Reader Early Morning Waking Questions

  • 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!
    April 8, 2008 9:27 AM
    GledBlog said…
    I forgot to say that my son is 8.5 months old.Thanks again, in advance, for your advice!
    April 8, 2008 9:32 AM
    Plowmanators said…
    See these posts:Nighttime Sleep Issues:
    Early Morning Feedings Before Waketime:
    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!
    April 8, 2008 10:19 PM
  • 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?
    May 21, 2008 6:43 AM
    Plowmanators 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.
    May 21, 2008 11:10 AM
    heather said…
    I’ll give it a try. Thanks so much!!!
    May 21, 2008 3:29 PM
  • 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?
    July 15, 2008 9:01 AM
    Amy said…
    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!
    July 16, 2008 9:32 AM
    Plowmanators said…
    Amy, That kind of scares 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. I am sure you have seen this post, but will reference it just in case:Early Morning Feedings Before Waketime:
    July 16, 2008 10:42 AM
    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.
    July 16, 2008 5:26 PM
    Amy said…
    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
    July 17, 2008 10:10 PM
    Plowmanators 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 ;). 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).
    July 21, 2008 3:10 PM
    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
    July 26, 2008 10:54 PM
    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!
    July 27, 2008 10:35 AM
    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
    July 27, 2008 10:45 PM
    Plowmanators 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. Be sure to see this post about that:Early Morning Feedings Before Waketime:
    July 28, 2008 2:31 PM
    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!
    July 28, 2008 4:46 PM
  • ProudMum 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
    September 7, 2008 7:17 AM
    Plowmanators 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.
    September 11, 2008 11:07 AM
  • 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
    June 3, 2008 6:47 AM 
  • Plowmanators said…
    I would suggest this post for ideas:Early Morning Feedings Before Waketime: You could also have him wait about 15 minutes at a time to get him used to eating later. Good luck!
    June 3, 2008 11:17 PM

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13 thoughts on “Reader Early Morning Waking Questions”

  1. 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!!

  2. 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!

  3. 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 ?

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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!

  9. 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?

  10. 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 🙂

  11. ValerieI really don't know where to start, or end…because I'm so lost and need help. A little background…we started my son on BW since he was 2 weeks old. After 2.5 months of CIO, troubleshooting and fighting nap times, I gave up. He would not take naps during the day at all, but was a great nighttime sleeper. Once I gave up on having a "schedule" he finally started to take naps. Up until he was 9 months old, he has done really well with naps and nighttime sleep. So we were on a really good schedule. At 9 months he got RSV and was sick for 2 weeks, messing with his eating and sleeping patterns. Since then nighttime sleep has never been the same. He still takes 2 naps a day (1-2hrs) and goes to bed at 8pm every night just great (he doesn't fight going to bed like he used to). But for almost 2 months now he's waking in the middle of the night screaming (we've tried CIO but he ends up getting himself sick from screaming so hard) and then also waking at 5-6am (instead of his normal 7:30-8am). I would just "deal" with it and change around my schedule…but I'm one of the "lucky" ones who got pregnant really fast after my first child, and I have a baby on the way in just a few weeks. They'll be 12 months and 1 week apart. I'm so scared/nervous about what's going to happen and I feel like I'm already struggling with postpartum before this baby even gets here. I just don't know how I'm going to handle two babies at 6am and not getting any sleep. I feel like we've done everything I've ever read to troubleshoot why my 11 month old is waking up so early, but I don't know what else to do.

  12. Hello! My daughter is 15 weeks old and we are trying to figure out a new schedule for her. She was more than ready to stretch out her eating schedule, so I've moved her to a 3 1/2 hour schedule (she can't stay awake for longer than 1 hour). The only way to get bedtime to be at the right time with a 3 1/2 hour schedule is to start her at 6 in the morning. We would like our kids to both go to bed at the same time around 7:30/8. So my question is…I'm not sure if I should make that 6 am feeding a night feeding and put her back to sleep or if I should give her a waketime at that time. She will really do either one but I am just nervous that she is going to start establishing a really early waketime in the morning and be hard to break. Right now she likes to sleep in more in the mornings. I just don't want that to become the norm long term. Any thoughts?


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