One of the things parents struggle with the most are those early morning wake ups that our babies and toddlers give us. So many things can impact that early morning and all we want is a clear answer. Sadly, there isn't one clear answer but rather a lot of things to troubleshoot and work through.
What is an early morning wake up?
An early morning wake up is any wake up before 5AM. Yes....even 6AM is considered a regular wake up. When it comes to a newborn and feedings, this doesn't apply since newborns need to wake for feedings.
What causes early morning wake ups?
Let's start with circadian rhythm. Circadian rhythm is your internal body clock. We all have different sleep needs and it's the same for babies and toddlers. Many times if we can sleep in, we don't because our natural body clock says we've had enough sleep. Other times, we've rewired our body clock and can't sleep in regardless. For instance, waking up at the same time during the week because of work. Sleeping in on the weekends might be more difficult because we've made our internal clock adjust to our needs for the weekdays.
Other causes for early morning wake ups
Too much daytime sleep
Too little daytime sleep
Bedtime earlier than needed
Bedtime later than needed
So how can we help our little ones sleep in later?
Start by taking a look at their day? For babies on more than one nap, it's important to wake them up at the same time every morning to get their internal clock adjusted.
Keep naps and wake windows in relation to their age group (understand that all babies are different). This helps schedule the day but also has them going to bed at an appropriate time for your little one.
Keep their room pitch black and with white noise running all night. Light disrupts melatonin production which is important for quality sleep. White noise helps drown out any sound that baby might find disrupting.
Consider sleep training. There are many techniques to help your little one sleep in a little while longer and sleep training can help with that.
Be consistent in whatever approach you take. It takes time for babies to adjust to something new, so it's important to give them the space.
If you need anymore help or support, please feel free to schedule your free consultation.