but is now having early morning wakings is more likely to be having a growth spurt than the baby who was waking at 4 AM and is now waking at 6 AM. So as you consider which issue is your baby’s reason for early morning waking, take into account the pattern of your baby’s night sleep up to this point.

15 reasons your baby is waking up early pinnable image

How to Solve Baby Waking Too Early

Let’s look at each of these common reasons for baby waking early and discuss how to solve that issue:

Baby is naturally extending time between night feedings

Baby will not have been sleeping through the night consistently before this happening. 

This is super, super common. A baby will naturally extend time between the last feeding of the day and feedings during the night. Feedings will creep to be closer and closer to early morning hours. It is so common I have a whole post on it, so be sure to read up on 5-6 AM “Night” Wakings to know what to do.

If this is the reason your baby is waking early, take it as a great sign! Baby is getting closer to sleeping through the night. 

Know that it is very typical for a baby to sleep through the night, then wake up at 6 AM for a night or two, then sleep through again, then wake up at 5:30 AM, then sleep through the night again. If this is happening, it is normal and nothing to worry about. 

Baby naturally has an early internal clock

Baby will likely not have been sleeping through the night for a time if this is the reason for the early waking. 

The circadian rhythm determines natural sleep cycles. Different people are more early bird types while others are more night owl types. Still other people are low sleep needs and others are high sleep needs.

These things are true of babies as well. You might have a low sleep needs baby who is an early bird. Decide what is a reasonable time for an early bird to get up at your house. Keep in mind this will be the normal wake up time for most of your child’s life.

Our oldest, Brayden, has always been a low sleep needs person who wakes up early. He is almost 14 and I can count on one hand the number of times I have slept until 8 AM since his birth. I set his morning wake up time at 7 AM. He often woke earlier than that, but just happily waited in his bed until I got him at 7. 

One trick to making this work is to not feed baby until after your desired wake up time. I did not feed Brayden breakfast at 6:30 AM. I always waited until 7 AM. This helps hunger patterns be set to 7 AM. So if you have a baby who wakes crying and you can’t leave baby in the crib, still wait to feed baby until after the time you have decided is reasonable. 

You can help set internal clocks by having some time in the sun each day, especially around noon. You can also help with natural rhythms by being very aware of how bedtime impacts morning wake up time for your child. Again, take notes!


Read: Circadian Rhythm Explained and How it Impacts Sleep


Let me add, there are perks to a naturally early waker. Even though Brayden is a teenager, we have never had to drag him out of bed in the morning. He is up easily every morning and wakes naturally on his own. 

Early morning waking what to do when baby wakes too early with a picture of a baby on a white blanket

Baby is having a growth spurt

If baby is having a growth spurt and waking early in the morning, baby could have been sleeping through the night and is not anymore. Baby also can have not slept through the night yet. 

If baby is waking early from a growth spurt, you always want to feed baby. You want to feed a hungry baby. You can try to add in another feeding during the daytime to try to get baby to not need to wake in that early morning. If baby eats solids, you can try to increase the amount of solids eaten. 

A good way to test this is to feed baby and see what happens. If baby eats well and then eats well for the first feeding of the day, there is a good chance it is a growth spurt going on. If baby eats well but does not eat for the first feeding, it probably wasn’t really hunger and baby could move back that early morning feeding closer to match up with the desired first feeding of the day. 

Read more about Growth Spurts here. 

Baby is getting too much daytime sleep

Baby can have been sleeping through the night for this to be the reason for early waking. Baby also can have not slept through the night yet. 

As baby either gets older and needs less sleep in a 24 hour period or baby starts taking longer daytime naps, you might find baby is waking in the night because there is too much daytime sleep happening. 

Make sure you follow the Eat, Wake, Sleep Cycle each day. If you have a baby who has a hard time staying awake, make sure you are making an effort to add waketime to each cycle in the day. Read all about how to add waketime to your newborn’s day here.

If your baby is getting enough waketime during the day, look at nap lengths. 

If naps are too long, baby won’t need that sleep during the night. Aim for naps to be 1.5-2.5 hours long for the most part. As a nap is getting ready to be dropped, the length can lessen to 30-45 minutes long for that one nap. You might even need to shorten the first nap or another nap during the day. 

Bedtime is off and needs to be adjusted

A very common cause for early morning waking after age 4 months is bedtime being too late.

If bedtime is too late or too early, baby will have a harder time with meeting your desired wakeup time. Do not underestimate the importance of bedtime! It is super, super important for getting good night sleep. Read more about the Importance of Bedtime here. 

Aim for betime to be about 12 hours before your desired morning wake up time. If your baby is a low sleep needs child, you might need to take that down to about 11 hours before desired morning wake up time. I have found that in most cases, the 7 PM hour (so sometime between 7-8 PM) is ideal for most babies for a bedtime. There are always outliers, but this is a good starting point.

You might need to have your little one have a later bedtime. You might need an earlier bedtime. Adjusting bedtime might help your baby sleep later in the morning. 

I often get questions about a baby waking early who is going to bed at 9 PM or later. 9 PM is a bedtime none of my children have yet to see–it is too late for a child. If bedtime is too late, slowly move it up earlier. I like 10-15 minute increments. Your child should easily and quickly fall asleep.

It might take some time to figure out the exact right bedtime–make a change and wait four days (unless it is totally obvious to you this was wrong). A hint is that most babies have bedtime in the 7 PM hour–some maybe about 6:30. Shooting for any time in the 7 PM hour should get you close. 

Baby needs to drop the dreamfeed

If baby was sleeping through the night and stops, or if night sleep gets worse, consider dropping the dreamfeed.

The dreamfeed is a great tool to get baby sleeping through your night. For some babies, the day comes that the dreamfeed starts to hurt night sleep rather than help it. One of my babies was that way. Once we dropped the dreamfeed, she went back to sleeping through the night.

There is a chance your baby needs the timing of the dreamfeed changed. Some babies are so sensitive that even just moving it five minutes later will do the trick. Keep the dreamfeed in the 10 PM hour, so between 10-11 PM for most babies. 

Read all about When to Stop the Dreamfeed here.

Baby needs to drop the swaddle

As baby gets older, the swaddle becomes annoying to a baby ready to move. If your baby is still swaddled and waking early in the morning, baby might need that swaddle dropped. 

If your baby is swaddled and breaking out of the swaddle, not being wrapped up could be the reason for the early waking also. You might need to buy a new type of swaddle blanket if baby is still in need of a swaddle and breaking out of what you have. 

Read up on Dropping the Swaddle here. 

The sun is waking baby

If baby is waking right around the same time the sun is peeking through the windows in the morning, that might be what is waking baby up. Blackout curtains can easily fix that problem. 

Two of my three children are easily woken by the sun in the AM, so I know this is a reality. Get some window-darkening shades. At our house, we have dark wood blinds that help keep out the morning sun. Our blinds are special blinds that do not have holes in them to let the sun in. We got these at Home Depot.

Some people have used everything from aluminum foil to blankets. There are a lot of places you can purchase blackout curtains, like Walmart, Target, and Amazon.


Read Early Morning Waking and the Sun


Baby is too hot or cold

Baby might be waking up because he is too hot or because he is too cold. In many instances, those early morning hours are the coldest in the home as heat has been turned down for the night and the house has cooled slowly. At other times, the heater might be turning and waking up baby. 

Baby might also be too hot if baby is overdressed for sleeping. Read up on how to dress baby for sleep here. 

External noises are waking baby up

Noise is another common reason for your child to wake earlier than he is ready to in the morning. This can be noise from cars on the road, your husband getting ready for work, or your dog barking at the sunrise.

As the world wakes up, noises might be waking baby up. Pay attention to what is going on when baby wakes up. Did someone’s alarm just go off? Did the neighbor just leave for work for the day? Did the shower just turn on? A sound machine can help block out noises if they are waking baby up. 

Weissbluth suggests you get a noise machine or a humidifier to counteract the problem of morning noise.

We had humidifiers in each child’s room for a lot of years. We got them for 20-something dollars at Walmart. They aren’t the best quality, but they have a nice gentle hum to them. Of course some of you will live in a climate that is humid and you don’t want more humidity in your home. You can either use a noise machine or a humidifier without water in it.

As years passed, we went with a sound machine.

Baby is teething

Teething pain can plague baby before you see a tooth at all. Consider teething pain if baby starts waking early after having slept through the night. Look at the gums and see if there is any inflammation or if there are little white spots on the gum where a tooth would come in. 

If it is teething, some Motrin before bedtime might help out, but it will wear out during the night. 

Baby is sick

If baby was sleeping through the night and started early morning waking, consider sickness. A cold, cough, fever, ear infection, or more might be leading baby to wake up early. If this is the case, you will want to treat baby’s illness and just wait for it to pass. 

If baby has reflux, baby might need the med dosage adjusted

A note for the parents of reflux babies, as baby grows, many medications need dosage increased because it is weight based. If your baby has reflux, consider medications needing to be adjusted if baby stops sleeping through the night. 

Baby has pooped

If baby poops in her diaper, she will likely fully wake up and want the diaper changed (justifiably). 

If this is happening:

  • Change the diaper without making eye contact and put baby back in bed. You might do an abbreviated sleep routine before putting baby back in bed.
  • Consider teething. Teething can cause more frequent bowel movements. 
  • Think about solid foods. Did you add any new foods recently? Or did you switch up which foods were eaten at dinner time? There might be certain foods you just can’t give for dinner for now because they cause bowel movements too early in the morning.

You recently changed baby’s schedule and baby didn’t need that schedule change

Maybe you figured baby was ready for a four-hour schedule or that baby needed the dreamfeed dropped. If you made a schedule change and baby stopped sleeping well, go back to the way things were when baby slept well. 

It is very common to make changes at the wrong time. Even seasoned moms do it because each baby is unique. Do not stress or beat yourself up. 

You have had disruptions to your routine that has left baby unable to sleep as

Think about the last couple of days. Did you stay out late last night or the night before? Did baby miss a nap yesterday? Was the day extra exciting and stimulating? Think about baby’s last few days. Things about those days might be leading to poor sleep for baby. 

Fussiness or colic

Your baby might be waking just because your baby is fussy or has colic. Weissbluth says:

“The most common cause for waking up too early before four months of age is extreme fussiness/colic”.

Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child (page 119)

Conclusion

As you look through this list, decide which reason is most likely to be the reason baby is having early morning wakings and then address it. If that doesn’t work, move on to the next most likely reason. Keep this up until you get it right. Your baby can get to a later wake time. You will get there!

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GledBlog said:
I am looking for some advice on a too early morning wake up time. My little guy has always been a great sleeper. We started babywise from day 1 basically and he fell right into a great routine. He naps well, loves going to sleep and puts himself to sleep beautifully. I have never been able to get him to sleep longer than 10 hours a night. And maybe that is just him – who knows? When he was on three naps a day and a 10 hour night it was fine… but then the already early wake up time (6am) started getting earlier and earlier. I decided a few weeks ago it was time to drop the third nap. In order to maintain a good eating schedule and space out his two naps a bit we also adjusted his schedule (versus just skipping the third nap and keeping everything else the same). The first few days it worked great and he even started sleeping in until 6:30 (who knew that would be sleeping in?!?). BUT now he is back to getting up earlier and earlier…. and I am at a loss as to what to do! This is his schedule:6 – wake up, 6 oz bottle7 – breakfast (oatmeal and fruit)8:30 – nap10 – up from nap, 6 oz bottle1 – lunch (rice, veggies, 6 oz bottle)2 – nap4 – up from nap, 6 oz bottle7:30 dinner (oatmeal, veggies, 8 oz bottle)8 – bedSo the wake up time of 6am is even getting earlier… this morning he started fussing at 5:10! For the last week he has woken up between 5 and 5:30 and I haven’t gone in until 6am and he never puts himself back to sleep… just goes back and forth between crying, fussing, and talking. I have tried going in but this seems to stimulate him more and he screams if I leave again. Last night I tried putting him to bed earlier (7:30 vs 8) but he still woke up early (although not a half an hour earlier like I thought he would). I truly am at a loss for what to do…. but I really don’t want 5:30 to be our new wake up time. Any advice or suggestions you have would be so appreciated! I forgot to say that my son is 8.5 months old.Thanks again, in advance, for your advice!

Babywise Mom said:
See these posts: Nighttime Sleep Issues
5-6 AM Night Wakings
I would also wonder if there is something that is waking him up. Dad getting ready for work? Dog barking? Sun rising? Let me know if you have further questions. Good luck figuring it out!

Heather said…
I’m having such trouble with establishing my daughter’s wake up time. It had been 7 am for months until we went through our weird 6 month sleep thing. So now, she is so unpredictable. Yesterday, she stirred at 6:15 but went back to sleep until 7:30 which was great. But today, she woke at 5:45 never to go back to sleep. I left her until close to 6:30, but she was wide awake. If I want her wake up time to be 7, no matter what time she wakes before then, am I okay to just leave her?

Babywise Mom said:
Heather, If she is awake but not screaming, I think it would be fine to leave her in there. until your wake time. Do remember that you can be within 30 minutes, so I would decide which way you want your 30 minutes to fall (6:45-7:15, 7-:730, etc.) and go with that. If she is still asleep at the end of your threshold, I would wake her up. And actually, I personally would wake her at 7 every day if that is what you ultimately want the real wake time to be. If she wakes early and won’t go back to sleep, I would get her at the earliest threshold.

Amy said:
Valerie,I have gone over many of your topics trying to troubleshoot on my own…I thought I’d post and thank you for your site and see if you had any ideas for me. My dd is 8 and 1/2 months and we’ve done BW since birth as far as feeding goes, due to a major move at 4 weeks old we started late with CIO to sleep. I still do the dreamfeed around 10pm and she has never slept more than 8-9 hours at night. She has been stuck on 5-6am morning waketime forever and I have tried everything- I think. I started to back up the df and got to 9:30 last night and she woke up at 5. I wait but she gets so loud (cry/yell) that I don’t want my 7 and 4yo to wake up so I get up with her. She goes back to sleep about an hour later…naps end so early she needs a cat nap to make it to bed time. I have done babywise with my 7dc and taught classes 12 years ago- I am completely humbled by this sweet girl! Any ideas, Valerie? It’s Amy again- last night her cat nap went too long and so she was not ready for bedtime until 9:30…she had her last feeding around 8:30pm. I did not go in for the df to see what would happen and she cried/very upset at 12:30am. I fed her and she went back to sleep. I heard her cry at 5am but did not go in…after 10min she went back to sleep and woke up at 7:45am. I am glad we can have a better routine today- still confused about what to do though! I do like 7:30am better than 5!!It seems to me she is eating enough during the day but I’ll log it and see if that may be the problem?if you have any ideas I’d love to hear-thanks!

Babywise Mom said…
Amy, That kind of scares me..lol. You never know what the baby will be like and give even vetrans a run for their money 😉 It sounds like her 5 AM waking has become a habit since she woke at 5 still after eating at 12:30. She did go back to sleep, but still woke. I would consider factors that are happening at 5 that might be waking her. The sun, hot, cold, noises, animals, other family members waking…Also, is there anywhere you could send your older kids so you can do a real CIO? Or anywhere you can put baby in the house (or other kids) so they won’t hear each other? If you are going to get up and get her anyway, I don’t think I would let her cry at all. She is likely getting the message that if she cries long enough, she is responded to. I feel your pain. I didn’t do CIO with Kaitlyn for the same reason.

Amy said:
Hey! At least it wasn’t until dc #8 that this happened to me- I tell her she really needs to read the book!I read through your post again and I guess I’m wondering if you would agree with me if I just let her CIO from 5am until 6:30. That is longer than I’ve ever had to do… the most I’ve done is 1 hour about a month ago and she stayed awake morning after morning…I think I did it (CIO) for a couple of mornings. She is just older and louder now! I would just do it even if it woke the older kids if I thought it was going to work…I guess I gave up.I did see in your post the reminder to not stretch feedings during the day until night time is established- I let her go to the normal daytime bkfst,lunch,dinner and 4th feeding routine because of her age- do you think I should keep that the way it is?I know my pediatrician told me 2 months ago to drop the 10:00pm feeding and let her CIO till morning. She certainly weighs enough and is old enough. Is that what you would do? (cold turkey with the df and the morning problem?)Sorry for rambling. Thanks again.AmyI will say living in Seattle- the sun is crazy bright early so I need to buy a dark shade.

Hey- I’m sorry I asked you a question you sort of answered already in your previous post.(about if you would do CIO) Could it be due to lack of sleep that I missed that? lolI am pleased to say that last night she went from her last feeding(df) at 9:30pm all the way to 7:00am! She cried a little at 5 but went back. It was cloudy this morning-maybe that helped or it was just because I posted here for help!I really hope it happens again tonight…thanks again!Amy

Babywise Mom said:
Hi Amy,Well, DC #8…hopefully that is how it will work out for me too because I don’t plan to get to 8..lol ;). Actually, my first threw me through a lot of loops, so I think that is one reason I am able to problem solve today. Have things been going well more consistently? Remember that things will go well, then seem to backtack, then go well…Since things went well with the cloudiness, I would consider some dark shades or curtains (or even a blanket) to help keep the room dark and see if that is the reason for the waking early. I know my oldest is a sun riser in the morning (as am I).

Amy said:

I just saw your response tonight. You know, it has gone back and forth a bit. I let her go without the df the other night and she slept from bedtime (8:30pm) to 5:30am. I fed her and she went back to sleep-even when it was not cloudy thank the Lord because that is way too early to start the day! The next night she cried for a feeding at 9:30 pm and slept until 6am…still too early 🙁 Tonight, so far, she is sleeping still and I am not going to go in to feed her. It seems time to drop it so I can only hope she will eventually sleep a little longer in the a.m. I cannot seem to get her to go to bed any later in the evening so I really hope she will stretch a bit more! I hung a black sheet on the window but I am not convinced it makes much of a difference with her! I have enjoyed some mornings- the house is quiet and I can read my bible.Hope all is well with you- I really enjoyed your last post on motherhood. Thanks for writing your blog- well done.Amy

Abby’s Mom said:
Amy,I have posted in another area about this exact problem with my now 7 1/2 month old. She has always woken between 5am and 6am also. We put a black blanket up and it didn’t change anything. Very rarely she will go back to sleep without eating. (Once every few weeks) She will usually go back to sleep after I feed her for an hour or so. I don’t know what I am going to do if she stops going back to sleep. That is WAY to early to start the day, especially since she only takes two naps of an hour each. Keep us posted on how your lo is doing. I am interested to see if she will start sleeping later. It might give me some hope!

Amy said:
Hi, Abby’s Mom!Your picture is so sweet. I’m sorry to hear your waking so early, too. Have you dropped the df? Last night I went to bed thinking I was not going to do it but she cried at 10pm so I went ahead and fed her hoping that she would sleep a bit later in the morning- she did go to 6:30am which IS better than 5:30 or 6 I suppose…I really don’t want to do the df anymore (she is 9months now) but I might need to unless I’m good with the early mornings…which I’m not so much! I keep thinking she will just stretch longer when she’s ready. I am always thinking, “have I missed something? am I forgetting some important part of this that I did with my other dc?” but you know I’ve been over it so many times and I think I am doing all I can. I would think being in a family of 10 would be enough to wear her out but maybe she just wants to keep playing with us rather than sleep in!Let me know how it is going!Amy

Babywise Mom said:
Amy, it sounds like she is close. Both of mine have been the type to wake around 5:30-6:30 for a while before finally making it all the way.

Abby’s Mom said: Amy,Yes, I dropped the df cold turkey when Abby was about 5 months. I wanted to see what would happen. Well, nothing did. She didn’t sleep any later or wake any earlier. About once a week she will sleep until about 6:30am, the rest of the time she is up around 5:30am. Every now and then she will still wake around the time we used to do the df (9:30pm). If I can’t get her back to sleep then I will usually just go ahead and feed her. My niece woke for an early morning feeding until she was two. Lets keep our fingers crossed that we don’t repeat that! CIO just doesn’t work at that time for me because I feel horrible letting her cry when I know she is hungry. (I am usually pretty hungry too once I am awake) Keep us updated!

Proud Mum said:
My baby sleeps around anywhere between 7 and 7:30 at night . but she always wakes up at 6:15 to 6:20. she is 6 months 3 weeks. she does not seem to be hungry so I pick her up at 7:00 and give feed. at this time she is hungry. how can I make her sleep more upto 7 or 7:30

Babywise Mom said:
Proudmum, if she is one who needs only 11ish hours at night (and anywhere from 10-12 is fine), then you could try a later bedtime. Other than that, there is nothing you can do to force her to sleep later. You can troubleshoot and see if there is something waking her at 6:15. Maybe the sun, maybe it is cold, maybe a noise, etc.

Gabby said:

I have an 8 month old son. We have done babywise since he was born. I set his waketime at 6:30, which is early, but necessary to get my 7year old to school. A couple of months ago we were having early waking and after solving this we ended up with a 7-7:30 bedtime and 6:00 waketime. He seems to sleep for 10-11 hours, but not usually 12. With the 6:00 waketime he always woke up at 5:30-5:45 and talked or fussed off and on until 6:00 when he would usually get upset and we would get up.Now, school ended and we went out of town for 8 days (2 long traveldays with flying included) and now we are trying to get back tonormal. He is napping great and sticking to a 4 hour schedule, but my question is how to get a later bedtime and waketime. He has been waking in the 5 am hour and sometimes won’t go back to sleep without eating, or eatsand is ready to get up(if it’s 5:45 or so). The days he went back tosleep we got up at 7:30ish and he ate well and went on with the day.It seems like no matter what time he goes to bed his body clock isstuck. He is dropping his 3rd nap. If he has 2 good naps he simplywon’t go down for a 3rd and doesn’t seem to need it.Any suggestions would be great. Not only would I love to sleep past 6am, but my husband gets home at 6:30 pm and has been getting verylittle time with him with a 7:00 bedtime.Thanks!!Gabby

Babywise Mom said:
I would suggest this post for ideas: 5-6 AM Night Wakings. You could also have him wait about 15 minutes at a time to get him used to eating later. Good luck!

Melissa said:
I had the same problem with my daughter when she was that age. I refused to accept her early wakings (in the 5:00 hour). I tried everything, later bedtime, earlier bedtime, feeding her, shushing her, CIO, no dice.After a ton of reading and searching on the internet, I came across a post on the Australian Baby Whisperer’s site. HERE’S THE SOLUTION: You have to make the wake time between the last nap and bedtime long. For example, putting her down at 8 when she woke at 5 from her afternoon nap spelled disaster.Try shifting your schedule earlier for both naps. Try putting him down at 1230 or 1 for his afternoon nap, and waking him by 3. Even if you have to shorten his morning nap so that he’s tired earlier for the afternoon one. Keep bedtime the same. After a couple of days, I’ll bet you see a big difference!!

D&H said:
Thanks! I needed this today! We’ve had early morning waking and night wakings for a few weeks, which at first I thought might be from hunger and now after looking through BWII again I think it’s time to drop the 3rd nap (my baby is 7 months old). But in the process we’re struggling with lengthening wake-times and figuring out a new schedule. Melissa, thanks for your comment and ideas–I will try it out this week!

Yolly said:
Ok so I have spent hours trying to figure out why my little one for the past 3-4 weeks now is waking up at 6 :00 am instead of 7:00 desired wake time. Current Schedule Wakes at 6:00 am I leave in crib he is happy not really crying until about 6:30 I let him cry for about 10-15 minutes. Get him at 6:45- 7:00 7:00 feed (7oz fruit and cereal )9:00-11:00 Nap11:00 Feed (6 oz)1:00-3:00 Nap3:00 Feed ( green veggie and Yellow veggie 6oz)5:00 -5:30 ( sometimes nap sometimes no nap) 6:30 Feed (7oz & cereal ) 6:45 Bath 7:00-7:30 Bed time He goes down for his first two naps great his last one is hit or miss. I been trouble shooting this early wake time for about 3 -4 weeks I have tired not giving him the 3rd nap, shorting the 3rd nap, let him take it ( which is rare that he will) . Days he does not take nap I put him down earlier. Days he takes it I put him down at 7:00. He naturally extended his wake time to 2 hours about a month a go this is why we are down to 4 bottles and on a four hour schedule. Either way he wakes up at 6:00 🙁 Any advice on what I can do ?

Babywise Mom said:
Yolly,There is a post titled “Nighttime sleep issues–revised and updated” that can help guide you.The trick is finding why.One way to find out why is to think back to when he started waking early and think “what changed?” Is that when you moved to the 4 hour schedule? If so, he might not be getting enough food in the day. Increasing food during the day might solve it. Consider also a change in the weather. He might need warmer/lighter PJs.If nothing changed, then consider “what is happening at 6?” Is that when Dad gets up? Is a neighbor doing something? The sun? A dog? Is it cold? What is it about 6 that is waking him up. Find that and resolve it. Another idea is an earlier bedtime. Sometimes early morning waking is tied to too-late of a bedtime. Try having him in bed by 7 consistently and see if that helps.

Shannon said:
I have a 5 1/2 month old who now loves to roll from stomach to back. He has always been a stomach sleeper. Now he will wake himself up by rolling to his back, and not be able to go back to sleep. I have tried letting him cio, it does not seem to work. We are also working during all wake times on learning how to roll back to stomach. Any suggestions on anyone else experience with this. Did you keep cio, go in and flip them over through out the night, prop them? He is a great napper and sleeper except for this issue. thankyou

Babywise Mom said:
Shannon, there is a post just on this topic. It is called “Nap Disruptions: Rolling, standing, crawling, etc.”

Clare said:
Hi Valerie,I am having trouble figuring out a number of sleep problems, and don’t know where to start first. 1. My 22 week old has never done his naps. He did them for 2 weeks or so when he turned 4 months and then it stopped again. He is still on a 3 hour schedule because he doesn’t seem to be able to stay awake longer than 1 hr 20 mins or so. I have tried lessening and increasing WT slightly but it doesn’t seem to make a difference. When he wakes from naps, he is not hungry.2. I set his wake time as 7 am, so bedtime was between 7-7:30 pm. We have a DF at 9:30 pm. He has trouble falling asleep when we put him down at this time, either because he is overtired (from not sleeping naps) or not tired enough, if he conks out and does a nap at the fourth nap time. Therefore, I’m having trouble giving him a consistent bedtime despite knowing he needs one because his days are always so inconsistent.3. This bedtime is actually not ideal. My husband gets next to no time to see our son because he comes home from work at 7 pm. I read that you kept your son up later at first to accommodate your husband’s schedule. Can I do that now that my son has been on this schedule for so long? 7, 10, 1, 4, 6:30, 9:30. 4. My son wakes at 5:57 am on the dot, but he used to fall back asleep or wake at 7 am. I have tried putting him to bed earlier to compensate for bad naps and early wake up, ie 6:15 pm but he still wakes at 5:57 am. Do I just have to accept this as his first WT? I already struggle with figuring out WT because of his bad naps all day, and making him wait till 7 am to feed even though he’s clearly not hungry feels like I am shooting myself in the foot to figure out his first WT length of the day.5. I’m having trouble implementing his independent play time because he has slight reflux and I have to keep him upright for some time before putting him down. However, with not sleeping naps, his WT is shortened and so he often doesn’t even have enough time to do tummy time or to play without getting overtired or overstimulated fast.I’m so overwhelmed with all these issues and am a first time mom. I’m not sure where to start to eliminate the problems, and have become so anxious and stressed about it that I don’t go out, just trying to stay home to put him to nap every day. It has been such a struggle and I’m not sure what to do anymore. I would really appreciate your wisdom. Thank you.

Hi again,Sorry just a quick update on my post above. I got a video monitor recently and learned that my son’s 5:57 am waking is actually more like waking around 4-5ish am and staying awake for a long time quietly until he starts to get bored or tired and makes noise around 6 am. I never realized he was awake for so long in the wee hours until now. What could be causing him to wake around this time and staying up for so long? He is 23 weeks old, and he doesn’t cry out when awake so I don’t think it is hunger. Besides, I have not fed him at this hour for a number of months now too. Do you have any ideas what I could try to do differently to help his nighttime sleep? I do dreamfeed around 9:30/10 pm and he always drinks a full feed at this time, which makes me think he is not ready to drop it yet, but I am suspicious whether it is interrupting his nighttime sleep. I tried a 3:30 am Wake to Sleep last night, but nothing changed. He still woke at the same 5-ish am time and was awake for at least 1 hour before falling back asleep for 45 mins and making it to our 7 am wake-up time.Thank you so much.

Babywise Mom said: Clare, sleep begets sleep, so I think the first thing to do is figure out naps. To do that, you need to figure out his optimal waketime. I would take it back to 60 minutes and work up from there. See my posts on “logs” for help with this.You could definitely shoot for a 8 PM bedtime.Some of his sleeping issues could be reflux related, so I would look into meds and gripe water for him. Also, try elevating his mattress a bit. See the posts on reflux for more. Good luck!

Ticey said:
My little girl is almost 10 weeks old. I kind of feel like she should be sleeping a little longer at night and she isn’t so I am getting a little frustrated – especially since when she wakes in the early mornings it always ranges so I feel like I don’t ever have her on a “set” schedule and I don’t know what to do. Her last feeding of the night is at 10:00PM (or I always try to aim for that). She eats 6 times in a 24 hour period. And she wakes anywhere between 4 – 5:30AM. I guess I am struggling wondering if I should get her up at that time and feed her or if it is habit (I would say most of the time she wakes at 4) or if I should let her cry it out (she has gone until almost 6AM so I feel like she is capable of going longer). Is 6 feedings throughout the day not enough? Would cramming one more in help her sleep longer through the night. I guess I am just confused because I am a very organized person and not having a “set schedule” right now is bothering me. I hope I am making sense. I guess I wonder if I want her morning wake time to be at 7AM and she wakes at 5:00AM do I feed her and then wake her again at 7? Do I not feed her until 7? Or do I feed her at 5 and keep on a 3 hour routine and feed her at 8 and have my schedule be all weird? I would appreciate some help 🙂 Thanks so much!! Oh ya one more thing. During the day I usually do a 3 hour routine but there are times she is napping and would go longer like 3 and half hours. Should I let her go longer and again my schedule would be off by half and hour or do I keep waking her at 3 hours?

Babywise Mom said:
Ticey, Exact number of feedings needed ranges from child to child. You could always try adding another feeding and see if that helps. If you want her waketime to be 7 AM and she wakes at 5 (and is hungry, which I would guess she is), you feed her, then put her right back down, then get her up either at 7 or 7:30 and feed her again. I have a whole post on the topic called “Early Morning Feedings Before Waketime”Right now, I would keep her at 3 hours in the day.All three of my kids did the thing where they could sleep until six 1-3 nights, then wake up around 4 for several nights, then up later, then earlier–it went back and forth like that a few times. Totally normal at my house 🙂

Brittnany said:
Advice please?? I have a 12 week old and we are on a 3 hour schedule: 6, 9, 12, 3, 6, 8:30 – but he has been wanting his night feed closer to 8:00. He consistently wakes up at 2:30 AM and 5 AM. I feed him at the 2:30 and at the 5:30 he will go back to sleep only if he’s on mine or my husbands chest but will sleep until his 6 feed time. This was true when we have a 7 feed time as well, he still would wake at 5 and would be fine until 7. I tried doing a dream feed but he still woke at 2:30 and 5, so I dropped the dream feed because I didn’t’ want to be getting up three times in the middle of the night if I didn’t have to. He eats a lot…we’re talking 34-38 ounces a day. Any input would be much appreciated.

Babywise Mom said:
If it is at the same times every night, it can be a habitual waking and not waking from need. One easy way to test to see if there needs to be a feed at 2:30 is to put baby back to sleep without feeding. If baby wakes up 30-60 minutes later, then it is hunger and baby needs to eat. If not, then baby is not hungry then. Does your baby fall asleep independently for naps and bedtime? If not, work on that. If so, consider if baby is hot or cold in the night.

Kelli said:
Hi, recently discovered your site..super helpful! I am a new mom following BW and have a 4.5 mo old that is waking early in morn like 6:15 or so when it used to be 7 which is when I start the day. We put him down at 8 pm and he barely makes it to 8 sometimes but I am a bit nervous to put him down any earlier. Maybe it’s the 4 mo regression I keep hearing/reading about because naps have been a huge struggle the last week.

I should’ve noted he is still on a three hour schedule feeding at 7,10,1,4and 7 roughly so that’s what he’s been going down at 8pm because by the time we feed and burp and keep him upright a bit due to reflux it’s close to 8. He is 20 weeks old and was born two weeks early. The 45 minute nap intruder has also been brutal for about three weeks and still strong! Thoughts? Thanks!

Babywise Mom said:
It definitely could be the four month regression. It also could be that he needs an earlier bedtime. But if he has had that bedtime and was fine and now isn’t, I would lean toward regression.

What to do when baby wakes too early and get baby sleeping through the night with a baby sleeping on a white blanket

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