The early bird catches the worm was a phrase I grew up hearing. However, after becoming a parent myself and after talking with mom friends and now clients, this phrase has a whole different meaning..”the early bird becomes an overtired, cranky, at times inconsolable hot mess. Daytime naps and routines get thrown out of whack and mom and dad are exhausted.”
Does this sound familiar?
Here are some tips and tricks and things to think about when it comes to your Early Riser.
1. Be Patient and Give it more time
If your baby has never been a great sleeper, however, has recently started sleeping longer stretches at night, even sleeping a whole 10-hour stretch, they will be feeling pretty great and ready to start their day by the time 5 A.M rolls on. If this is the case, I would suggest that you give your baby some time to adjust to this change. It can take the body clock a few weeks to get used to sleeping longer stretches and getting more consolidated sleep.
2. Stick to your Minimum
If you do not want to start your day at 5 A.M, have a number in mind, how long is the minimum amount of time you can wait till you intervene and go in your child’s bedroom. Sometimes rushing in does not allow your little one to self settle. Some parents start off with 10 minutes, some 20 and some can wait half an hour, even if baby is just playing in their crib or lightly protesting. The longer you can stretch it to 6 A.M or when you want morning to start the more they will get used to it. I say that anything before 6 A.M is not morning. Treat the 5 A.M wake up as a night waking not as a start to the day.
3. Look at the first nap of the Day
Often when babies /infants wake up early to start their day, they start to seem tired a lot sooner than their regular morning nap would be. They are put down to sleep too soon and they have an extension of night time sleep. I suggest try and hang in there and keep them awake as long as you can, closer to their nap time, so if nap time is at 9.30 keep them up till then, moving nap time up by half an hour is fine but any more and this impacts the rest of the day and night and a cycle of early morning wake ups continues.
4. Is the Bedroom dark enough?
The early morning hours is when we go through our lightest sleep cycle. Any light peeking through such as the early morning sun can rouse your little one awake. I suggest you get some black out blinds, or alternatively put some sheets on the windows and tape them down. It doesn’t have to look pretty, we just want it to be dark. (This also helps with nap time).
Often when our little ones start their day, they are immediately given a bottle, or an iPad to play with, they get to go down and watch T.V or go to mom and dads bed for snuggle time. These are all things that they begin to anticipate and look forward to and often the instant gratification keeps them up in the early morning hours. Understandably they are eager to start their day. When you are ready to start the day, draw the blinds, get some natural daylight in and then wait…. At least 10/15 minutes or longer before you give them a bottle or before you put the television on. This delay will show them that waking up does not mean the fun immediately begins.
6. What time is Bedtime?
Often early wakings can be a result of over tiredness. This can also cause fragmented sleep which is not quality sleep. I suggest moving bedtime earlier gradually. You can move it up by 15 minutes every 3 days, until you get to the desired time, ideally between 7 and 8 P.M. Stick with this for a couple of weeks, it takes time for the body clock to regulate. Just be consistent. I’d love to help you and your little one! Book a call with me and let’s talk.