It’s almost a right of passage… At some point (or at many points), babies will wake up earlier than most of us would like.
But wanting your baby to “sleep in” is not at all selfish. Well, maybe it is a little bit, but you’re allowed to want and need good sleep too! Because you do!
Keeping in mind that each baby has their own thing going on and waking up really early isn’t really that uncommon or unrealistic. But, if there is anything you can do to help improve or lengthen their sleep and you want to explore those options, that’s what we’re here to talk about today ;)
Now, as always, I need to say that this conversation does not apply to newborns or infants under 4 months of age (adjusted if they were born before their due date). These babies can wake up any time they want and it’s all normal. They probably need to be fed, so just keep on trucking and later morning wake-ups will be coming soon!
Why you want them to wake at a more reasonable hour:
And by the way, when I say “reasonable hour” I mean, let’s get them sleeping until AT LEAST 6am. A wake-up time between about 6-7:30am is generally what works and what most babies/families strive for. If not later, later is fine too. But this is what tends to fall more in line with their natural circadian rhythms and it’s pretty important to help them preserve it, and here’s why:
Why they are waking early and how to help change that:
-->They’re Overtired. Staying awake too late/long between naps and bedtime.
THE SOLUTION: Make sure your baby isn’t staying awake longer than what’s appropriate for them for their age and stage, including naps and bedtime. Making sure your baby isn’t too overtired can help them fall asleep easier, stay asleep longer for better quality sleep, and sleep in a bit later into the morning.
-->On the other end of this, another reason why your baby could be waking up too early is because they’ve already gotten enough sleep! They’ve reached their quota of maximum amount of sleep that they need for the day and just can’t sleep any more.
THE SOLUTION to this problem could be either to start limiting their daytime sleep, possibly pushing their bedtime a bit later OR maybe shifting their entire schedule ahead.
-->Hormones. Our bodies actually produce hormones.. Hello cortisol! Yes, I’m talking about that stress hormone again but it isn’t all bad! It actually starts to accumulate in our bodies (and your baby’s too!) a few hours before we’re meant to wake up and this is actually why we wake up in the morning.
THE SOLUTION to this problem is to either alter their sleep schedule, for instance helping them to rearrange when/how long they’re sleeping, OR to implement sleep-training techniques to help them with getting back to sleep upon waking too early.
Mental Health Minute
I’d like to take a minute to talk about your mental state when YOU don’t get enough sleep, because with less sleep makes it a lot tougher to be our best selves. We have a ways to go everybody and I want to help you through it. So all this to say, and trying to bring it back to this episode on babies who wake up really early.. Is that
YOUR MENTAL HEALTH MATTERS. YOUR SLEEP MATTERS TOO.