Can you really fix early morning wake ups?

Or is my baby just an early riser? It’s driving me crazy. She’s up before 6, sometimes even before 5 😵‍💫 she’s happy, she’s chatty, and I try leaving her for up to an hour and she does not go back to sleep. She’s not getting 10 hours a night and she still needs 3 naps. She can get 2 if they’re contact naps but then that’s my day gone and we can’t go anywhere and I can’t get anything done. She hasn’t had a night feed in months so I haven’t tried feeding her back to sleep yet, but when she was getting ready to drop her night feed it kept getting later and later till it was around 5 and then she wouldn’t go back to sleep after it. So I don’t want to get her back in the habit. I’ve tried lengthening/shortening wake windows, earlier bedtime, later bedtime (falls asleep around 7:30), trying to lengthen naps (rarely works and when she’s awake she’s awake). Only thing we haven’t done is sleep training but I tried it with naps and I couldn’t take the screaming. It’s either 5 mins of rocking a calm, happy baby or making her scream herself to sleep so I personally don’t think it’s worth it. But I’m starting to think that’s the only option. She links her sleep cycles overnight and just did this on her own. So maybe I need to be more patient and let her figure herself out. I just want her to nap for longer than 30 mins and wake up after 6!!! 😂 it seems like everyone else’s baby is sleeping 7-7 and napping for 1+ hours in their cot and I feel like I’m doing something wrong.
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7-7 is unrealistic for most babies. If baby is waking happy it sounds like they’ve met their sleep needs in 24 hours and are ready for the day. Once a baby has met their total sleep needs they won’t go back to sleep. There’s a good chance they need to transition to 2 naps to get more sleep overnight at this age and if that requires a contact nap to get 1 long nap in that’s what I’d do. Could you use a sling so you can still get things done? Night feeds aren’t a habit - a lot of babies still require them at this age as all night is too long to go without milk. If you’ve tried playing with bedtimes etc I personally would try feeding baby and if that doesn’t work I’d try dropping that 3rd nap but there’s also a chance you just have an early riser especially if they’re sleeping 730-5 that’s an excellent stretch of sleep at this age to be honest

I’ve tried everything too and it’s still hit and miss but dropping the afternoon nap definitely helped. A friend also recommended leaving muslins in their cot overnight for comfort. Did this a couple of times and it seemed to coincide with longer sleeps. The other thing I’ve tried is waking him at say 4.45 so he stirs but doesn’t fully wake, then he starts a new sleep cycle and sleeps a bit longer. Hope helpful, let me know if you get any more advice as even with the above he woke up at 5am today!

@Becci solidarity 😅 the trouble is she doesn’t nap for longer than 30 minutes in her cot 99% of the time. She’ll go for longer in her car seat or when held but I’m not paying for the petrol of driving her around for hours every day 😂 so I’m not sure how to drop her third nap if she wakes early and has woken from her second nap around 12/1. Then I’ll have to put her to bed at 5 and she’ll be awake at 2 or 3! 😂 we also did two naps yesterday but I held her and she still woke early

It will take longer than 1 day of doing something to see any real difference in sleep with naps/ schedule changes. Sometimes it can take a few weeks to see real changes. To lengthen cot naps have you tried rocking back to sleep at 25 mins? My baby only contact napped until he was around 4 months old and during the transition I’d have to help him back to sleep then lay him back down to extend the nap or sometimes do the second half of the nap as a contact nap but he eventually went from 30 min naps to up to 2.5 hours but it’s a process and you have to be patient with it x

@Yasmin trying to lengthen naps only works sometimes. If she wakes up upset then it’s 50/50 but if she wakes happy then she’s just up 😵‍💫 right now she’s been awake for over 3 hours and I’m letting her get her wiggles out before trying to rock her and she’s just in her cot blowing raspberries 😂 so I don’t know if she’s overtired or undertired but she was not interested in napping when she “should” have been. It’s all so tricky to know what’s going on!

Hmmm sounds like youve tried everything! Also read somewhere that if you do the morning nap to early after waking it can mess up the night time sleep. Do you tape the blackout blinds to the wall so no light gets in? They do good temporary ones for £7 at dunelm that are paper so you can seal up the window completely. No idea if any of this is useful. Sorry it’s so tough!

@Becci I’ll have to look into those! We have blackout panels that stick to the windows but a bit of light still gets in 🫠 the top window in her room is so tall I can’t ever take the blackout film off it 😂 I’m just not a morning person and it frustrates me that she’s a low sleep needs baby I guess! 😂

Night feeds absolutely can be habit if they are waking and you are feeding back to sleep. Have you tried a dream feed where they don’t wake so it won’t become habit. Generally, around 6 months babies don’t need a feed over night but obviously that’s different with every baby.

What’s her average sleep over 24 hours?

@Laura she hasn’t needed a feed overnight since about 5 mos: they just kept getting later and later and then she stopped wanting to go back to sleep 😂 she averages about 11.5 hours over 24 and is perfectly happy. It’s just me being concerned that she’s not getting enough! But she’s growing and eating so well and meeting all her milestones 🤷🏻‍♀️ it might be time to bulk out her meals more or add another maybe.

When my little girl started doing 5am wakes I read to make sure their afternoon nap is longer than their morning nap - I also extended all her wakes windows. I appreciate easier said than done when you say she does short naps generally! But since we’ve switched up her 2 naps we’re on a 6.30 wake for the day (our little girl doesn’t sleep through the night though and is currently in a regression 🫠)

11.5 is on the lower side but if she’s happy then that’s fine! Sounds like everything is all okay xx

Sometimes they say to do later first nap and cut it short for a few days

@Lyndsey oh bless! I hope she’s through it soon! Mine’s naps are starting to get longer with some help: she’d never let me lengthen them before but has managed to get to nearly 1.5 hours for her first one the last few days (with resettling). It’s trickier to get the afternoon one longer at the minute and she’ll always wake at 2 no matter what so needs a Power Nap to get her through the day so she’s not going to bed at 6 😅 we’ve had a few days where she refused the third and she just got up earlier the next day having gone down earlier 🫠

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