Finally, after six weeks of reversing days and nights, you and your baby are sleeping longer. However, you now have a new issue to deal with: my baby waking up too early!
So rest assured (no pun intended) that this phase shall pass over time. It requires a lot of patience and flexibility. Nonetheless, there are ways to cope with the “new normal.” We’ll look at reasons why your baby wakes up at such an odd hour. Also, you will gain more of an understanding of your baby’s sleep cycles during the first few months. This will help with applying suggestions to this situation.
Finally, we’ll look at some possible sources of additional information to help answer the question of “why is my baby waking up too early?”
The reasons for your baby waking up too early
There are various reasons why your baby is waking up too early. First of all, define how early is too early. If your baby fell asleep at 8:00 pm, slept for 5 or 6 hours, then naturally, he or she is going to wake up.
Furthermore, babies’ tiny tummies can only hold so much formula or breast milk. So they will wake up for an early breakfast.
Other reasons include:
- Rolling over by oneself: this is a whole new experience and the first step toward mobility; fortunately, your child has the natural instinct to wake up when this happens
- Realizing he or she is not being held: if your baby is accustomed to being held while falling asleep, then upon realizing that he or she is in the crib and not in your arms, your baby will wake up
- Laying in a wet diaper: a leaky diaper is not comfortable at all; of course your child is bound to wake up
- Timing of naps: if naps are too long or short, or your baby’s naps are too early or late in the day, this will affect the nighttime cycle.
And most importantly, you might consider the following possible factors that can interrupt your baby’s sleep:
You might need to contact your pediatrician if you have concerns about any of these factors.
A closer look at sleep cycles
Understanding sleep cycles and how they vary throughout the first few months can help you to understand the reasons for baby waking up too early. Also, you can possibly eliminate any surprises by staying informed on what to expect during the first year.Here is an overview:
- First 3 months: newborns rarely sleep beyond 3 to 4 hours at a time due to the need for frequent feedings.
- 3 to 6 months: babies start staying awake more during the day and sleep for 5 to 6 hours a night but still wake up 1 or 2 times
- 6 to 12 months: bedtime routines and sleeping patterns are more established as your baby develops what’s called “sleep maturity.”
Of course, this differs widely with each child. Some babies achieve sleep maturity more quickly than others. Some might find going to sleep a challenge all throughout the first year.
As mentioned before, patience and flexibility are vital.
So then what can you do when your baby wakes up too early? Here are some easy solutions that are worth a try:
- Adjust naptimes: this means closely watching how long your baby sleeps during the day and what time the last nap is taken
- Adjust YOUR bedtime: tempting as it may be to try to complete every chore in the house while your baby sleeps, you might consider adapting your own sleep routine
- Adjust feedings: the older your baby gets, the more he or she wants to socialize at the table. Then you might need to cut down on distractions for the first part of the meal. Also, try feeding them in the early morning to see if they might go back to sleep.
Sources of Information
To explore further into baby’s sleep patterns and establishing a sound bedtime routine, you might check out any one of the following works that are available in downloadable form or in hard copy:
- The Baby Owner’s Manual by Dr. Louis Borgenicht and Joe Borgenicht: Take a lighthearted look at baby’s first year of development and some helpful advice on handling doctor’s visits, sleeping and feeding patterns and much more.
- The Baby Whisper Solves All Your Problems by Tracy Hogg and Melinda Blau: These authors cover a wide array of topics related to parenting during the infant and toddler years and set out to help their readers to interpret baby’s language in other words, their needs and wants.
Some valuable reassurance and answers to other questions can be gained when you seek out more information.
As mentioned earlier, this phase will pass quickly enough. So now, you have some insight into why your baby is waking up too early along with some solutions and more informational reading.
Also remember that you can and will often need to adjust your routine to adapt to life with your baby. This can be done by:
- Resting when your baby is asleep
- Adapting the feeding and bedtime routines accordingly
- Seeking out solid information that answers your questions about any aspect of baby’s care
And course, if your child repeatedly seems overly fussy or exhibits signs of feeling pain upon waking, then you might need to contact your doctor for a check-up.
Were you an early bird before your baby was born, or did he or she change up your routine? We’d love to hear your stories, as well as any questions or comments.