Home > Baby > Sleep > How To Stop Your Baby Waking Too Early

If this isn’t high on your Google searches already you are one lucky mother. There’s nothing more exhausting or infuriating then a baby who wakes early and refuses to go back to sleep – though the unsolicited advice that comes with it (‘put them to bed later… let them nap/don’t let them nap… have you tried dipping them in butter and rolling them in breadcrumbs’) is also high up on our list of things not to love about the early years. We’ve combined the tips we’ve picked up along the way with words of wisdom from expert Kate Cohan Founder of @Sleep.Time.Baby. And if none of these work for you, our advice is to buy a Sage Barista Coffee Machine and fire up the iPad…

TMC: How do I know if my baby has woken too early?

Kate : Tough one. But go with your gut on this – the guidance is for them to have 12 hrs of daytime and 12 hrs of night, but it’s often more like 13/11hrs. The earliest I would say is okay to wake is 6am and the latest is the latest time that you can fit your daytime naps in and still get to your normal bedtime – normally around 8am.

TMC: What makes a baby wake early?

Kate: The main cause of early rising is overtiredness! An overtired child will find it harder to have a more settled night’s sleep, leading to waking in the early hours. Then we can look at factors such as too many/too little naps during the day, is it dark enough, does hunger or noise wake them too early, are they cold or has it become a habit, and can they self-settle? So basically lots of things!

TMC: What can I do to stop my baby waking early?

Kate: Address the possibilities listed above. I would suggest trying an earlier bedtime for five days to check for over-tiredness, and then later for five days to see if either makes a difference. Then you might need to tweak their daytime routine or night-time environment, give them more nutrition, look at how they’re settle or consider a ‘wake to sleep’ model before they wake up themselves.

TMC: What can we do to get them back to sleep again?

Kate: Early rising can take some time to alter, so consistency is key. Keep them in their room until as close to 6am (or your ideal morning time) as possible. You can comfort them and offer support to settle, of course.

TMC: Is there anything we can buy that would help?

Kate: White noise is great! I recommend the Mar Pac ones (https://yogasleep.uk/collections/all and use code Sleeptimebaby for 15% off) Dark is is essential so black-out curtains and a travel black-out blind can be very helpful; the Gro Company ones are good.

Your Early Waking Checklist

• Move bedtime to 6pm for five days to see if this works.
• Make sure their bedroom has complete black out (easier in the winter months)
• Check their nightwear suits the ambient temperature of their room (see our guide here). Add a pair of socks, vest, or switch to a long-sleeved sleeping bag.
• Try giving them a banana, porridge or oat cake just before bed to stop hunger waking them up.
• Take habit out of the equation. Set your alarm for one hour before they usually wake to stir them slightly and break their sleep cycle; they should go back into a deeper sleep for a few more hours.
• Consider encouraging them to settle themselves to sleep, so they don’t wake in the night wondering where you are (because that’s how they drifted off).

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