9 Reasons for Early Morning Wakings
Do you ever ask yourself, “Why is my baby waking up so early!?” If so, you’re not alone. This is one of the top three questions parents ask me — for good reason.
Before we dive into this, I want you to know that anything after 6:00 AM is considered “normal” for babies over 12 weeks old. However, if your baby is waking up between 4:00 AM-6:00 AM, I would qualify this as an early morning waking that CAN be fixed. That said, I also believe you can teach your baby how to sleep in later than 6:00 AM, but for now, we will discuss what to do with those extra early wakings.
Why Does My Baby Wake Up So Early?
First, it’s important to understand why this is happening. Our bodies are designed to be in a deep state of sleep the first half of the night; then, we slowly come into a lighter state of sleep the second half, so our bodies are ready to wake up and start the day. Think about it–it’s much easier to wake up at 5:30 AM than at 1:00 AM, right? This is because your body is in a much lighter state of sleep in the second part of the night. As adults, we understand that this is early, and we can roll over and go back to bed if we want to. Babies, however, do not understand this. So, we must teach them that it’s still time to sleep.
In this blog, I’ll take you through nine reasons that could be causing your baby to wake up earlier than their desired wake time. The good news is that the solutions for early morning wakings are fairly simple! Assess your baby’s situation, adjust accordingly, and the hope is that you’ll both be sleeping in much later in less than a week.
Here are the top nine reasons your baby might be waking up too early:
1. Bedtime is too late.If your baby goes to bed after their ideal bedtime, chances are they are overtired. When they go to bed too late, they can get a second wind, making it really hard to start off in a deep sleep state. This makes that second half of the night, or that lighter sleep window, much lighter than normal, and they can wake up early very easily!
2. The room is too bright!Black out your baby’s room completely. You can use blackout curtains, removable blackout film, or whatever works best to delay that early morning light from coming in. If you’re traveling or room-sharing, I HIGHLY recommend using the SlumberPod. Follow me on Instagram @the_sleepfairy to get 5% off your SlumberPod purchase!
3. Extra noise.If you aren’t using a sound machine, something as simple as your neighbor slamming their car door or your husband going to the gym at 5:30 AM can wake your baby. Using a sound machine not only acts as a sleep trigger during the bedtime routine but can also help block out those small noises that we can sleep through as adults–but to a baby, they are like an alarm clock!
4. Hunger, but only if your baby is not eating enough during the day.Make sure your baby is getting plenty of calories during the day to sustain them at night.
5. Not enough wake time before bed.Make sure your baby is getting plenty of wake time before bed that is age-appropriate. I have a FREE wake windows guide if you aren’t sure what a normal wake window is for your baby.
6. Sleep regression.If your baby is going through a sleep regression or a developmental milestone, this can cause frequent night and early morning wakings.
7. Too much day sleep.If your baby sleeps too much during the day, they won’t be tired enough to sleep all night. Have you ever taken a nap several hours long and had difficulty falling asleep that night? Babies are the same way!
8. Not enough day sleep.If your baby is overtired, it makes it hard to fall asleep and stay asleep at night, causing both night and early morning wakings.
9. Waking out of habit.If your baby wakes up at 4:30 AM and you get them out of bed and feed them when they no longer need it, this can form a regular habit of waking up for social interaction early in the morning.
If any of the above situations apply to you and your baby, make the necessary changes, and give your baby a full week to adjust. It takes time and consistency to learn a new skill, including sleeping while in a light state of sleep. If you give your baby enough time to learn how to connect those last couple of sleep cycles, I think you will be blown away at how quickly they can catch on. If you find you need more help, don’t hesitate to reach out! I’d love to help.