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Sleepless in Portland

O.k. experienced mamas, someone needs your help!  Is there anything Fara can do to catch a wee bit more sleep in the morning hours?  She asks:

I have a 5 month old son who is into a great regular bedtime routine. We start with a calming warm bath, feeding, cuddling, and then he happily goes down to sleep in his own crib by around 6:45pm.  He wakes up once during the night around 2 or 3 am, nurses and goes right back to sleep.  Blissful, right?  The problem-- he then wakes up no later than 5:30am and is totally ready for the day.  I have tried putting him to bed later (although I do cherish my evenings alone with my husband) but that seems to make him wake up even EARLIER!  I also tried leaving him in his crib until 6am since he is usually just happy to lay and chatter to himself until then, but he doesnt seem to get that 5am is not wake up time.  Am I doomed to become a morning person or does anyone have any suggestions as to how to help this little guy sleep in a bit?


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Hello there -
my DS (who is now 10 mo) was doing that as well so we started doing the night time routine later so now he is in his crib by 8:00 & now sleeps in til 6:30am.

which is an achievement in iteself to sleep from 8pm to 6:30am - we are truly grateful.
Good luck!

just wanted to chime in with liz there. when my daughter was about six months we transistioned her to a crib. now, at seven months, she sleeps through the night (sometimes getting up around 12:30ish to eat but not regularly). "through the night" meaning from about 8:00 to about 8:00.
in the beginning though she was sleeping from 8:30 to about 6:30.

i had thought about/tried moving her bedtime back to around 7:00ish thinking that she needed more sleep than ten hours but apparently 10-11hr/night is the target amount for babies ages 3 mo-9mos. its only as they get closer to a year that their nights begin to stretch into 12 hour sleep patterns. so, if you want to sleep later then maybe give moving his sleep time back by about an hour another shot? when we changed her sleep routine i took two weeks off of work in order to be home with her and help her adjust at night. it took a little longer than that but it was worth every minute!

now we play it by ear with her. sometimes she is down and out by 7:30, sometimes its not until 8:45 but then, for example, she slept until 8:45 this morning!

and, just to let you know, we used to leave her in her crib like that and she would sit/lay in there for long periods of time playing and talking to herself (not that she knows any words yet but she talks up a storm just the same!) i think that does help reinforce the idea that its not time for up, active time yet. and, even if he's not sleeping, its still quiet, restful time for him.
good luck! and just think how lucky you are to have a little guy who sleeps through the night already! :-)

I agree that what probably needs to be done is move the bed time later. From the sounds of that you tried it, but it didn't work. What you probably need to do is SLOWLY move it. If bed time right now is 6:45, for the next couple days make it 7, then 7:15, then 7:30, etc. To start with, she will probably wake up early still, but as long as you don't let her over sleep at nap time, she'll start sleeping later in the morning. You just can't expect her to automatically adjust wake-up time.

Some other things to think about:
Some kids are early risers. My friends kids don't sleep past 7:30 no matter how late they stay up.
Also, is there possibly something else waking her up in the morning? A neighbor's loud truck, a rooster, light through the window, etc. Some babies are very sensitive to these things.


My little one always woke up when dad got up for work, around 5:30. Yuck! I nursed her and played briefly. After about an hour, she was down for her morning nap for at least 2 hours. She did that until around 12 months. It took me a while to figure out that I could get away with this but it was lovely once we got into that habit.

It's great to get him used to entertaining himself in bed, my 2.5 year old still does that in her big girl bed, whew! And she usually still sleeps from 6:30pm or 7pm -8am! On the days that she's awake before 8am, she stays in bed and sings and talks to herself while I finish getting ready.

Good Luck! Those morning hours are my prime sleeping time so I understand where you are coming from!

I feel for you! My son, who just turned three, always went to bed at about 7:00 but was up between 4:30-5:30 every morning! Didn't matter how we adjusted his schedule at night, he just liked to get up early. I think it's just his personality. In the summer it worked a little to get a darkening shade for his window. That usually got us another half hour or so. We just got into a morning routine of wake up EARLY, sit down in the rocker and have a sippy cup of milk and a Baby Einstein so that I could shut my eyes for just a bit longer. My daughter on the other hand gets up at 7:00 on the dot, no matter what. Honestly, I have no advice for you as I just considered it part of who they are and tried to get through it.

Good luck!

If she's not taking good daytime naps (3-4 45-90+ minute naps), 6:45 is going to be too late. We've always followed the 'sleep begets sleep' rule, where putting the kid to bed earlier gets them up later. Really works!

also, have you tried bringing him into bed with you at that point and seeing if he'll nurse back to sleep if he can stay with you? sometimes that works because they kind of pick up more on the "oh, it's still rest-time" vibe.

but i agree with the other mamas - every baby is sooo different - good luck!

I have the absolute opposite problem -- babies who'll never go to sleep at night and sleep in forever in the morning. So I tend to agree with Melanie (and I read a study that reported that, indeed, being either an early riser or a night owl is genetic -- apple's not falling far from THIS tree) that many babies just are as they are.

However, I've often found it possible to nurse Truman back to sleep when he awakes earlier than I'd like, and I've heard of many successes with the gradual bedtime change (tried it in reverse and it's not worked for me... *sigh*). Good luck! I know if my children were up that early I'd be a grumpy mama indeed.

i've got a 5 month old and i do think it's true about the more they sleep the better they sleep. my daughter was a good napper until 4 months...then she started only napping 4 30 minute naps. so we moved up her bedtime to 6:30 and she sleeps til 7-8am. you may want to track your baby's sleep schedule including naps and see how many total hours he's sleeping. good luck!

For us, bringing her into the bed for the last couple of hours of sleep really works. She'll often wake up at 5:30, I bring her into bed, she'll shake a toy for a couple of minutes and when she sees my head on the pilow, she'll fall asleep again too. I'm not sure that that will work once it starts to get light in the morning again, with all the chirping birds. But right now, I think the darkness outside helps convince her that it really is still time for bed.

Looks like you are getting a lot of advice - here is one more... My daughter was exactly the same as your son. Put her to bed at 6, 6:30, 6:45, or 9 pm and she was always up at 5:30 in the morning... I read that our babies have their own internal alarm clock and its hard to reset that. We finally resolved to put her down by 6:30pm and she would sleep until 5:30 am and we let her talk to herself until we were ready to get up at 6 or 6:30. Eventually she slept until 6:30 and we moved her bedtime back to 7pm and she would sleep 7 to 7 - she is now two and now matter what we do, she always gets up at 7am. My girlfriends all had kids that were sleeping until 8 or 9 am - such envy I had, but you have to realize that this is just your little guy's personal clock and go with it. Plus, in my experience, sleep begets sleep - i.e. moving the bedtime back, especially if you have already tried that, will not adjust their schedule, but simply insure that he gets less sleep and is more crabby during the day or naps longer during the day. Anyway, that's my two-cents - hope it helps :)

Don't worry, this will change ... for the better or worse, who knows, but babies change their habits just when you think you are going to get stuck in a pattern. I agree that letting him chatter in bed until he cries or calls for you is a good idea.

Ask Moxie. She is the queen of advice for this sort of thing.


I too love Ask Moxie - she has great info on sleep and other parent stuff!
And I feel your pain. My 11 month old is an early-to-bed early-to-rise kind of guy. And he's not much of a napper. Although I hear the "sleep begets sleep" advice all the time, it doesn't work that way for him. No matter how little or how much he's napped, he is READY to go to sleep at 6:30pm and it's not pretty if we try to push him later. He still gets up at least once a night even if all the other babies his age are sleeping 12 hours at a stretch.
If he sleeps past 6 or 6:30am I count it as a good day. And nothing I've tried has made any difference. So I just make sure to get in bed early and try to go with the flow. Otherwise, I'd go batty!

My sister just had this problem and realized the room was getting TOO LIGHT at 5am. She bought "dark out" blinds and he now sleeps until 7am, the natural wake up time for most babies that age. Give it a try!

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