RD, LDN, CBS
Certified in Maternal and Infant Nutrition from Cornell, Angela’s mission is to help people reach their wellness goals. She also helps run a program that teaches pregnant women about how a healthy lifestyle optimizes prenatal and postnatal care.
A baby age 4-12 months requires 10.5-12 hours of sleep a night, on average. In the early morning hours, however, babies often experience a lighter sleep in their natural sleep pattern. This means your baby is likely to become fully awake and may not be able to fall back asleep early in the morning.
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Your baby’s sleep environment could be exacerbating the problem. An optimal sleep environment is one of the foundations for healthy sleep, especially for babies, and is hugely important to help your little one sleep through the night.
Your baby’s hunger cues may also be causing her early morning wake-ups, as it is natural for many babies to need to eat in the early morning hours. If your baby is waking very early to eat but appears happy, content and well-rested, read on to learn how to delay her cues for hunger and sleep longer.
Create an optimal sleep environment – a cool, dark, quiet safe space
Give your baby every advantage to sleep well at night and through the morning by providing the following:
Delay hunger or feeding cues
If your baby is waking to eat and isn’t going back to sleep, two courses of action may be appropriate:
Enter nighttime mode
You cannot make your baby sleep, but you can signal through your body language that it is still time to sleep. When your baby wakes in the early morning hours, respond to her as necessary, but interact with her as if it’s the middle of the night.
Avoiding playful interactions will make it clear to your baby that it’s still sleep time. So be sure to use a very quiet calm voice, just as you would if it was the middle of the night. Keeping the environment dark will also help.
“Sleep” American Academy of Pediatrics date accessed 18 July 2018