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There come times when your little one will wake up early but not be hungry. In those moments, you really want your baby to go back to sleep. It is hard to get a baby to go back to sleep after a nice 45 minute “power nap.”
I recently wrote on what to do when your baby woke early but wasn’t hungry. Several readers shared what they did. Here are 14 moms’ tips on how to put a baby back to sleep after early waking from a nap.
Natalie said: Depends on the age – for newborn we would transfer to swing to at least make a go at a full nap! Now with an older baby (mine is 16 months), if he wakes up early I let him be. Sometimes he will cry a bit and go back to sleep, sometimes, he will wake up and roll around and play and never go back to sleep (but I still won’t get him up until nap “time” is over). Use your gut instinct, however – if he wakes up screaming and is very upset, I will get him up early and assume he had a bad dream/is teething/not feeling well.
Kimberly said: For younger babies the pacifier and bouncer if they really need the sleep. For older babies I give a soft book or simple board book. A few minutes of looking at it and my little ones usually go right back to sleep.
Krista said: The swing! Anytime before about 3 months with my second if he woke early, I put him in the swing. Never to start, but if he woke early. And about 85% of the time he would go back to sleep until I woke him to start the next cycle.
Sarah said: When I put him down I lay him on his tummy, tuck his head to the side and pat his butt a couple of times. If he wakes up from a nap and stays on his tummy I ignore like I would at night. If he moves around I’ll go in and “reset” the bedtime space by flipping him back, tucking his head and patting his butt and walking back out .
Christina said: I leave a book in the corner of the crib sometimes. Or else just let my daughter self soothe back to sleep if it’s only been an hour or two. 95% of the time she will go back to sleep. Today my daughter woke a half hour early, but with molars and getting over a nasty cold, she was up for good.
Elisabeth said: I can’t hear him… and he usually goes back down all by himself. Clever boy! (Sometimes he wants his back rubbed or face stroked – but not often)
Kelly said: Young baby: Rub their back and shush or gentle shake the crib. Pick up put down method. Older baby: rock for a minute until calm. CIO. And honestly if they are older I adjust the schedule for the rest of the day. Toddler: books but by toddler I expect mine to stay in bed and play with their stuffed animals until it’s time for nap time to be over.
Brittney said: Swing, then that stopped working, so rocked, then that stopped working, so baby carrier, then that stopped working so I just leave him to roll around until he starts to cry then call naptime over at that point!
Jennifer said: Leave the baby in the crib for at least 15-20 min and see if baby will self soothe back to sleep.
Robin said: Nothing! My children have always fallen back to sleep on their own if left alone.
Lourens said: Dummy them again if they take the dummy 😜😜turn them on their other side, throw a light blankie over their face….wait hope and pray ☺️
Nikki said: Quiet crib time! At least they are relaxing their bodies and not being overstimulated.
Amanda said: Swing!!!
Kehly said: Any advice for when they fall asleep in the car seat and you get home, place car seat still in quiet room, and they wake?! Baby #2 and still haven’t found a way around this, besides driving around forever! Can’t do that with a fidgety toddler in the car!