Ready to welcome the bundle of joy in your life? A word of advice- parenthood will be one of the most rewarding yet frustrating phases of your life. You’re always tired and cranky. The numerous diaper changes, lullabies and sleepless nights- it is one hell of a rollercoaster! All this can take a toll on your mental health and adversely affect your young one’s body clock. Does your baby wake up at ungodly hours as well? Taking care of a baby is no child’s play. Check out these tips if your baby rises with the sun and then refuses to get back to sleep.
How early is too early?
So, your child is a nearly bird? Shouldn’t that be a good thing? Not really, if your baby wakes up at 4 in the morning. Infants 6 months and younger usually have a very drastic sleep schedule. Most babies are light sleepers and would wake up to the slightest of disturbances. Some kids are also notoriously early risers.
Ideally, you should be sending your kids to bed by eight and have them up and fresh by 7 in the morning. Any time before 6 or 7 in the morning is too early for waking up. Also, sleeping in late can be a problem as it makes them sluggish and cranky all day.
Why does my baby wake up so early?
Babies spend most of their time sleeping, usually about 15 hours a day. 10-11 hours of uninterrupted sleep in the night, followed by 3-4 hours of daytime naps are healthy for infants. There are two main reasons why your kids are not getting enough sleep. Either they are not tired enough to go to bed, or they are overtired.
As parents, you need to pay attention to your child’s activities and daily routine. Look at how they are spending their time. If your child is slightly older, ensure that they get enough physical and mental exercise. For infants, you need to monitor their nap schedule during the day. Here are some other reasons why babies might be rising early:
Teething is a condition when the baby develops its first set of milk teeth. In this phase, the infant might experience some pain, mild bouts of fever, diarrhea and increased sleep regression. A particularly painful teething process can mess up the sleep schedule. You might need to book an appointment with a pediatrician.
Sleep regression is more prevalent than you think. The kid wakes up frequently during the night and compensates for the lost sleep in the day. The condition can lead to morning fatigue, sleeping disorders or other issues. Young babies aged 4-6 months are more susceptible to lapses in their sleep cycle.
Another probable reason why your child is waking up early might be an illness. Consult a doctor if your child is overweight, has breathing issues, or snores. There might be a chance of sleep apnea that can get dangerous if left untreated for long.
Effective sleep strategies
Many mothers have to get back to their jobs after the baby is born. It can get very exhausting to balance personal and professional commitments. Check out these tips, curated for working mothers wanting to restart their careers after maternity leave.
Keep the sun away
Usually, we tend to associate darkness with sleep and resting. This holds for children as well. Close the curtains, shut those blinds and keep the room dark and cozy. Even the slightest of light can disturb your young one’s sleep. Also, let them snuggle in or laze around in bed for an hour before you begin your day. Most children are not entirely awake, but in the zone between sleep and wakefulness in the early hours.
Keep it quiet
The bedroom should be soft, comfortable and cozy. Dispel all the possible distractions from the room to create a sleep-friendly space. This means shutting down the alarm, removing the television and keeping your phones on silent. Refrain from creating a ruckus in the bedroom. Also, if your child is older, consider giving them their separate room. This would inculcate a sense of independence. Reduce their dependence on the pacifier as they grow.
Regulate the bedtime
Over fatigue can mess up the bedtime. Kids wake up early because they haven’t had a restful sleep at night. Ensure that they are not overly exhausted when they hit the bed. Ideally, the best time for your child to sleep is in the first half of the night. This is when the body can soak up on the REM sleep. Push their bedtime to an hour or so if need be.
Also, monitor the bedtime routine of your baby. Is the diaper clean and fresh? Has the baby been fed? Sometimes, giving the child a warm bath before bed might also work. Invest in products that would keep the baby warm and comfortable. Bassinets, cribs, baby monitor, plush onesies, pacifiers are some fantastic products to help babies sleep better.
Have a nap schedule
The younger your child is, the more sleep they need. Schedule ample daytime naps as well, so that they are not overtired. 3-4 hours of nap time is more than enough for the baby. The rest of the time should be devoted to playing, interaction with the family, feeding, cleaning and other activities. Also, maintain a gentle waking up routine. Don’t try to rush your kid through the morning. Keep the wee hours of the morning passive and uneventful.
The bottom line
Give your baby some time; they will eventually adjust their biological clock. Some children are naturally early risers and might feel comfortable waking up quickly. Don’t pressurize them a lot to alter their sleep cycle. If your child is a morning person, encourage them to exercise, or meditate. This would only give them the much-needed boost to kick start their day.
Mary Jones is the co-founder & editor-in-chief at TopMyGrades, which focuses on Content Marketing Strategy for clients from the Education industry in the US, Canada & UK. Mary has conducted a series of webinars for AssignmentEssayHelp as assignment expert. She has extensive content editing experience and has worked with MSNBC, NewsCred & Scripted. She has also authored blogs on Lifehack.org, Wn.com, Medium.com, Minds.com and many more digital publications.
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