Bedtime Routines

Baby Waking Up Too Early? Here's Why & How to Fix It

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This guide explores reasons behind early wake-ups and offers gentle strategies to nudge their sleep schedule towards a later, more peaceful start to the day.

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Does your child begin to chirp like a robin long before the sun appears on the horizon? You're not alone! 

Early risers are standard in parenthood, and they might leave you exhausted and needing a good night's rest. But do not worry, tired parent! 

Consider establishing a morning routine for kids to help set a positive tone for the day.

What is "too early" for a baby to wake up?

The answer to this question is only sometimes applicable because your baby's specific demands and age will determine how much sleep they require. Here's a general rule, though, to help you deal with those early wake-up calls:

  • Newborns (0-3 months): These little sleep machines can often rack up 16-18 hours of sleep in 24 hours.
  • Infants (4-12 months): Sleep patterns become more consolidated, with most babies needing around 12-15 hours of sleep. 
  • Toddlers (1-3 years): typically require 11-14 hours of sleep. 

Is Your Toddler an Early Bird? read our article "Is Your Toddler Waking Up Too Early? Here's What To Do"

“From around 24 months, most toddlers are waking between 7am and 8am.”
💡National Childbirth Trust

Why is my baby waking up so early?

The realm of infant sleep can seem like a lovely enigma, and parents frequently struggle with the mystery of their infants waking up early. Here's a look at a few possible explanations for your child's cocky behavior:

While there isn't a magic number for "too early," the following indications suggest that your baby's early morning awakenings may be hurting their general sleep and the routine for your family:

  • Excessive fussiness🔎: If your baby wakes up crying and seems challenging to soothe back to sleep, it might be a sign that he or she is not ready for the day yet.
  • Difficulty falling back asleep🛏: Does your routine of rocking or feeding no longer entice them back to dreamland? This could indicate they need to get more shut-eye.
  • Changes in sleep patterns⏰: Have previously predictable sleep patterns become erratic, with earlier wake-ups and shorter naps? This might be a clue that something needs adjustment.
  • Hunger🍕:  This is big, especially for younger babies. They might not sleep through the night yet and must be fed during the wee hours.
  • Light exposure💡: Even a sliver of sunlight peeking in can disrupt a baby's internal clock and signal that it's time to wake up.
  • Overtiredness😪: A frequently disregarded factor! An overtired baby wakes up early even if they need more sleep overall. An erratic bedtime or excessive wakefulness can cause this before bed.

What to do when your child wakes up too early?

The entire family's routine may be upset by early risers, but don't give up! The following techniques will help you gradually encourage your kid to wake up later:

1. Establish a consistent bedtime routine

Your infant will learn to wind down from a consistent bedtime routine. A soothing massage, a warm bath, soft music, and a tale could all be part of this.

 For optimal results, try to stick to the same schedule each night. We have stories, affirmations, meditations, and more in our StoryBook app.

2. Choose a bedtime that works for your child

Pick a bedtime that works for your child's age and your family's schedule. Stick to this time as much as possible, even on weekends, to help regulate their sleep cycle.

If you need more valuable information, check this blog: bedtimes by age In StoryBook we have all the guides you need:

3. Create a relaxing environment

Dim the lights about 30 minutes before bedtime. This helps to lower melatonin production, a hormone that signals sleepiness.

"Always stay constant in the establishment of a sleep routine, in an environment of calm and tranquility, attending to the needs of the baby, especially feeding."
💡Dra. Lorena Koppel

4. Include stories with massage 

Reading a calming bedtime story in our StoryBook app, can be a lovely way to bond with your child and promote relaxation. 

It's crucial to talk to your pediatrician about whether sleep training techniques like the "cry it out" method are appropriate for your baby's age and temperament.

5. Put on some cool white noise sounds 

White noise machines can be a lifesaver, especially for babies and toddlers easily disturbed by outside sounds. The steady, neutral sound can mask disruptive noises and create a more peaceful sleep environment.

Consistency is key, so aim for the same routine every night.

6. Use calming techniques for early wakings

If your baby wakes up early, resist jumping in immediately. Try calming techniques like shushing, patting, or offering a pacifier. 

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7. Adjust nap times

Naps play a crucial role in regulating sleep cycles. If your baby is waking up early, try incrementally pushing back their morning nap by 15-30 minutes. This can help them feel sleepier later in the morning.

Check our blog, you'll be impressed: how to extend baby naps

8. Expose to natural light

Although your child needs darkness to sleep at night, exposing them to natural light during the day can help normalize their circadian cycle. 

9. Address hunger before bed

A hungry baby is a wakeful baby. Make sure your baby is fully fed right before bedtime. This will help them feel satiated and less likely to wake up early due to hunger pangs. 

How long does it take to adjust a baby's sleep schedule?

There is no universally applicable response to this query because the duration of time required to modify a baby's sleep schedule varies depending on several factors:

  • Baby's age: Younger babies (under six months) have less developed sleep patterns and may adjust more quickly, while older babies and toddlers might take longer.
  • The severity of early rising: A slight nudge to a more reasonable wake-up time will likely happen faster than completely revamping an ingrained early bird habit.
  • Consistency of approach: Sticking to your chosen strategies consistently is key. Inconsistent routines can confuse your baby and slow down progress.

If you want to become a better parent and improve your nighttime dynamics, check out this blog: bedtime is a nightmare

“It might take anything from 3 days to 3 weeks to change baby sleep habits, depending on the approach you use and your baby’s temperament.”
💡Raising Children

Written By

Francisco Cornejo
CEO Storybook

Francisco Cornejo, a dynamic entrepreneur with a Masters in Communication from RMIT University in Australia, is the Co-Founder and CEO of Storybook. As a serial entrepreneur, he notably served as the Chief Marketing Officer at Honda Motors in Latin America, shaping the brand's regional presence. ‍ Passionate about family well-being and communication, Francisco leads Storybook in its mission to improve children's health globally, aiming to create positive impacts in both corporate and societal spheres.


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