What to do with early morning wakers
So you’ve been using the SleepSense Program and your baby is finally sleeping through the night. No more getting up every hour on the hour to rock your screaming infant or walk the halls or sing endless lullabies. But as close to perfection as this sounds, there’s still a hitch…your little darling might be sleeping through the night, but she sure wakes up early. Your day now starts at 5 a.m. with your child full of energy and ready for some excitement.
Before you reach for that triple latte, let me reassure you that this is a common situation for many parents who have recently trained their baby on the Sleep Sense program. And while you might fear that getting a solid night’s sleep now means you have to start your day at the crack of dawn, you’ll be relieved to know this is not necessarily the case.
Tips for getting your baby to sleep in until a reasonable hour
1. When you put your child to bed, make sure the room is dark. When I say dark, I mean really dark! No moonlight peeking in the window, no door left half open to let in the light from the hall. We want pitch black so there is nothing for baby’s eyes to focus on. If she can’t see the fairy mobile over her crib, she can’t be distracted by the way the colourful wings flutter around.
2. Do some detective work to try and figure out if something might be waking your baby at a specific time every morning. If he wakes up at 5:05, it might be a good idea to listen carefully at that time and see if there’s a garbage truck in the back alley, or a neighbour’s car starting up. If this is the case, you can try to block these sounds with a white noise machine left on by the baby’s crib.
3. Stick to your minimum. If you can’t bear to start the day before 6:00, then simply don’t let your baby get up before then. If you pick her up when she cries at 5:00, she’ll just get used to getting up at that time and, unfortunately, the time could start getting earlier and earlier. If you have a minimum hour you’re willing to get up, (within reason… your baby won’t stay calm and happy in her crib until 9:30 a.m.), then stick to it!
What you shouldn’t do:
While it might be tempting, and even seem logical, to move bedtime later, the truth is that 99% of the time, changing bedtime will not help at all. In many cases it actually makes it worse. If bedtime is too late, your baby will be overtired, which can lead to restless sleep and…yup…early morning waking. So then you’ll just be back to square one, and you’ll have night waking AND early mornings to deal with. Doesn’t sound like much fun.
If all else fails, just hang in there and wait it out. The good news is that as your baby’s body gets used to consolidated sleep, she will start sleeping later into the morning. Some babies just take a little longer to adjust. Take care of yourself, eat well and try to go to bed early so you don’t feel like a zombie when 5:00 a.m. rolls around. Before you know it you’ll all be sleeping through the night and waking up at a reasonable hour!