What can I do to get my baby to sleep longer in the morning?
Early wake ups can be very frustrating for parents. Just when you think you´re going to get a full night sleep and bam! Baby starts waking up at 5am. This is a really common problem and there are a few things you can do to help babies sleep longer:
Another important thing to try is delaying their feed in the morning.
If you get into the habit of feeding him at 5am, his body will start waking him up at 5am for that feed. Try to drag it out until at least 6 or 630. Have a play, have a cuddle, read a book all in a darkened room – but don´t feed him until later. That way you are helping to train his body to wake up later and have a fixed breakfast time. Delaying the feed also helps reduce the motivation to wake in the morning.
Look at food intake throughout the day.
I know a lot of people tend to force large dinners on children hoping they will sleep longer in the morning. But that can also backfire. If you have a really big dinner and are so full when you go to bed, you can actually be kept awake from stomach pains while your body is trying to digest. One thing you can try is to make sure you give your child a decent size afternoon snack. Don´t skip over afternoon snack, it´s really important to offer something healthy at this time.
Make sure you have an early bedtime.
A lot of people make the mistake of keeping their child up later so they will sleep later in the morning. That´s a myth and it rarely ever works. What you actually end up doing is making your child overtired, which can sometimes lead to night wakings and early rising. So make sure you stick with a nice early bedtime to make sure your child is getting as much night sleep as possible.
It’s best to keep it as dark as possible in the baby´s room.
If possible, as dark as it would be in the middle of the night, especially in the summer months. I always recommend the use of black out blinds if possible, as its keeps the room like the deepest darkest of caves. It is really important to keep the light out because even the slightest change in light variation can stimulate anybody to wake up. As an adult, you can look at the clock and notice that it’s not time to get up, yet. A baby can’t do that.
- Not too hot or cold – experts recommend a temperature of 68º- 72 ºF (20º – 22º C)
- Minimal distraction in their room – limit toys, mobiles, lights etc. so they know it is a place to sleep and nothing else
- Don’t forget to offer a quiet, but not too quiet, sleep environment – having a room that is too quiet means that if the slightest noise happens it could disrupt your child’s sleep. It is best to get your child used to a little bit of background noise. White noise can be useful to block out barking dogs or street noise if you have concerns about your child waking due to noise.
- Set the tone for bedtime – their room can be fun and active during the day but when it comes time for bedtime the routine should be calm and quiet.
If you have tried all of these things and your baby is STILL waking up early, you might have to just stick it out for a while. If your baby is a good sleeper then this is normally a temporary thing (although some kids are just “early risers”) and in a couple of weeks your child should just start naturally sleeping for longer.
If you feel like there is more to it and need some answers then we can help, feel free to reach out to us and we will find a time to connect to discuss your child and your specific situation.
Bedtime Beginnings is a team of Pediatric & Adult Sleep Consultants from Southwestern Ontario, Canada. We help exhausted parents teach their infants & toddlers to sleep well every night with gentle, customized solutions and both group and private coaching options, so your family can all be at their best. Our team can support families in home and also virtually around the globe to ensure everyone is sleeping their best.
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