Early Morning Wakings - And What To Do About It!

Yes, I adore my children, but I DO NOT love hearing them super early in the morning. In my house, we have a 7 am rule-- you don't get up before 7. This rule does have more flexibility for young babies and obviously potty breaks and emergencies don't count, but for the most part, you stay in your bed before 7 am. My kids almost always wake up after 7 am (we use an ok to wake clock), but when they wake up prior, they snuggle with their blankets or sing and talk to themselves. They are content in their beds, whether it be for a few minutes in the morning or at bedtime or nap time. With time and some possible changes, your child can be too!

What time your child wakes in the morning is controlled strongly by their internal clock. And most of these clocks say to wake up between
6:30-7:30 am. Expecting them to sleep much later than this is not very reasonable and usually not possible (especially if you are trying to have a well rested child). I know this isn't the best news for you night owls out there!

Many children start waking early in the morning out of the blue. Sometimes there is something you can do to stop the waking, while other times you have to wait it out--sometimes for several days, sometimes for, gulp, months. The list below should help you do some troubleshooting. Prevention is huge when it comes to waking early in the morning--once it starts it can be tricky to stop!

Here are some possible causes of early morning waking along with some solutions:
  • A light room. "The sky is awake so I'm awake!" A light room might be the cause of early morning wakings even if your child is used to sleeping in a light room for naps. Because a child's sleep is almost done in the morning he doesn't have a very strong drive to sleep at this time so things like light effect him more.
  • Some children wake and cry for you, especially if they are not used to sleeping on their own. They are using you as a sleep prop, and are unable to go to sleep and stay asleep on their own. The solution to this is helping them learn to sleep on their own, through some form of sleep training. See the sleep training index for some ideas. 
  • Your child has a disrupted sleep routine. A disrupted routine could include something that happened the current day or the even the night or day before. While some children don't mind a few disruptions, other children are very affected by them. If your child has big issues with disruptions, you will just have to do your best to minimize them and keep in mind that your child will probably get more adaptable as she gets older.
  • Your child has an inconsistent or nonexistent sleep routine. A child that has an inconsistent or nonexistent routine does not have consistent internal rhythms to help him know when he should be sleeping and for how long. See Why have a schedule/routine? From very early on I suggest always treating any feed during the night like a night feed. Be sure not to treat an early feed at 5 am like a morning feed, even with a newborn, of you may get him in the habit of being awake then for months to come.
  • Morning sounds may be waking your child. If you think this may be going on, wake up a bit earlier than your child usually gets up and see if you can figure out what is possibly waking him. You may want to consider getting a sound machine.
  • Your child's nightly requirement of sleep may have already been met. To fix this you may need to either put him to bed later or decrease his total nap lengths. See Nightly Sleep Phase.
  • Your child may have gone to bed too early. Either his nightly requirement of sleep may have been met (see above and the too long in bed problem) or his body is set on such a routine that even if you put him to bed early to make up for lost sleep from a bad nap (which often is a good idea for many children, see below), it will cause him to wake up early in the morning. A sleep log will be useful to see if this is the case.
  • Your child may have gone to bed too late causing over tiredness which often results in waking too early, not to mention multiple night wakings. Many children need to go to sleep earlier than usual for a time after a nap is dropped or when they have a bad nap day. Sleep (as funny as it sounds) begets sleep.
  • Your child may be waking for something (cartoons, mom and dad's bed if he is usually brought here when he wakes early, etc.). If your child watches tv in the morning, try not offering it until he has been up for at least an hour and see if it helps with the early morning awakenings. And if you don't want your child to keep waking up and wanting to get into your bed (often at earlier and earlier times) then DO NOT allow them in there in the first place.
  • Your child feels hungry because he is in the habit of eating in the early morning hours but is old enough to have his nutritional needs met during the day. You might want to consider doing some sort of night feeding weaning and/or sleep training.
  • Your child may need wake time during the dreamfeed. Gina Ford suggests keeping your baby up for approximately 45-60 minutes during the dreamfeed for the first 2-4 months of his life or until he is regularly sleeping until the desired morning wake time (at which time you slowly decrease the wake time at the dream feed). Doing so helps decrease early morning wake ups, especially once night feeds are dropped. Most babies seem fine without this extra waketime during the dreamfeed, but I have seen it help some.
  • Habitual wakings may result if your child is used to waking up at a certain time in the morning even if he isn't really ready to get up. See if you can reset his clock by doing wake to sleep or going in later each day to get him (or use an ok to wake clock or night light set on a timer). Click on the habitual waking link above for more tips.
  • Your child is uncomfortable.
    • Is his clothing itchy?
    • Does he have eczema? Talk to your doctor about getting something to help if lotion doesn't fix the problem.
    • Is his mattress uncomfortable? I suggest buying the best mattress you can afford and preferably a hypoallergenic one. If you are using a pack 'n play as a crib you can buy padded sheets and even put additional blankets for padding under the sheets (make sure it is SAFE).
    • Is baby too hot or too cold? See Getting the Right Temperature.
    • Is he in pain? **Does your young baby have gas? If you think this is the case, burp your baby, help him calm down and then set him down to try and sleep again. **Is an older baby teething? **Is baby sick? **Does he have acid reflux? **Does he have a diaper rash? ** I've noticed that some things that don't bother my son too much when he's awake (like teething) will be a bit more bothersome when he is trying to sleep since he doesn't have other things to take his mind off of the pain. You can all probably relate with this when you're trying to go to sleep and you notice your sore neck or back for the first time.
    • Does he have a wet diaper? Some children are more sensitive than others and do better with diapers that are extra absorptive like huggies supreme. These unfortunately usually cost more. I would first try the next size up to see if this works.
    • Does he have a dirty diaper? If he has a dirty diaper you obviously need to change it. Keeping with a eat/activity/sleep routine usually helps reduce dirty diapers during sleep times. You might also want to check out the post about poop and sleep if you are having this issue.
    • Is his tummy upset from something in mom's diet if she is breastfeeding or new solid foods that have been introduced? If your baby is formula fed he may be constipated (uncommon with breastfeeding).
    • REFLUX- My son Jacob was fussy in the morning from the time he was about 3 weeks old (until now at 2 months old as I write this). I trouble shot everything and couldn't figure out what was going on. After talking with his pediatrician we decided that it was due to reflux. Apparently a baby being fussy in the morning (and no other time) can be due to reflux and is related to the reflux worsening by lying all night (even at a slant) and not eating for long periods of time. He actually did have signs of reflux at other times of the day, but wasn't on medication since I was able to control them through other methods.
  • Morning nap is too early. An early morning nap has the potential to cause early morning awakenings by acting as the last sleep cycle of the night which is separated from the rest of the night by a short wake period. To fix this, gradually move the morning nap later and if necessary the first feeding of the day since hunger may be waking your child up too.
  • Your child is learning a new skill. Children practice new skills (even when they can't quite do the skills yet) before they fall asleep and even in their sleep. Obviously if you're trying to crawl or walk when you should be sleeping it can cause some disruptions :)  If your child is practicing a skill when they should be sleeping, sometime going in once and lying them down and telling them to go to sleep works--if it doesn't, leaving them alone is probably your best bet, otherwise your attention may make a new wake up habit.

  • Your child may be going through a monkey business phase. He wakes and plays around for a bit before going back to sleep. He is excited about life, day or night!

  • Your child, while transitioning through sleep phases, may wake up for a bit and make noises which you wrongfully assume as a sign that he is ready to go for the day. If left alone for several minutes he may go right back to sleep. Don't rush in!

Additional Tips
  • The most common time I hear about kids waking is between 5-6 months of age (often later with kids that are not sleep trained), although some 2-3 month olds will wake early too. They may wake for 30 minutes-2 hours and play around in their beds. You have a few options if this happens. 1) leave them alone. 2) Go in and tell them to go back to sleep--make sure to not go in too often 3) Some parents have success soothing or feeding their child back to sleep 4) Try adjusting the dreamfeed like I mentioned in the how to do a dreamfeed post 5) Try wake to sleep. Most kids respond best with as little attention as possible. Extra attention can reinforce the waking and turn it into a long term habit.
  • Teach your child to stay in his bed until you either get him or, if he is old enough, some sort of indicator let's him know it is time to get up. This may be something like a clock (either by the time or some you can set to light up at a certain time to represent morning) or a light that lights up to signal morning (see a post here on those). If you teach your child to stay in his bed until you get him from the time he is mobile, this will come very easily and only possibly require a little reinforcement/reminder here and there.

Morning Wake Time - Timing Morning Wake Time with Night Time Feedings
Night Wakings


  1. I just found your blog, I hope you can help me troubleshoot my early riser. My DD will be 7 months old next week and for the past 5 weeks she has been waking at 5am. She's been STTN since she was 18 weeks old. It was off and on, when she would wake it would be around 5am, I would feed her and she would sleep until 7am when I would wake her to start our day. Somedays she would wake early but never earlier than 6:30. We've been on a good routine since she was 5 weeks old (following Babywise). Then 5 weeks ago she started waking at 5am, at first I thought growth spurt (6 months) so I fed and she would fall back asleep, but then after a few days she didn't go back to sleep but was wide awake instead. Then I thought it was now habitual waking, so I stopped feeding her at 5am (for 4 weeks now we only eat at 6am regardless of wake up time) but she still wakes and plays in her crib anywhere from 30-60 min before she starts crying. Even when I go get her she stops crying so she isn't crying out of hunger she just wants to be up. So 2 weeks ago I adjusted her bedtime from 7 to 7:30 in hopes of her sleeping in 30 min later but no luck. She's a really good napper; takes 3 naps. The first 2 are 1.5 hour and the last is 45 minutes. I almost always have to wake her from naps. She has a 2.5 hour waketime in between. Last night she woke at 4am! I'm willing to try anything!

  2. Make sure to rule out things from the list above (like light, sounds etc).

    You were smart to consider the initial waking as hunger. It sounds like this waking may or may not have been due to hunger (continue monitoring for this and make sure you continue working with solids since she is 7 months old), but either way it sounds like it turned into a habit because she liked your company in the early hours. So that means you have to work on cutting out the habit. You could leave her but I know some babies will keep things up for weeks if not months if left alone. So I would think about trying TBW wake to sleep or P.U./P.D.

    It is still possible that this is a phase and you'll have to wait it out too.

  3. Hello rachel,

    Wasn't sure where to post so thought I would email.

    I love all the information you provide on your site.

    My son, Oliver is 3 months old. We started off following gina ford from birth and he has a 7 am - 7 pm routine with a dream feed at 1030. When he was swaddled he was sleeping until 6 am or if not would settle back with a dummy until then. He was breaking out of the swaddle more than he was in it so we decided to use a sleeping grow bag. Since then he wakes from 3 am onwards and he is not easy to settle. I have been feeding him at 5 am but he doesn't then want his morning feed.

    Through the day he feeds well. He cat naps and has about 3, 45 minute naps a day. Feel like we are going backwards now!!!

    Feel free to post this and any comments are appreciated


  4. Jennifer,

    First, make sure to look over the list above to see if there are any of the issues going on. It does sound like it might be related to the swaddle since it sounds like things suddenly changed at this time. It isn't too uncommon for babies to initially put themselves to sleep ok but then have trouble at transition time when changes like this happen. I would either consider getting a more secure swaddle (Iike the miracle blanket) or doing some sort of sleep training when he wakes in the morning. Maybe feed him when he wakes just to be sure he isn't hungry, then let him figure it out from there on. If you are following gina ford, this probably means you'll do cio. If you are sure he isn't hungry, then hold off on the feeding since it might turn into a habit you have to get rid of when he learns to sleep through the night again.

    If he doesn't want the morning feed when you feed him at 5, then maybe try feeding him the smallest amount possibly at 5 that he is content with. If this doesn't work well, then you might want to slowly decrease how much you feed him at this time (content or not).

    As for short naps, once you drop the swaddle this can happen. So you can try a better swaddle or do something like cio (or whatever method you choose) to help him get used to sleeping unswaddled. It will probably just take time. Some babies still have a strong moro reflex that bugs them at this age so if this is the case I would encourage you to figure out a swaddle that works (look under the swaddle post in the index). If short naps are new, then look over the short nap post (found in the index). It has a lot of suggestions. Sometimes there are things you can do to fix the short naps, sometimes it seems to be something that babies just have to grow out of. Either way, gina ford in my opinion has wake times that are pretty long for young babies so I would consider shortening them to see if this helps. Good luck! It is a rough stage right now with the changes going on but you'll hopefully be both through it before you know it!

  5. Hi Rachel,

    My 13-week-old son just started sleeping through the night, from 8 pm to 6 am. He dropped his middle of the night feeding on his own a few days ago. I am definitely happy about that!! My question is about his wake-up time. I would ideally like to start the day at 7, since that is when my older son wakes up and I could get an extra hour of sleep. (I am not complaining at all...I just would like to see if it would be possible to shift his schedule a little before he gets into the habit of waking at 6 am sharp every day.)

    Since he is already sleeping 10 hours, I feel that I would be cruel not to feed him right away. And it would not make sense to put him back to bed right after feeding him to let him sleep another half hour and then wake him up again (and he probably won't fall asleep anyway--I tried it once). What would be the best strategy to shift his schedule?

    I had already been shifting his bedtime later with the daylight savings time change. He used to go to bed at 8:30 before the time change, and I have successfully shifted it half an hour later so that it is the equivalent of 9:00 old time (8:00 new time). I can try to continue shifting it later; however, I am not sure if that will cause him to sleep in more.

    I also had a question about what you said in this post. You said too early a morning nap would cause early wakings. I don't think I really understand this one. Since my son is waking at 6, I am putting him down for a nap at 6:50 or 7 and letting him sleep until 10, so that I can kind of be back on schedule (I had been feeding him at 7, 10, 1, 4, 7). Is his morning nap too early then? If I put him down any later, he will get overtired and will not fall asleep easily. Can I change the time he wakes up by putting him down for his nap later?

    Thank you!

  6. Chantal,
    If it works for you, you might want to aim for like 12 hours of sleep. Most babies and kids need this much at night although some will sleep longer int he day to make up for this and some will only sleep like 10 hours regardless. So you could try a 7-7 or 8-8 sleep time at night. If you kept the 8pm bedtime, you would try to feed at 6 then get him up like at 815/8:30 (see http://www.mybabysleepguide.com/2009/06/morning-wake-time-timing-morning-wake.html). Keep things quiet and dark when you feed in the morning, even let him suck a bit longer to get him drowsy again to help him go back to sleep. Sometimes this will work after several days, sometimes it won't bc baby is stuck at an early wake time. Then you have to move onto other methods. Look at the list above and see if any of the things mentioned seem to be causing early morning wake ups. Is he going to bed too late? This makes a big difference for some kids with early morning wake ups, but not with others. He may simply be waking early out of habit. Or he might have his internal clock set to an early time and sometimes you can move him to a later time by getting up from bed 15 minutes later ever few to several days. But this is hard to do if he's hungry at this time.

    As for the morning nap, with SOME kids a really early one can make them wake up early in the morning (the body kind of gets confused you could say and does this on its own). It can be hard to know if this is going on, especially since most kids have a pretty short wake time at this age and things go just fine. If you rule out others things, it is worth seeing if this is the issue. You could try extending wake time very slowly, even 5 minutes every several days so that you don't get bad naps from this. Regardless, a 3 hour nap in the morning can cause some issues with kids. It can make them cut out on night time sleep too so shortening this nap might help things out too.

  7. I just found your blog, and I hope you are still accepting questions. I have a 10 week old. He is on a good routine. He isn't prop dependent, and we do the shush pat to get him to sleep at night. He is asleep between 7-7:30pm every night. Earlier the better for him, the longer we wait the more overtired he becomes so we are sensitive to the time and make sure to get him to bed earlier enough and he falls asleep without any crying. He was waking at 2am then at 3am every single night and I did the wake to sleep technique and stopped the 2am waking. He still wakes somewhere between 2:45am-3:30am every single night. He comes out of his swaddle, he isn't always awake, but making loads of noise and moving his legs like crazy and trying to get out of his swaddle with his arms. I can usually go in without him waking and get him back to sleep until 4am when I feed him. I'd love for him to sleep until 4am at least! I hate the multiple waking in the night. I'm not sure if his 3am-ish waking time is also habitual waking? The time isn't as exact as the 2am one. I know he is sleeping for a long time, and so I don't mind him waking at 4am for a feed. He goes back to sleep until around 7-7:30am. How to I get rid of this 3am-is thing he is doing? It is wearing me out!

  8. Mary@,
    How long has the 3 am waking gone on? If you used to feed him them he may be waking out of habit for a feed and not feeding him for a few days---a couple weeks might make it go away on its own. I think wake to sleep is worth a shot, even if it isn't at exactly the same time. Maybe try a better swadddle or really make sure you swaddle him good and tight. Have you tried leaving him to see if he'll go back to sleep on his own? Maybe you going in is disrupting him. He might just be going through a rough sleep phase and need time to get through it before falling into more of a quiet sleep.

  9. Dear Rachel,
    Our son (almost 15 months) was sleeping from 7-7.30 pm till 6-6.30 am (sometimes 7am) and had 2 naps (45mins between 9-10am; 60-90mins from 1pm). Few weeks ago he started to wake at 5am and perhaps it is every day few mins earlier! He sleeps through the night (if he wakes up with cry, he can be easily comforted by stroking in his cot). At 5am wake up he seemed to be hungry but after a feed (breast milk) he couldn’t sleep for at least 45 mins, usually an hour. I tried PU/PD to get him back to sleep after milk, but it worked just at 6.30 and brought a standing up in the cot and cry. He clearly is not fresh yet, but also not tired anymore. I thought the early waking is due to needless morning nap. I tried to eliminate it by making him sleep longer as described above and then put him to earlier nap after lunch (at 11.30). The problem is, he still doesn’t sleep longer in the morning, and he never falls back to sleep after 5am feed. Recently I just gave up, after milk he gets also some milky-grain porridge (I also tried to offer him cows milk or formula to have more of it, but I failed), then he plays till 6-6.30am and then easily falls asleep for no longer then 45-60 mins. I don’t know, whether it is a habitual waking at 5am, but I can imagine he is really hungry. My son is getting too little of sleep (9.5 hrs + 1 + 1.5 = 12hrs / day), waking up at 5am is also stressing us. Rachel please, do you have an idea what’s going on and how to fix it? Another question is, why he almost always wakes up with cry and getting up in his cot. Is the cry normal? I’d very thankful for any opinion and suggestions. Many greetings! monika

  10. Monika,
    Sorry about the delayed reply! As for the crying when waking, it can be due to overtiredness, but in your situation my guess is that it is due to him wanting your companionship right when he wakes. With some kids, even when they put themselves to sleep without mom and dad around, it can take them a while before they stop crying out when they wake up. I think it has a bit to do with temperament sometimes.

    The early morning wakings can be tricky. I would definitely not get him up to play, I wouldn't even turn the light on and talk to him outside of saying something like "it's time to go to sleep". Give as little attention as possible. I probably wouldn't even feed him (he 100% doesn't need food at this time and giving it to him can really get him into the habit of feeling hungry at this time and/or waking out of habit to eat and see you). I would maybe try an earlier bedtime. The often does the trick as funny as that sounds. with one nap a day my guess is that he needs an earlier nap than you are giving him (with a normal 6 or 6:30 waking) and it might take some time to get long. You will probably need an earlier bedtime for a while and a SUPER early one until he gets that nap extended. Just one nap may or may not help. And it may hurt. So I would keep a log of what is going on (making sure to not jump to conclusions too quickly). Good luck. That kind of a wake up time is no fun at all!!

  11. Dear Rachel,
    Many thanks for your last advices! I immediately applied both; the earlier bedtime and staying in bed at the 5 am wake up. The latter needed some time to adjust. First days it took him almost an hour to fall back to sleep, luckily almost no cry! Later our son was able to fall back to sleep in few minutes, with cuddling. However, he still kept quite long period of time to wake up at 5 am. After all, he is sleeping without the 5 am break. Sometimes allows us to sleep as long as to 6.30 :) more often it is sth like 6 am, which is not so bad, however he never sleeps 12 hours in the night, mostly only 10,5. During the day his sleep is longer than before, 2,5-3 hrs.
    Our second baby is on the way, due in January. I’m wondering how our son’s sleep will change. As a prevention, I’m reading E. Pantley’s book, to be ready :) hoping to prevent any crying methods with both babies … Did your older son sleep in his room when you got your second son? Did he start to sleep worse? Perhaps you wrote some blog on this…
    Anyway, thanks a lot again and a lot of fun with your family!!!

  12. Monika,
    I'm so glad your son is sleeping better!

    If you are going to make any room or bed (crib to bed) changes, make sure to do it at least a few months ahead of time. My oldest and youngest both have their own rooms so I didn't have to deal with the sharing of room. My oldest son didn't have any change in sleep when the baby was born. Baby did share a room with me and my husband until shortly after he started sleeping through the night. If your kids are going to share a room, I would hold off on moving baby into the room until he sleeps through the night so he doesn't wake up your oldest son.

  13. Hi rachel! I need your advice. I recently teached my baby to sleep on her own, and its been great i wake her for a feed at 12, she used to wake at 2am. My problem is that she used to sleep until 6am now she wakes 4:45. Last night i tried wake to sleep at 3:30am and it worked i could get her to sleep till 5:15 but then she gets hungry, when before she used to feed perfectly at 6am. Today i fed her and put her back in her crib and slept for 20 more mins. She goes to bed at 7pm every night. How can i shift her schedule to she gets hungry at 6 again?

  14. I found you'd blog a couple days ago and started doing cry it out with my 7 month old successfuly for the firstvtime yesterday. Reading your blog gave me the confidence I needed to do it without giving in to her or my husband lol. My 7 month old was waking up 3 to 4 times every night and eating a tiny bit then going back.to sleep. She would also wake up at 430 or 5 and be wide awake and have to come to bed with me to sleep till 630 or later. I was so tired all the time. So I let her cry it out yesterday for naps till she fell asleep on her own, she did better when I didn't check on her at all, then again at bed time and she only stirred once at 430 for a few seconds then slept till 630! I was so proud of her and myself. She slept almost 12 hours! Thank you so much for your helpful tips. I needed the sleep and so did she. Hopefully she sleeps like that most of the time ;)

  15. joy83,
    Great news! I'm glad you are all sleeping better. Hopefully things will keep up, for the most part.


  16. hi rachel, hope you are having a really nice holiday season with your family!

    i last posted a question on afternoon naps, which are still inconsistent but i keep trying and she now sleeps more often than not.

    i can't quite figure out what is going on with my 5.5mo old daughter waking early in the morning. until a couple of weeks ago, she was a 630-8a sleeper with a dreamfeed around 1030. her night sleeping has been over 90% reliable since she was 9 weeks old. teething threw her off, and then the holidays, and now she wakes up at 630 and just looks around until i go in at almost 8. i've tried putting her to bed earlier, also later. at first i thought she was waking at 730 but woke up around 630 this morning to find her just starting to stir on the video monitor. i guess since her naps aren't very consistent in the afternoon, and other things have been going on, it's hard to eliminate all variables. prior to this, if she ever woke up early, she would fall back asleep.

    if it's a phase, i guess i should just keep doing what i'm doing, or i can take her lead and start getting up with her earlier and starting the day. i'm never quite sure how to handle her changes (i can say that there are SO many at her age and she doesn't even roll yet!!). sometimes i think that even though she doesn't quite wake up for the dreamfeed that i'm interrupting her sleep. obviously it's never bothered her before, but baby sleep patterns/cycles seem to change a lot so maybe i should try dropping? i hate to throw in yet another thing.

    i guess i'm a control freak so part of it is that i want her to wake up when it's "time"..but the more major issue is that her morning wake time has to be clipped short because she's already been awake for almost an hour and a half by the time i go in to get her...

    any ideas or thoughts are very appreciated!!


  17. the roache hotel,
    ah, 5.5 months. There might be a lot of develomental things going on that are keeping her up in the morning instead of falling right back asleep (ie she may be trying to learn to crawl:). I would also make sure bedtime is early enough (really, try it!) and make sure she her waketimes are long enough but not too long. both things can cause the bad naps. Likely she can handle around 2 hours waketime, give or take 30 minutes.

    It is possible the df is causing issues. But she might have a hard time going the entire night without it so you migth be stuck with a nigth feeding/early morning feeding. but you may be fine. And even that feeding might help her sleep better overall and be worth it.

    I would consider starting the day like at 7 at least. Many babies don't do well starting much later than this, especially once they get past the newborn age.

    Good luck! Sorry for the late reply!

  18. Hi Rachel, my little baby is almost 5 months old and has been on a great routine since birth. She would sleep from 7pm to 7am with a dream feed at 10.30pm each night. The last few weeks she has been waking at 6am with a dirty diper. I change her but she will not go back to sleep. She will stay in her cot talking to her self ad yelling out until I go back in.

    Do you have any advise on how to either get her to sleep through the dirty diper or how to resettle her.

    She has also only been sleeping for an hour at a time during the day. She used to have 2x2 hour sleeps but I can not resettle her no matter what I do.

    Any advise would be greatly appreciated.


  19. Flick,
    It will be tough to get her to go back to sleep when she wakes at 6 am. Some babies will, but most won't. It is too close to the normal wake time.

    That is weird that she is suddenly starting to wake with a dirty diaper at that time, but sometimes it happens. Any recent change in diet? My son actually did this around this age (he was always a weird pooper in regards to timing) and I did wake to sleep for a few morning and it got rid of the wakings. There is a post on this titled wake to sleep again, or something similar.

    As for the short naps, my guess is the wakeitme is off. How long is it? She'll probaly need around 1.5-2 hours right now.

    What do you do to resettle? Maybe that didn't used to cause issues but is now causing issues and early wake ups because she wants your attention (this is also a great age for an increase in that desire!).


  20. Hi Rachel,
    Yeah her we have started solids recently. So she has a bottle at 7am, solids at 8am, bottle at 11am, solids at 12 noon, bottle at 3pm, solids at 5.30pm and bottle at 6.30pm with bed at 7pm. Do u think I should change these times?

    The most my baby is awake is normally 2 hours but sometimes she falls asleep before then but not less than 1.5 hours. I noticed that she is waking in the first nap also due to a dirty diaper even tho is did a massive one at about 6am.

    The only way I would resettle her was by putting her pacifier back in and walking straight out of the room. These days she is more awake at that time and won't resettle. I have also had to stop swaddling her as she now has began to roll. Could it be to do with this?


  21. Flick,
    My guess is that the solids are having to do with the dirty diapers. So things will likely improve with time. Maybe hang off with giving one of the solid feeds (probably the later one) for now.

    Yes, it could have to do with the unsaddling. She maybe used to wake up early in the morning and settle right back to sleep. but now she is sensing something a little different and is having a harder time going back to sleep. I am dealing with the same issue with my son right now since taking away his pacifier :) The short naps may have to do with the lack of the swaddle too. My guess is with time she will get better with self soothing without it and sleep longer.


  22. Hi Rachel,

    I love your blog. There is so much info on sleep training.

    My LO will be 5 month old on Monday. I did the sleep training (TBW) when he was 3.5 month old. It went quite well for about a month. He would sleep from 730pm till 6am with a DF at 1130am.

    Yet, starting about 2 weeks ago, he started to wake up at different times every night, anywhere b/w 3am to 5am. B/c of this, the schedule is totally off, depending when he wakes up. I am not sure if that was due to hunger and if i should feed. Sometimes he would cry for an hour. I have tried both shush-pat and PUPD but he just wouldn't settle. Sometimes when i picked him up, he would "eat" my face, so i ended up feeding him. After feeding him, i would put him back in his crib and he would fall asleep on his own without any problem. When i laid him down, he usually open his eyes, so i laid him down when he was half awake.

    At first, I didn't think it's habitual cause every night he wakes up at different times. But this has been going on for more than 2 weeks and I am not sure if i should continue feeding him when he wakes up or not. Is this causing him to wake up? I am EBF and he always finishes both sides.

    Thanks a lot for your help!!

  23. Hi Rachel,

    Further to my last comment, my LO woke up at 2am last night and 3pm the night before.. i fed him both nights..

    thanks a lot.

  24. Iris,
    Hmmm, if he is getting a dream feed it doesn't seem likely that he should need a feed in the middle of the night either.

    Let's try to figure this out. When you used to not feed him and it took an hour to fall asleep, did he sleep well after that? If so, my guess is that it isn't due to hunger. If you drop the df does he wake around the same time?

    A thought would be to 1)move the df earlier and 2) get bedtime earlier. These are often the reasons for night waking. also ensure good naps that don't go too late at night.

    Try wake to sleep if the things above don't help. He may be in such a habit of waking now that you will have to wean slowly off this feed before he'll sleep through the waking.

    I'm glad you have found the blog helpful!


  25. Hi there. I am having many issues with my kids and sleep. My son, Tyler 3.5, has alway had sleep issues. He is in his room, big boy bed, potty trained, goes to sleep alone, but wakes up 1-3 times a night and I have to take him back to his room and lay with him. Resulting in me normally falling asleep and waking sometime later and returning to my bed to sleep only to be waken again by him shortly after. His bedtime routine starts about 7 with a little tv time, story, singing songs and is asleep by 8-8:15. His wake up used to be about 6, but has just moved closer to 5, unless he is sleeping with me or my husband then he will sleep closer to 6. He still takes an afternoon nap from anywhere from 12-1 to 2-3 also know he is waking earlier because of his sister....here is her issues...
    Blake (19 months) has been a much better sleeper than her brother, however in the last 2 months she has gone from sleeping 6:30-6:30 to6pm-4am! She has 1 nap a day same as her brother. She was always waking between 6 and 6:30, then it moved to like 5, and now it is like 4am. Mommy can't keep up with these two:) My son will sleep thru her cries if he has someone in bed with him. He understands that it is ok for her to cry, I Try and make her stay in her crib until 5am, she cries. She has two sleep crutches her blanket that I will not get rid of and her pacifier. I am tempted to get rid of it since I am already having users with her sleep, why not throw the pacifier away and hope to solve them all at once.

    Any help, suggestions anyone can provide would be great.
    Thank you a very sleep deprived mom, I haven't slept thru the night for over in what seems like years. Please help:)

  26. Kmart,
    With tyler, you may want to consider reducing the nap length a bit and putting him to bed earlier. I would avoid tv before bed. If he keeps waking from his sister, try a sound machine. My guess is that his issues are related to sleep props--you being the prop. He wants you to help him go back to sleep and to stop the wakings and calls for you, you need to stop acting as a prop. I would avoid going in to him in the morning until a reasonable hour. Let him know this beforehand. He is old enough to understand. You can give him a clock and say it has to at least say 6 before he gets up or buy one of those clocks or night lights that show it is day and wake up time at a preset time.

    As for blake, I would do similar things with her that I mentioned with tyler for the wake ups. I wouldn't consider the blanket a crutch. I know some people do, but I don't. It is something she uses to help give her comfort, just like adults use things when they sleep to give them comfort (though we don't' usually think of it as this).

    Good luck,

  27. Guys, help me,
    my baby wakes around 4 in the morning and cannot fall asleep, i usually find him playing and i come to him and tell him its time to sleep (he poops now also regulary at this time so i have to change his diaper and put him back to his crib), i cannot use PU/PD to make him selfsooth and sleep.
    The problem is, since he is not sleeping through the night he is drowsy through the day and makes short naps.When he wokes up from the naps he does not know how to selfsooth, i want to help him, but i am also out of my energy and my nerves are gone.

  28. additional information to this above, he is also 5,5 month old and been doing these wakings since mid December. Sometimes i have the feeling he is awake in different times between 2 and 4 am.

  29. Thanks Rachel, my son is doing better, but even with trying to put Blake down earlier to help catch up on her sleep she is still continuing to wake at 4am! I have been keeping her in her crib until 5, hoping she will go back to sleep but she isn't. I guess I will just keep @ it.

  30. Andrej,
    Some kids will wake up and play for weeks on end. Make sure he is going to bed early, between 6-8, 12 hours ish before morning wake up. Make sure his total sleep seems appropriate (see post in index) . Too much nap time, or too little can cause wake ups. Monitor daily wake times to see if it helps with naps. See that post too. If he is awake playing in the middle of the night it doesn't sound so much like a sleep prop problem and inability to self soothe., but it is still possible.

    I did wake to sleep when my son was waking pooping, there is a post about the too. Might work for you.

    Take a look at the sleep training post in the index to see if there are any methods that sound ok to you to do for self soothing. Try to get some support if you can to help you through. Being a mommy, especially a tired one, is hard.

    Look though the posts in the index to see if there are other ones that sound useful for your situation.


  31. Good luck kmart, I hope things improve!

  32. Hi Rachel

    I came across your blog and it is brilliant!

    My baby boy is 14 weeks old and stopped feeding in the night from about 7 weeks. This is his current routine (give or take half an hour each side):-

    Wake and feed 7am
    Nap 9am-10am
    Feed 10am
    Nap 12am-2pm
    Feed 2pm
    Nap 4.30-5pm
    Bath and feed 6.30
    Bed 7pm
    Small feed (half regular feed) - 10/11pm

    He has been on this routine for about 8 weeks. However, although he no longer wants to eat during the night he always wakes at least twice. Initially, he would wake at 5am-5.30am. I would go in and soothe him and/or give him the dummy and sometimes he goes back to sleep until 7am and sometimes then he wakes every 20/30 minutes until 7am. This is leaving me feeling exhausted the next day! I tried wake to sleep (TBW) but his waking has now simply changed to waking at more random times - there is no longer the consistent waking at 5am. Last night he woke at 4am and 6 am, both times I popped the dummy in and he went back to sleep.

    I do recognise that he is very good to have been on such a routine from an early age and not feeding during the night and I feel we are very nearly there with him sleeping through the night but I just don't seem to be able to get rid of these night awakenings. I have gone through all the trouble shooting list and all have come back negative so I am wondering whether I simply need to give it time and this is something he will grow out of.

    He has slept through the night without waking on 3 ocassions since he was born.

    I wondered if you had any ideas?

    Many thanks


    1. Sophie,
      Consider reducing the daily wake times. They seem long for her age and can cause night wakings. Consider dropping the dream feed to see if it helps. I would consider hunger if she continues to wake over and over at night. Some babies will jump back and forth with their sleeping through the night. I would also consider the need to just wait longer. She may not have the ability to sleep a 12 hour consolidated stretch at night yet.

      Best of luck,

    2. Thanks Rachel

      "He" has been sleeping a lot better since we stopped giving the pacifier as he's not now waking for it. I also thought that 3 and half hours nap time was pretty standard for a 3 and half month old and never once considered this to be long for his age. Thanks for your thoughts though!

    3. Sophie,
      Sorry for the "she". I realized that when I read this again . Good luck with everything. Glad dropping the pacifier helped. That sure can cause a lot of extra wakings when it turns itself into a prop.


  33. My 8 1/2 week old is now going to sleep every night around 7:30-8:30. He wakes anywhere from 1:30-2:30am every night for a feed. I'm recently noticing that at his early morning feeding between 4:30-6, he doesn't finish his bottle and mostly only eats 1 ounce. Should I cut out the middle of the night feeding? If so, how do I go about doing this?

  34. I have to be at work for 6:30 when I go back, so if he woke at 5am then went back to sleep that would be ideal. How do I get Jim on this schedue before I go back?

    1. Also it is very rare that he takes a nap longer than 30 mins during the day because of reflux

    2. Andrea,
      I think you are fine to try and drop that last feed as long as he is healthy and growing well. At this age i'd try to do it pretty gently. You can try wake to sleep, moving the first or second feed back a tiny bit every few days(moving the first feed back might help move that second feed back) by offering a pacifier etc.

      To get Jim on a schedule, notice how long he is usually awake ad how long he nps you can make a sleep log to figure this out. Many people also like the eat wake sleep cycle. See posts in index about these and schedules in general

  35. Rachel - perhaps you have some suggestion for my son's recent change in sleep habits.

    My son is 10 1/2 months old. He has always slept well throughout the night. We have never gone in to get him up/change/feed him in the mornings before 7AM. Every now and then he would wake up at 5:30 or 6AM but after playing for 30-40 minutes he would fall back to sleep until around 7. More often he would wake up at 6:15/6:30 and just hang out content until we came into his room.

    For the past week, he has started waking up between 5:30-6:00 consistently, may play or veg out for 15 minutes if we're lucky, and then he just stands up in his crib and starts screaming bloody murder until we come in to get him - we still do not go in there until 7AM. When we arrive, he stops crying and is fine and does not seem affected by being upset. He repeats the standing up and screaming bit when he wakes up from both naps as well. In those instances, I go up to get him pretty quickly after he wakes up.

    Initially, he would throw his pacifier and blanket out of the crib, immediately regret it and scream even harder and not be able to go back to sleep. So we took the pacifier away altogether. He had no issues falling asleep without it. We've put some teethers in his crib in case his issue is teething. Now he just chucks his other toys out of the crib when he gets really mad.

    His normal routine, prior to the earlier waking/not going back to sleep/screaming fits was that he would go down at night for bed between 7:00 - 7:30PM (6:30-7:00 if his second nap wasn't very long), waking between 6:15/6:30AM, first nap around 9:00 and second nap around 1:00/1:30. Generally the first nap would be about an hour and the second nap about 1 1/2 to 2 hrs. Sometimes the durations swapped and the morning would be longer and the afternoon shorter. Every now and then he'd take a cat nap for about 45 minutes at 4:30.

    This past weekend he woke around 5:45AM screaming, slept for an hour Saturday morning at 9:30, and refused any further naps completely and went to bed at 7PM. Sunday he woke at 6AM screaming, took an hour and a half nap at 9AM and wouldn't nap again until 3:30 - for 50 minutes. He went to sleep for the night at 8:15. He woke up this morning at 6AM, played for 15 minutes and screamed his head off until 7AM.

    The problem with him waking sooner is that our work schedules cause my husband to be out of the house and me in the shower right when he's up at 6AM and I can't get to him any sooner unless I get up at 5AM to anticipate the freakout. But I don't want to start feeding him too early either, do I?

    I don't know what caused him to suddenly reject his routine and change his demeanor. He still puts himself to sleep each time within 15 minutes and sleeps all night long. Is he just more interested in being up and about now that he can crawl and explore the world? How do I either get him closer to waking at 7 or waking without crying?

    1. The bumbles,
      Maybe there is a wonder week going on? this one can last a few weeks.
      You'll have to find the post about 'when are the wonder weeks' as my phone isn't letting me copy and paste on blogger.

      He may also not be feign his best or teething, but I'd expect some other issues too, including some issues falling asleep.

      it may be a phase and his way of expressing himself. My 2 year old did this upon waking a while ago too. He was a bit older and I worked on putting a favorite stuffed animal to bed with him along with his blanket, congratulating a good and happy attitude with no crying and I eventually told him mommy wouldn't come to get him until he could be happy. I even yelled into his room to be happy at first and he immediately stopped crying and was happy ;) at 10 months, I'd try to give positive reinforcement for being happy and no crying. Just mention it to give him an idea. Some people will even make sure to wake their child and act excited that they are waking happy but I can't say how well this method works. Another option is to leave him until he is happy. This can be hard to do but most kids will improve in a few days, some taking several days.

  36. Rachel,

    My son is so inconsistent with his sleeping, one night he will go 6 hours, the next 4 then every 2 hours. We put him down at 8 and he wakes anywhere from 1-4 then goes back to sleep until anywhere from 445-7.... I start back to work in 3 weeks and really need him to be on a more consistent routine. If he does wake before 7am, he's not hungry. He just wakes up but still tired. How can I get him to sleep through this waking for no reason?

    1. Andrea,
      How old is he?
      An earlier bedtime often has, especially when there are really frequent wakings. If he goes to sleep with some dirt of sleep prop I'd highly suspect that is the cause for frequent wakings and youll want to work on weaning from that. The changing waking times at night may correlate to varying naps each day. You could try something like the core night (see index). Most kids will sleep longer at night as they get used to going a period without a feed for a few days to a couple weeks(assuming they can settle to sleep themselves and aren't reliant upon a prop). Just being able to put themselves to sleep at bedtime helps many babies out for the rest of the night.


  37. Hi Rachel,

    Our baby boy is 7.5 months old now and we have been having sleep problems that seem to be worsening.
    He used to be a good sleeper. He would take three naps for the past few months through the day (each one after being awake for about 2 - 2.5 hours). They were pretty short (40 minutes on average) but seemed to get the job done. From 8 weeks old he would STTN with a dream feed at 11:30pm (and wake up around 7:30-8). At six months we dropped the dream feed with success.
    This all changed about three weeks ago..
    He's learning how to crawl and never seems to stop. He crawls in circles around the crib and often ends up all fours banging his head against the end of his crib. I read this was a normal sleep regression so I've been trying to get through it but I think he has started to pick up new bad habits.
    We also started switching to 2 naps a day most days- if one of them was over an hour he would only take two but if they were shorter we would try and get the third one (some days with no success).
    He's been waking us up at 6am fussing and my husband gives him a bottle- he sounds hungry and he does eat the whole bottle. We then try to get him back to sleep for awhile, often resorting to sticking him between us on the bed where we can kind of pin him down.
    I tried 'wake to sleep' this morning and set my alarm for 5:15 am. When I got up and stuck my head in his crib he was already stirring and when he saw me he jolted awake. I realized this is probably his normal wake up time as he always played by himself in the morning for about an hour before waking us up. I tried to get him down for 45 minutes with no success and at 6am caved and gave him a bottle. About 20 minutes after that he fell asleep until about 8.
    He's a happy chilled out baby but I can tell he has been more tired.
    At 10 this morning he was yawning so I put him down and he just wouldn't go to sleep. He became so overtired that he was hitting himself with his arm (and was crawling all over the crib). I tried everything- putting him in our bed and lying next to him, swaddling him with his arms in (which just pissed him off more than anything) and finally let him fall asleep on the bottle 90 minutes after I first put him down.
    His bedtime is 7-ish and he is very good at going straight to sleep then. I should mention that we have a one bedroom bungalow and his crib is still in our room (I've been working on preparing a nook for him off the living room and will move him into there when we get back from our extended vacation coming up). This definitely makes it harder with CIO- we are very good at letting him fuss in the mornings but most of the time he can see that we are there.
    I am so frustrated because that all the hard work we did to not rely on crutches has been for naught. We have had to resort to all the bad tricks (falling asleep on the bottle, sleeping with us etc..) that we worked so hard to avoid for the first six months.
    My mother-in-law stayed with us last week and she is a light sleeper so when he started fussing at 6am we would jump out of bed and get a bottle for him asap so as not to wake her. Now he expects that.
    My husband is always quick to feed him or bring him into our bed. He dislikes CIO. I am fine with it to some level. I have a friend who does Gina Ford and we are definitely not those type of parents, but we also have worked hard to not rely on these crutches that we use now.
    Please help! I feel like it is getting worse every day.

    1. Jude11,
      To help him sleep better you'll need to work on removing sleep pros and not giving your son something to wake up wth.
      Removing props will be tough, as will not introducing them again when things get off again--because they will. There will probably be protesting. If you do something like the no cry sleep solution you'll have less protesting but it seems to take longer. You'll need to make a plan of what you want to do and stick with t. Your husband needs to be up for it or it likely won't work.

      With sharing a room, one of the best things that works at this age is playing dead when baby works. Don't respond to him (unless your method involves it). Certainly let him be if he's happy.


    2. Oh, and try an earlier bedtime when naps are rough

    3. Thanks Rachel, we moved him out of our room over the weekend and things are much better. We've started to become quite firm about naps and are roughly following the 2-3-4 schedule (first nap 2 hours after waking, second nap three hours after waking from 1st nap and bedtime 4 hours after waking from second nap).
      His morning nap is usually 1.5 hours on the dot now but his afternoon nap is still often 45 minutes and he is still tired when he wakes and struggles to make it to bedtime. Do you think I should wake him from his first nap after an hour to see if it helps with his afternoon nap? I've tried the shush pat and also leaving him and neither has worked for him.
      We've also decided for early mornings that if he wakes within half an hour of his 7am wake up time then he is up for the day but any earlier than that and we quickly feed him and put him right back down and then wake him up at 7 (or within half an hour on the other side, 7:30). Does that sounds practical?
      Thanks so much for your help! Reading your blog has really helped us get a grasp on his new sleeping issues and we seem to be resolving them!

    4. Jude11,
      Usually at this age limiting the morning nap isn't necessary. But you can always try it to see what happens.

      The 2-3-4 nap rule is a useful one, but I think it is a bit much waketime for many babies at this age (I know many people suggest to use it starting around 6 months of age though). So consider that he is getting too much of that and adjust and see what happens. A sleep lot (see index) can help you figure things out here.

      Also, at this age, if he is only napping 45 minutes in the afternoon, you'll likely need an extra nap in there (and less waketime after to make up for the short nap) or a very early bedtime.

      The morning method you are doing sounds just fine.

      Glad things are improving!

  38. Your blog is fabulous!! We have a 6 month old who was sleeping very well at night...but for the past few months has been waking up between 330-530. We got to a point where we just let him cry it out and he fell back asleep but now he won't do that anymore. If he wakes up at 5 he's up for the day and messes up his whole nap/eating schedule...I'm at my wits end!! We put him down for the night between 8-830 and he usually takes 2 1.5 hours naps and his third nap is 45 min around 530 or so. I try to keep his eating schedule 7-11-3-7. We thought early morning light was the problem and put up a black out curtain...but that didn't work. My husband and I are very tired in the morning because we can't get a full nights rest...any suggestions?? Thanks for your help!

    1. Sharonpak,
      I'd try moving bedtime earlier, however I makes the most sense to do that(shorten nap, shorten wartime ec).

      Consider trying wake to sleep.

      Give minimal if any attention with the early waking so the habit (or devopmental phase) isn't encouraged.

      Best of luck!

  39. Dear Rachel,
    My 8 week old has been going to bed at around 8:30pm every night, waking up once for a feeding (usually around 1:00-2:00am), goes back to sleep right away and then wake up at 5:45-6:30 am. I feed her when she wakes up in the morning and she falls back to sleep right away till 10 am. She then takes another 2 naps (usually 2-3 hours each)for the rest of the day until bedtime. My questions is, should I wake her up for the day at 6:30am instead of letting her continue to sleep so that she has a proper morning nap? She gets a bottle (3-4oz) every 3-4 hours during the day. Ideally, I would like her to sleep for 12 hours and maybe wake up at around 7:00-7:30pm. Should I be moving up her bedtime? Also, how can I get rid of the night feeding so she can sleep for 12 hours straight at night? Thanks in advance for your help!!

    1. Jo,
      I would see if you can move bedtime a bit earlier. Some kids do better with it a bit later until a few months of age but it's worth a try.
      See this post for feeding in am. I'd try to make night sleep around 12 hours (including feeds right now)

      When she gets up for the day, she may only be up for a few minute longer after a feed before she needs her morning nap.

      With night sleep, keep doing what your doing to help extend it out. At this age, things are going great if you just have one feed. She will likely extend on her own. If she doesn't you can help her do this by holding off a little every few days (offer a pacifier or something instead, making sure not to rush in, feed less at the feed every few days. Night time sleep post has a couple more ideas in the comment section that I'm not thinking of right now. Anyway, for night sleep, your best aid will be time and keeping good sleep habits.


    2. Hi Rachel,

      Thanks a lot for your suggestions. A week ago, my little one started sleeping through the night for 11-12 hours without waking up for a night feeding! When I was so excited and happy about this, she suddenly started waking up again once in the middle of the night for a feeding. My question is, how do I know if she is really hungry? Should I feed her or ignore her? Why would she be sleeping through the night and suddenly waking up to eat again? Thanks again for your help.


    3. Jo,
      It's normal to go back and forth a bit. Usually they more consistently sleep through the night with time.

  40. Hi Rachel,

    I've been having difficulty with my 11 month old and early waking. She's always been an early riser, which I'm ok with, but just not as early as she is waking. She has been waking sometime during the 5:00am hour for months. Honestly, it's been practically ever since she started sleeping through the night at about 3-4 months old. She's had some mornings where she has woken between 6:00-6:30, but that is very rare. DWT is 6:30. What I've been doing is leaving her until at least 6:15. This causes her to have a lot of waketime before her first nap. She does not wake up at all in the middle of the night, just early in the morning. She's not a great napper either. I keep a sleep log and have noticed that when she sleeps closer to DWT, she naps better (sometimes). I really feel like she's in a perpetual state of OT. I've tried early bedtime and adjusting her waketimes. She's very inconsistent. Sometimes it takes her a long time to fall asleep at night. She's averaging about 11hrs at night and 2hrs 40min of daytime sleep. Here's our schedule:

    Anywhere from 5-6:15 awake in crib
    6:15 up
    6:45 bottle (I put it off because she's not fussing to eat and I hope that feeding her later she will be used to that and if she ever starts sleeping later she won't be waking due to hunger)
    7:15 solids, followed by IP
    8:00ish begin nap routine, asleep usually by 8:15-9:35ish nap (She goes down very easily for this nap usually. she usually sleeps only 1hr 20 min. Occasionally we get 2hrs, very rare. A couple times a week we even get a 30min nap. I leave her until 10:00am so that I don't have to put her down so early for the PM nap)
    11:15 bottle
    11:30 solids followed by IP
    12:45ish begin nap routine (usually asleep by 1:00 and fights pretty hard)-2:15ish. I try to leave her for 2hrs so that bedtime doesn't have to be quite so early)
    Between 2:30-2:45 up
    3:00 small bottle and snack
    4:30ish dinner
    5:20ish bath, bottle, bed by 6:00 (I've tried earlier than 6 and she usually will sleep 12 hrs, but then it's so far from DWT she often gets OT again.

    I'm thinking her first nap needs to happen later, but she is very sensitive to becoming OT and will sleep only 30min or so if I miss her window so it's hard to push 1st nap later. I've tried feeding when she has the early wakings in the AM, but most often she won't go back to sleep. Any suggestions on how to extend her nap lengths and stop the EW? It's so exhausting for us all! I'm a teacher and currently on summer break and have been trying to "fix" this all summer! I'm getting ready to go back in a couple of weeks though and my mom will be back to watching her. On a positive note, she's generally a very happy baby even when OT!

    Sorry this is so long! Thanks!

    1. Kelly,
      I wonder if a later bedtime would help her. Maybe she doesn't do so well with sleeping longer than 11 hours most of the time. I know this is tricky because it means more overtiredness, but I wonder if it would sort of fix itself after a few days.

      Does she take a good afternoon nap when the morning nap is short, long? Some kids need to have a short afternoon nap at this age to get a good afternoon nap.

      Have you tried making the afternoon nap a bit earlier, a bit later? I wonder if either will give her a better nap.

      Increase pre-sleep routine before her afternoon nap to see if it helps.

      Increasing waketime before morning nap may or may not help. I'm not convinced it is the issue here but trying it out for a few days may give you your answer. Good luck getting things figured out with school starting. Tough situation. When my son did this it drove me crazy!


  41. Rachel, I'm desperate for some advice. My baby is almost 7 months old. I sleep trained him early, but around 6 months things fell apart anyways. He has always been a catnapper, but nothing I do seems to change that. Recently, his night sleep has gone up in smoke. For the past few weeks he has been waking been waking between 3:30 and 4 a.m. and not returning to sleep! I have tried moving his bedtime earlier (to 6:00 p.m. from 6:30 p.m.) and even later (7:00 p.m.). He doesn't cry. I know he isn't hungry--I've tried going to him to try to nurse him back to sleep. It doesn't help. He just lays in his crib until 5:30 a.m., and then starts crying. I feed him but then he is ready to start the day.

    Between his short naps and poor night sleep, he is exhausted. I am sincerely worried about him. He has huge circles under his eyes and it is difficult for him to make it through the day. PLEASE advise.

    1. Unknown,
      It's so hard when our little ones are suffering and you don't know what to do to help them or they resist the help!

      Consider a wonder week depending on due date

      Maybe teeth are an issue?

      Is room temperature ok?

      I'm inclined to think, given what you've said, that this is something that will go away on its own and is a phase. Maybe he's learning to move more or make sounds.

      Make sure the last nap of the day isn't too late.

      Consider trying wake to sleep.

      Sorry I'm not more help!

  42. Hello-

    I am looking for help with my two year old son. He has always been a good sleeper but for the last two and a half weeks he has been getting up between 2:30 and 3:00 every morning and will not go back to sleep unless we are holding him in the recliner or laying on the couch. He goes to bed about 7:30-8:00 pm and has thirty to sixty minute nap in the afternoon. We have so many sleepless nights now and cannot figure out why. We have covered hungry, light, nightmares, noises, and are at a lost

    1. He has also been taken to the doctor to check ears and been given pain mess to help and growing pains. It still didn't help.

      Please any ideas?


    2. If he's waking at the same time it probably isn't a night terror etc and is more of a habit. So you'll need to help him break the habit. Try decreasing your time with him and certainly try not to stay until he falls completely asleep. Try to keep him in his own bed as much as possible and have him fall asleep there. I don't know why it started and it doesn't matter too much why with this to fix the issue (assuming you've ruled out issues which you have).

  43. Hi Rachel,

    My 15 week old baby has been consistently sleeping through the night for a couple of weeks now. She goes to bed between 7:30pm-8:00pm and wakes up between 7:00am-7:30am. However, for the past couple of nights, she started waking up at around 6 am. I tried not to go in and wake her up to see if she will go back to sleep on her own but she starts to fuss and cry after 15 minutes. I thought she might be hungry but when I feed her she doesn't take a full feeding and she will go back down for a nap after 1.5-2 hours. Is there a reason for the sudden early wake up time? How can I shift the time back to 7:00am-7:30am as before?


  44. Hi, my 6 MO has been waking early (5-630) for at least a few weeks. He's not in a WW, it's not light outside, he's not cold or hot, he's not started solids (going to try this weekend), and it's the only sleep he wakes happy from (so he's also not uncomfortable). He's ready to start the day and doesn't cry until approx 20 mins after waking. He can handle a 2 hour WT so here's our schedule:

    7 DWT, nurse
    830 nap
    1030 wake, nurse
    1230 nap
    230 wake, nurse
    430 nap
    530 wake, nurse
    700 bedtime routine, nurse
    730 bed
    **wakes some random time in the middle of the night, eats, goes straight back to sleep

    Do you think I should try shortening a nap in case he's getting too much day sleep? If so should I shorten the 3rd? Or should I put him to bed later? Or should I do something else?

    Sorry to bother you but I'm at a loss. Oh and my husband isn't into CIO except maybe 10 minutes. Also, he still sleeps in our room as he is on oxygen with a monitor that alarms fairly frequently. I could try putting him in his own room if you think that might help. He is easily startled.

  45. Since my last post he started waking more and more at night (crying). For the last 3 days he's done 930p, 1230a, 330a, and then another time before starting the day. This mornign it was at 5a and he was talking to himself. I thought he was hungry at first but last night he didn't eat much. I don't know what's causing it and I'm so tired. I tried a fan for noise, it's already dark, I don't think he's hot or cold, and I don't think he's in pain. Help!

    1. Ariana,
      With all the wakings, it definitely may help if he is in another room. But that can be tough with the oxygen. You could always try putting up a sheet or something between you two so it seems like he is in his own room. Might help.

      WIth the morning waking, if you can't find something wrong after problem solving, I sometimes try wake to sleep. If that doesn't help, then I usually try to leave baby if possible. Once you get him up or feed etc, you are getting him into the habit or waking then. Sometimes, if you can go in and put baby back to sleep right away it can help get rid of the waking, but it can also end up backfiring.

      With the night wakings, it is suspicious when they start to happen more and more AND you respond. It often means (after evaluating other possibilities first of course) that you are reinforcing the waking habit. So I'd work on that if it is the case. It can also be an age thing. Sometimes babies will wake at night for a while and chat as it mentions above and there isn't much you can do about it. Naps seem ok, but you could try shortening a bit to see if it makes a difference. Doesn't hurt to try it out.

  46. Hi Rachel, I sure hope you can offer some advice. LO is close to 10 months old and we have been sleep training for the past month and a half. We started out with Ferber method, seemed to work for the first few days and went downhill from then on. LO is back to the same habits of waking every few hours and crying at bedtime was maxing out at 1.5 hours. So we started CIO extinction 2 weeks ago. He is finally going down without even a peep for bedtime. We started out at 7 pm and now we just can't seem to get him to stay up past 610pm. Naps are nonexisitent unless I nurse him to bed. Naps are about 20-45min for me. Unless dad is home (weekends), then he can sleep anywhere from 1-2 hours for 2 naps. About every 2 out of 3 days he wakes at early at 430 am screaming. We usually let him cry till 6am. Lately he has been hysterical and I feel like this won't end if I don't try a different method than CIO. At this point he is waking completely overtired and staying up till 8-9am. I know this has a lot to do with his naps being inconsistent but is there any thing I should be doing instead of letting him cry till 6am in his crib? It's pretty dark in his room till about 7am, with just a nightlight. He have a sound machine that runs continuously through the night.

  47. Hi Rachel,
    My almost 6-month old has been sleep training for the past month. He's doing great overall (wakes 7, naps 9-10:30, 1-2:30 and an occasional catnap around 4:30 or 5:00 if he needs it. He wakes up at 4:30 or 5 EVERY morning and plays in his crib until pretty much 6 on the dot, then goes back down til 7. He might cry for a minute or two before falling back asleep, but he's generally just babbling. I've ruled out hunger, pain, cold etc. He is trying very hard to crawl right now as well.I'm hoping this is a phase?


    1. Courtney,
      It isikely a phase, but sometimes it is caused by too much day time sleep. You could decrease it a little for a l few days and see if it helps


    2. Thanks Rachel. I have tried this, but during the day he is always tired (can't even make it 2 hours) so limiting him to what he's getting now is a stretch sometimes). He's always cranky at the start of the day from waking early, and again by 5pm.

    3. Courtney,
      Then I'd either wait it out and try to give as little attention in the early am and make sure the sleep environment is good, or try extending one waketime at a time during the day by like 5 minutes at a time. Some kids don't do this very naturally and it can cause issues unless you help them out a bit. They can be cranky for a few days but they soon get used to it. If they don't, then go back to how it was before.

  48. Hello, I am rather desperate for your help!

    My son is 7 months and for 3 months has been waking around 4-5am and not going back to sleep making him very grumpy! He is not fed overnight but I have tried feeding him and he is not waking due to hunger. He goes to bed at 7 and we have tried moving it to 6/6.30/7.30 but it doesn't make a difference.

    He has 2-3 naps a day 9-10, 12.30-2 and occasionally 4-4.30/5 however this nap is starting to be dropped. It doesn't seem to make a difference what happens with his naps, he still wakes. He is in a darkens room and can't see what is waking him.

    It is now, after 3 months, having a major effect on all of us and we are shattered! Do you have any ideas?? We are desperate!


  49. Sorry all, I just realized it wasn't allowing comments. I have just updated it so it should work for you commenters now!

  50. When I went back to work at 12 weeks, I added a nursing session in the morning before work. My LO was going to bed around 7:30 or 8 pm and waking around 7:30 am. In order to minimize time spent on the bottle and maximize breastfeeds, I began dreamfeeding before work at 5 am, and he would then sleep until around 9 am. He began to wake occasionally during these feeds, and now (at 18.5 weeks) is waking a half an hour to an hour too early for these morning feeds! Any tips on how to undo this? I am away for 11 hours on workdays and I do not want his only nursing session to be 1-2 sessions in the evening, so this morning session is very important to us; but so is my last hour of sleep! (Also, I am afraid he is going to continue to wake earlier and earlier.) It is also strange because if he's asleep when I feed him he usually finishes both breasts but if he wakes himself he won't finish more than half of one. I keep the room quiet and dark and interact with him very minimally during these morning feeds...

    1. Jodi,
      Hmmm, this is a bit complicated. I would normally say to get rid of the feed to help fix the problem but it isn't really possible. This issue happens sometimes with dream feeds and adjusting the feeding time or getting rid of the time often helps. Sometimes you have to work with a certain situation which will only give you ok results, but you have to be ok with that. I would try to move the morning wake time closer to 12 hours from bedtime. sometimes this helps with some night wakings. Right now I'm not really thinking of something else to help him not wake earlier than 5 am, I'm thinking of a couple things like leaving him alone until 5 am no matter what but I'm not very confident they'll be very helpful. This feed may be a bit confusing to him. It may seem like a morning feed because it's so close to the morning. It maybe seem like a night feed that he is waking for at inconsistent times (which many babies will do--other will be very consistent with these times). I wonder if waking him like an hour earlier to feed him then you sleep a bit longer after that would fix the issue. Not really fix it, but be the least bad solution :)


  51. I have 9.5 month old twins (almost 8 months corrected- which their sleep is going according to) and they have started waking up between 5:30-5:40am which is throwing off their whole day!! They don't cry when they wake up, just kind of play in bed/rest until I go into them to feed them when they start crying and complaining (usually between 6:15-6:30am).
    This is throwing off their whole napping schedule, since they are going in for their first nap usually between 8-8:15am when I see signs that they are getting tired, before they get overtired (trying to push them as far as possible). The problem is, they are not taking consistent good naps.
    They are therefore on an inconsistent schedule and going to sleep by between 5:45-6:30pm (between 2-2.5 hours after their third nap).
    I don't know what to do and was hoping for some advice!!
    They sleep in the same room and don't wake each other up from crying...

  52. I echo the praise for your site, thank you! My baby is 11 months and I have a few questions. We did CIO at 6 months and She generally sleeps through the night. Now we are working on CIO for naps because she naps with the sitter but not with me (the sitter rocks her to sleep and she sleeps well with her). In terms of naps, question: do I let her CIO if she takes a short nap? Also, in terms of morning wake up, she tends to wake up early (5:30 - 6:30) and is cranky! We are doing the no nursing/no picking up at night, but that is so close to her "goal" wake time of 6:30 that I'm unsure - question: should I try and soothe her back to sleep or just nurse her? Also, I still nurse her to sleep as the last step of her sleep routine, but she actually sleeps through the night after that. Is that going to be a problem later on when I stop nursing her? Thanks!!!

  53. Hi Rachel,

    I have a problem lasting 2 weeks now, my baby is 13 months old is waking at 4;40 am approx. Prior to this was sleeping 7:30pm till 6:30am approx, has two day naps, one around 8:30/9am and the other around 1:30pm, we wake her by 3:30. Has only slept through the night as of approx 3 months before that was waking 2-3 times, not sure why, she ended up stopping pretty much randomly. When she wakes we shush pat her and she will lie still and semi-doze but if we leave the room will cry. This can last for over I hr and then sometimes after that she seems to get tired and goes back to sleep but more likely she is up for the day from about 5am. She seems awake and wants to get out of bed. I think the problem may be the morning nap being to early?? Also my partner doesn't open the curtains first thing and usually puts her down at the first sign of tiredness so he can go back to bed ha:) (I'm at work). I was hoping you could let me know if shifting the first nap later is a good start? She has a good bedtime routine and has always had a routine of sorts with familiar cues for sleep since birth. Her room is completely black, no light comes in at all and it's pretty quiet where we are. I have sometimes put her in bed with me and breastfeed trying to make her fall asleep, have done this a few times but she has never slept so I"m pretty sure she's not actually tired. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks for a great blog

    1. I am having a very similar problem with my almost 13 month old as well. he had been sleeping from 7-7 since 6 months. we actually start putting him down at about 6:15 when he starts displaying a lot of sleep cues, and I figure he actually falls asleep by 7pm. All the sudden 3 weeks ago he started waking up earlier and earlier every day. 6:45, 6:30, 6:15, 6:00, 5:45.... the days are getting longer since it is June and so I am not sure if it is the light that is waking him up (we do have blackout curtains though so it is still pretty dark) or if he is going through a phase? He also naps pretty early in the morning at around 8:30 for anywhere between 1.5-2.5 hours. similar to Shanelle I am wondering if maybe that morning nap is too long or too early now that he is getting older? He seems really tired and ready to sleep by that nap though. It's so hard to figure out whether it's a phase and I should just wait it out, or whether to try switching up his schedule during the day! I would be so appreciative to hear any advice you have for Shanelle or myself!!
      Thank you

  54. Hi Rachael is this still a live thread?

    I'm having trouble with my 12 week old baby girl! Shes waking at 1,3 and 5am! She's been doing this past week or so now..there were times when she was sleeping till 7-430am! She's useless at sleeping in her cot in the day. I have to take her out in the pram or car for her to have sleeps. She's very difficult for me to put down for a sleep in the day. Is this why she is waking in the night? I have been BF when she wakes at 1,3...have I created a habit of weakening?

    I make sure she's bathed at 545 and start to feed 6-7 and she's normally asleep for around that time. I sometimes dream feed her depending if she's restless come 10/11pm..sometimes I don't benefit from
    Dream feeding as she still wakes at 1am..regardless if I fed her at 10/11pm
    Shall I be trying to get her to sleep without feeding her in the night?
    Any tips to try and get her to sleep during the day in her room?

    Thank you!

  55. Hi Rachel,
    I've been learning a lot from your site. Thank you for all the useful info!

    Have read this post a few times, but still can't q figure out how to solve my 6+ month old baby's early wakening. We started cio with him a week ago. At first, it seemed to be going well. He was sleeping from 8 or 9pm to about 6 to 7am. However, after 3 days, he keeps waking up at 4 to 5am. Often, he'll cry, stop and then play for 40-60minutes before he starts crying again. Usually that will be around 6+am and we'll let him wake up to start the day. But he is clearly tired. He will look rather stoned but at the same time, he just can't seem to soothe himself back to sleep. We'll usually put him down for his first nap earlier so he doesn't get too tired.

    I'm quite confused and stressed about what to do as his total sleep seems to be decreasing and while I don't want to waste his 8 days of cio efforts, I feel that his early wake up time is unsustainable. Would really appreciate if you can offer me some insights on the following:
    1) he is still napping ok. Between 3-5 hours in the day but because he's up so much earlier, his bedtime sleep is between 7-9 hours. Is over fatigue causing him to wake up early? But when I put him down for bedtime earlier, he just cries longer...
    2) he has been doing 1-2hour naps. But he has woken up after 40-50 minutes for one nap on day 7 and 8 respectively. I've resorted to extending his naps with carrying and patting when he wakes up on the 8th day, to make sure he is getting sufficient sleep. This is to fit in with the sleep begets sleep principle u mentioned. But is this inconsistency a bad thing? (Vs consistent cio for naps and bedtime)
    3) I nursed him on the 8th morning when he woke up at 5am. Though he fell asleep at the boob, he woke up once I put him down. I tried this 2-3 times and eventually when I put him down in the cot at 6, he woke up for good. If I try bringing him to our bed to nurse in the hopes Tt he can sleep after nursing, is this again inconsistent? Will it waste all the cio?
    4) how do we measure success of cio? He was crying only a few minutes before naps and bedtime for a few days, but he'll also hav naps and bedtimes where he'll also cry for 30-50minutes, such as on the 6th and 8th night.Is this the extinction burst? Will it ever come to a pt where he'll consistently only cry a few minutes or not at all? Facing him cry so often 8 days in a row is quite distressing. I feel he has made progress, in that he can self soothe to sleep. So should I continue cio and hope things get better? If I were to modify the cio, like I have done on the 8th day, am I confusing him instead?

    Thanks much in advance for your help! Really appreciate some guidance!!

  56. I'm at wits end with my 14 month old 4:30am riser. 😳 We have: blackout shades, noise machine, good temp in room, 6:30 bedtime...we have tried earlier or later bedtime and he still wakes then. I usually don't try to go in till 5:30 at the earliest. If it's 5:am or earlier I will give him a little to eat and lay him back down. Ugh. My husband and I are soooo tired.

    He had two naps, usually 1-1.5 hours. Sometimes he will sleep till 5:45 but rarely, which makes his 9 and 1pm naps fit very well! But that isn't the norm lately.

    I know you prob get this problem all the time, but any advice??

  57. Hii my almost 6 month old has been waking up at 5:30am for the past month. How can I get her to wake up later?

    She used to wake up between 6:30-730am.
    She goes to bed for the night arund 7pm with no night feedings and thank god sleeps through the night.

    She recently got two teeth so I am not sure if this might be part of the reason.

    When she wakes up at 5:30 am she plays and talks for 30-60 min and I don't feed her till arund 6:30-7 depends when she starts crying.
    Nap1- around 7/730 for 30-40 min
    Nap 2- around 9:30/10 for 40 min
    Nap 3 around 12/1 for 40-1 hour
    Nap 4 around 4 for 45 min

    I am not sure if she's not getting enough sleep during the day but I need her to wake up a little later! Any advice?

  58. Hi Rachel,

    I really do hope you could give me some advice :) I feel like I'm going nuts. My son (9 months and 2 weeks now) has been waking up at 5am sharp for the last couple of weeks. He goes to sleep at 7 am and usually falls asleep on his own. Before, he used to wake up at around 6-6:30 which I was ok with. He usually lasts about 2hrs30min- 2hrs45mins depending on the time of the day. For few months he was on 3 naps schedule but few weeks ago there was not enough time for the last nap- I found out that sleeping past 4:10pm disrupts his bedtime. He falls asleep independently, usually sleeps for about 1hr10mins but it does vary from 50 min to 1hr 30min. When we were trying to transition to two naps a day his last nap was done at 2pm and he would not cat nap later so did not sleep for 5 hours. At the moment he is on 3 naps a day as he wakes up so early there is plenty of time for three naps. He does not want to have a dream feed and it simply does not work for him- he only takes 100ml at 11pm and still wakes up at 5am. I do feed him with minimum fuss at 5 but then he goes back to his bed where he plays and occasionally winge. His room is dark, we use white noise and dummy but he is able to put it back on his own. Is it habitual waking? What should I try? I'm really clueless. I know that he should be on 2 naps a day but with 5 am it's not doable. His total day sleep now is around 2hrs30min. When he was on 2 naps only it was only around 2hrs. He suffers from silent reflux and is on Meds for it that seems to work well. Also is teething but does not seem to be in pain in the morning.
    At the moment he wakes up at 5am, we get him out of bed at around 6:15am, eats, plays, naps at 8am- 9:15am. Then plays, eats etc and goes down for another nap at around 12pm, usually sleeps for about 50min- 1hr. He then again eats, plays and goes down for last nap at around 3:30-3:45pm, this nap is shorter and not longer than 40min. Goes to bed at 7pm. What do you suggest Rachel? He is on 3 solids a day plus plenty of milk. Seems hungry at 5am.

    I would REALLY appreciate if you could give me some advice