Activities and daylight
This tip is important to remember if your baby wakes up early, especially for really young babies.
With older ones, it’s often solved more or less automatically.
But daylight is important to get your baby’s body used to being awake during the day and sleep at night. Don’t draw the curtains when the baby is taking a nap. Place the bed out of the sun, but close to a window if it is not too drafty and go outside a lot.
Sleeping in a dark room
Just like daylight is important during the day, darkness is very important at night.
Melatonin, the sleep hormone, needs the darkness to tell the body to stay asleep.
Make sure your baby’s bedroom is really dark at night also during the summer. (I think this was where our problems with our youngest baby started – our bedroom was much too light at night, and he got used to waking up at 5 am.)
Adjust the feeding and sleeping schedule
You might be struggling hard to move your baby’s wake up time even by 10 minutes, only to notice that moving it a while hour when daylight savings time starts or ends only takes a few days…
Well, my interpretation of this is that you can’t just move one or two small parts of your baby’s routines, you’ll have to move it all to have a real effect.
So, consider moving both the feeding and sleeping schedule (as if it was daylight saving time one more time) to help your baby wake up later. (Just move it in the right direction… 😉 )
Go to bed later
Putting your baby to bed later at night might make your baby wake up later in the morning.
It usually doesn’t. All you get is a fussier baby.
However, if you’re really persistent, and especially if your baby is not too young it might work after a while.
Some moms say that they’ve seen positive effects of this after a few weeks. I tried it and gave up – maybe too early.
Go to bed earlier
Funny enough, some babies sleep better and longer if put to bed earlier in the evening. If your baby seems very tired in the evening and still is hard to put to rest, consider trying half an hour earlier. It might just work.
Act as if it is still night
This is an expert advice that I’ve read elsewhere (and desperately tried), so I had to include it.
When your baby wakes up at 5 am or whenever considered too early by you, just act as if it is still night.
Do what you always to if your baby wakes up at night. This way your baby will learn that “morning” comes later… NOT! At least not my baby! It didn’t work at all!
But again, this doesn’t mean that it won’t work for you!
A cozy place to sleep is important, especially when dawn is approaching and many people, babies as well as adults seem to be sleeping less heavy. Make sure your baby is not too warm or cold.
For this purpose I can really recommend a baby sleep bag such as Grobag or similar brands, unless you think your baby’s pajama is enough.
If your baby is still not able to stand up, a baby sleep bag is usually easy to introduce. For older babies, it is not as obvious that they’ll like it, since it can limit their ability to move around. But it can still be worth a try, just buy it in a shop with good return policies.
Less sleep at daytime
Last piece of advice and what finally solved our problem…
Less sleep at daytime.
Our youngest has always been a good sleeper during the day, but when we started to limit the length of his naps in the afternoon, he started to sleep longer at night almost immediately. What a relief! Suddenly our baby wakes up at 6.30 am instead.
If you want to try this, remember that you don’t have to keep an exhausted baby up. Just try to gently wake him up after an hour or whatever you think is appropriate due to your baby’s sleep patterns and age.