Dr. Sarah Mitchell
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Is your baby waking up “too” early?

Is your baby waking up too early for you? Other wise known as the “early wake up” or EWU.  Its important to realize that most babies tend to wake up somewhere between 6:00 and 7:00 am due to their circadian rhythm and the sun.  EWU really count as anything before 6 am.

A few reasons for EWU:

1. Bedtime is too late!!    Yes, contrary to popular belief, if a baby’s bedtime is too late, this can cause EWU. Bump bedtime up and she may sleep later if she’s getting enough daytime sleep in as well.

2. Not enough total sleep in 24 hours – not enough naps, or naps aren’t long enough, overtired babies will wake up too early.

EWUs often occur when nap transitions ar occurring:

  • 4 -3 nap transition around 5 months
  • the 3-2 transition around 7-9 months
  • the 2-1 transition around 15 – 18 months

When you eliminate a nap, your bedtime has to become earlier to accommodate for the change in sleep hours.  Slowly that early bedtime will push later as your child becomes more accustomed to staying awake longer.

3. Teething. A child will surface from an early morning sleep cycle and be distracted by the discomfort in her gums and is unable to relax back down into sleep.  Talk to your pharmacist about what you can offer for pain relief.   This are particularly brutal around 10 and 11 months and again around 12 months for 1st molars, and 2 years for second molars.

4.  Motor Development or Language Development.  When a child surfaces from an early morning sleep cycle and is excited about that new motor skill that she’s been working on, thinking about that skill or wanting to practice that skill, can distract her from relaxing back down into sleep.  This can also manifest as MOTNW, middle of the night wakings.  Baby may wake and “play happily” in her crib for up to an hour sometimes.  Again, thinking or practicing that new skill.  Holding on all fours, crawling, pulling up and walking are all common night time sleep disrupters.

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