Is your baby constantly waking up at 5 am? Here are 5 things you can do to buy yourself a few more hours in the morning.
You knew that sleeping until 7:00, 8:00, or 9:00 am once you become a parent would be a thing of the past, but nobody warned you that you would be waking up at 5 am.
But that’s what’s been going on with your little one.
Babies are well-known to be early risers. Although this is not true for all children, most of them would be up before 6:00 am, whether you put them to sleep at 7:00 pm or 10:00 pm.
What generally happens is that you can have a baby who’s a fantastic day napper but a terrible night sleeper, and vice versa, a terrible day napper and a fantastic night sleeper.
But there’s no perfect sleeper.
In this post, we’ll be discussing the issue of your baby waking up at 5:00 am and look at what causes this early rise. We’ll explore five strategies you can employ to encourage your baby to sleep to a more reasonable hour.
Teach your baby how to fall asleep independently
Your older baby or toddler needs to be falling asleep independently at night. Because if he isn’t, he’ll require your assistance to fall back asleep.
This problem becomes more acute early in the morning because your child’s biological drive to sleep is lighter at 5:00 am than it is at, for example, at 10:00 pm.
Make sure there’s sufficient wake time during the day
You have to make sure your child gets sufficient wake time during the day so that he’s tired enough to go to sleep and stay asleep. If he’s taking long naps or naps too close to bedtime, he may be tired to go to sleep but not to stay asleep for longer hours.
When it comes to babies, it’s better to err on the side of being overtired than undertired. Being undertired guarantees he won’t sleep well.
Too much napping is a major problem. When your baby is less than one year old, sleeping for 11 to 14 hours per day is sufficient. If your child is taking three-hour-long naps during the day and goes to sleep at 7:00 pm, it’s unlikely he’ll sleep more than 10 hours.
To find your child’s ideal bedtime, take the time when you would want him to wake up, and cut back 10 or 11 hours. That’s the earliest bedtime you should be aiming for.
Tweak your baby’s sleep schedule
If your baby goes to sleep at 6:30 pm, he’ll be up at around 5:00 or 5:30 am as chances are he won’t sleep more than 10 or 11 hours.
What you can do is try moving the bedtime a little bit later to 7:30 pm so that your baby wakes up at 6:00 or 6:30 am, which is a reasonable wake time for a young child.
However, the change in your child’s bedtime should happen gradually. Try shifting the child’s schedule 15 minutes a day until you get to the desired bedtime, or even more slowly if you can. This means moving your child’s bedtime later by 15 minutes but also his daytime naps. If your child has regular mealtimes, shift those mealtimes forward 15 minutes, as well.
Manipulate light and sleep hygiene
You want to make sure the room in which your little one sleeps is dark enough and conducive to sleep. If you live in a well-lit street or a street that gets plenty of sunshine, try adding blackout curtains to your windows to block the light.
Playing white noise can be soothing for young babies as the noise sounds similar to the mother’s womb. White noise is also great at muting out outdoor traffic sounds, the trash truck, or the neighbor’s dog from waking up your little one.
Tone things down an hour before bedtime
Your child can enjoy stimulating activities in the evening, but start toning things down an hour before bedtime. Your bedtime routine can be your best friend when it comes to getting your child to settle down for the night. Take a warm bath, brush up the teeth, and read a bedtime story to let your little one know bedtime is coming.
Another way of getting one or two more hours of sleep from your baby is by snooze button feeding him when he wakes up at 4:00 or 5:00 am.
If you’ve weaned your baby off feeding, another good strategy is to place him in his swing or co-sleep with him in the morning.
When it comes to toddlers, a swing won’t work. Some parents have been using the toddler alarm clock strategy, which includes teaching your toddler the clock will let him know when it’s time to get up.
When it comes to your baby waking up at 5 am, it’s important to have realistic expectations about what’s a normal amount of sleep and what’s a normal awake time. Pay attention to things like sufficient wake time, keeping a balance between naptime and nighttime, and good sleep hygiene.
There’s no magic solution for the early wake time, but being persistent and dedicated to teaching your little one how to sleep in for at least one more hour in the morning, is vital.
And when life seems harsh, think about how one day, your child will be able to wake up in the morning without your assistance and cook himself breakfast.
If you find yourself needing more help teaching your baby how to fall asleep independently, ask for professional help from a certified sleep trainer. When you have a sleep trainer working alongside you, you’ll get a personalized plan that fits your child’s temperament and personality. A sleep trainer can ensure you’re on the right track and offer unlimited support throughout the process. In no time, you’ll manage to turn those bedtime battles into regular and restful sleep patterns.