What To Do When The Baby Is Waking Up Too Early? Your Complete Guide!

baby waking up too early

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It may seem nice to have your baby waking up too early as the saying goes, ‘early to rising makes a baby healthy and wise,‘ but what if waking up is as early as 3:00 am early in the morning?

On average, babies wake up ‘earlier than the adult standards. But having a baby wake up even earlier in the morning or when the sun is not up could be quite disturbing and loud, therefore, you have to resolve these early rising and disturbed baby sleep.

What Causes The Baby To Wake Up Early In The Morning?

Here are a few common reasons as to why your baby, toddler, or preschooler could be waking too early:

  • Going to bed late
  • Nap deprivation
  • Inadequate afternoon naps
  • Going to bed when too drowsy

Baby Waking Up Too Early - 10 Best Tips To Follow if the Baby Wakes Up Too Early

Here are the top 10 best tips that can help you resolve early wakings in babies;

1) Baby Waking Up Too Early? Get Them To Bed Early

Sleep training your baby to go to bed early can be of great help to prevent them from the early morning wake schedules. Although it may seem counterintuitive, keeping the little one up until late could cause them to wake up earlier too. 

How?

When you try and put an exhausted and overtired baby to bed, it makes it harder for the little body to settle down and to catch up with their quality sleep. As per most parents, it is observed that putting a baby to bed anytime between 7:00 and 8:00 p.m. fits their children’s ability to sleep well and prevent waking too early.

2) Baby Waking Up Too Early? Let Them Take Shorter Naps

As most of you might have heard, preventing the little one from catching their daily naps can help them catch better sleep, take it from us, it is a misconception. As a matter of fact, it’s just the opposite. Also, you must keep an eye on their wakefulness windows and not exceed the same. Putting an overtired baby does not help them to catch their nap, as well as, their long sleep.

For those who have moved to a single nap each day, try to let them have their naps post-dinner to ensure they are not overtired at bedtime.

3) Baby Waking Up Too Early? Be Aware Of The Baby’s Wakefulness Window

Having a longer wakefulness window, that is between the end of the afternoon nap and bedtime could cause waking in the early morning hours. For toddlers, their wakefulness window must be around 4 hours.

4) Baby Waking Up Too Early? Investigate Their Medical Conditions

Do you find it difficult to put the baby to sleep? Surprisingly, the most common factor that prevents the sleep cycle of the baby and early rising is undiagnosed as sleep apnea and/or allergies, cold, and GERD.

The reason being, these conditions seem to restrict the passage of the nasal. Especially true for newborns and babies who are exclusive nose-breathers and may cause a hard time, making it even harder for them to seep.

Also, if you hear the baby snoring or gasping in their sleep, make sure to consult your doctor to prevent any unseen dangers.

5) Baby Waking Up Too Early? Let Them Sleep in a Calm Dark Room

It is easier to fall asleep in a dark bedroom as compared to sleeping with the lights on or the sun peeping through the cracks between the afternoon naps. If your baby is finding it difficult to sleep through the night and the child wakes up earlier than expected, consider putting them to sleep in a dark room or purchase a room-darkening or blackout shades to block the light.

This could also be the cause of the early morning waking patterns, as most children find it difficult to sleep in a room that is lit up.

6) Baby Waking Up Too Early? Make Sure The Baby Is Well Fed

For a few babies, the reason for morning wake-ups could be an indication that they are hungry. Therefore, you’d want to attempt a dream feed for babies who are under 8 months of age.

Try to feed your baby at around 11:00 p.m. to make sure they are well fed and are not hungry, preventing the babies and toddlers from the early wake schedule. But, make sure to not overdo the fed or it may cause uneasiness.

7) Baby Waking Up Too Early? Avoid Letting Your Baby To Wake Scream

While most people say that it’s ok for the baby to cry to sleep to help them get used to being independent, it isn’t true for the little ones. If at all you hear the baby stirring at 3:00 or 4:00 a.m. early morning, do go to their bedroom and soothe them to sleep. The last thing you’d want is for them to get upset and can’t fall back to sleep.

Nevertheless, be mindful to not create a sleep crutch just to aid the smallest whimper. Listen to the little one, if they are not fully awake, try to resist the urge to go and check.

8) Baby Waking Up Too Early? Put The Baby To Bed When They Are Drowsy-Awake

It is important for parents to understand the difference between being drowsy awake and overtired. If you put the baby to sleep when overtired, they might not catch their sleep and experience early waking, on the other hand, if drowsy but awake, the baby is expected to sleep long and good.

Simply put, parents must be aware of how sleepy the toddler gets in the current bedtime routine and make adjustments accordingly. Ensure that the baby is ‘awake and alert enough’ when put to bed or back to sleep.

9) Baby Waking Up Too Early? Try Shuffling

If nothing seems to work, it’s best to stick to shuffling during the night. Here, you will need to treat the early morning rising as you would for normal night waking, with the exception of shuffling until 6:30 a.m.

In case the baby hasn’t slept already, try and leave the nursery for 30 to 60 seconds, and then return using the dramatic wake-up to help the baby understand the difference between sleep time and awake time.

10) Baby Waking Up Too Early? Use Dramatic "Wake-Ups"

There are a few kids who will need a definite line to help differentiate between sleep time and wake-up time and using a dramatic wake-up is the best way to do so.

How to practice it?

When you go to the nursery in the morning, no matter how weird and awkward it may seem, you must make it a big deal and greet ‘Good Morning’. This will help them understand that it’s time to wake up.

In the case of older children, it is helpful to purchase a ‘sleep clock’ or an alarm clock that changes color or plays music when it’s time to wake up. This surely helps in making the child independent and also helps them understand when it’s time to go back to sleep and vice versa.

Final Conclusion:

As with anything else, changing a sleep pattern, that too such a dynamic one, could take some time and consistency. So, have patience and in case the problem isn’t resolving itself, it could be that your child is refreshed between 6:00 and 7:00 a.m. If so, try to adjust to your child’s flexible schedule.

Baby Is Waking Up Too Early FAQs

1) How to train my baby to sleep longer?

Here are a few things that you can do to help the baby sleep longer hours:
  • Let the baby sleep in a dark room and prevent the sun through the cracks
  • Keep the environment nice and quiet
  • Use white noise
  • Do not be impatient
  • Give the little one a baby pacifier
  • 2) Is it OK to leave an awake baby in the crib?

    Yes, it is ok for you to leave an awake baby in the crib. Especially if you are trying to teach them to sleep independently.

    3) How to teach a baby to fall asleep on his own?

    Here's how you can teach a baby to sleep independently:
  • Start by breaking the association between sucking/nursing/eating/
  • Following an earlier bedtime schedule
  • Help them learn to fall asleep when lying still in your arms
  • Put the baby to bed awake so they learn to sleep by themselves
  • Avoid holding the little one but just touch and stay near so they know you are around and are comforted
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