Between 6 and 12 months it is common for a baby that used to be a great sleeper during the night to start the ‘early morning wake up’.  This is where they wake at about 5.30am and decide that the day has started, unfortanetly this means the whole family.  Previously they slept until a more reasonable wake up time of 6.30 or 7.00am. So what is happening here?  And how to you get them back to that reasonable wake up of 7.00am?

And is it realistic to expect that a baby 6-12 months can sleep 12 hours through the night without waking? Yes, these expectations are very realistic – by the age of 6 months any baby that is healthy, well fed and having adequate day sleeps can certainly sleep the 12 hours over night.  That is, 7pm to 7am.  If your baby was having a later start to her day previously, for some reason she started waking early once or twice.  Usually when I see parents with this problem chances are at this stage it is really habit.  She thinks this is the new wake up time and 5:30 am is too early for any parent to start their day on a regular basis and 6:30 – 7 am is realistic and achievable.

My recommendation is to make the day start at 6:30 am for now.  That means, if she wakes any earlier she is expected to stay in her cot and wait until the 6:30 am start.  At 6:30 am simply go into her room, greet her happily with a ‘Good Morning’ arms out and start your day in the usual way i.e. With a milk feed, play, breakfast whichever is your family’s routine.

Within about 3 or 4 days she will have adjusted to the new wake up time and sleep till closer to the 6:30 am.  Once she is achieving this time, you can simply stretch it out 5-10 minutes at a time depending on her mood until you get it back to the 7.00 am.  Your baby certainly will benefit and needs this amount of sleep. Good Luck

2 Responses to Expert Advice: The early morning wake up

  1. kellie owens says:

    Hi Nicole

    Thank you for the article. I do have an 11 month old that wakes at 5.30. I do realise I have to stop this becasue he is grumpy because he is tired. He goes to bed at 6.30pm. Sleeps 1.5-2h from 9.30 to approx 11 in the morning. then a nap at about 3 in the afternoon which he is starting to protest about.

    He is also starting to wake my 3 year old at this time which use to sleep to at least 7. Should I just let him cry from 5.30 – 6.30 then go in or wait till he goes back to sleep? He is quite loud and persistent. Doesnt give up easily. He also goes on hunger stikes when he is teething which is where the problem starts. Could he be hungry? Should I make the room dark?

    Thanks Kellie

    • Hi Kellie, for parent questions please post in our forum – every 2nd Tuesday night from 7.30-8.30pm Nicole will be there to answer your questions. You need to be a member to post – membership is only $19.95 per year. Find our ‘Join Membership’ button on our home page. Thank you.

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