My 14-Month-Old Wakes Up Too Early — How to Fix Early Rising

  • 0
  • September 18, 2012

wakes up too early

Hi there! Today I’m going to answer Kathleen’s e-mail question about her son who wakes up too early. She wrote in and said the following:

“My fourteen-month old wakes up at 5 a.m. He’s always had this early wake up time. I’ve tried changing his bedtime but he still wakes up at 5 a.m. or 5:30a.m. on a late day. He wakes up and he wants milk and there’s nothing I can do to calm him down to get him back to sleep unless I give him milk. Do you have any suggestions to get him to wake up a little bit later? His bedtime is usually 7 p.m. and he still takes two naps a day. Please help me with this baby sleep problem.”

Kathleen, first of all, good for you, you’re doing some great things. He’s going to bed at 7:00 p.m. which is about the right time for his age.  He’s still taking two naps. I am so glad to hear that you haven’t tried to reduce his naps in order to help him with the early rising because that doesn’t work.

I am not sure what is happening at bedtime, but make sure that before bedtime he’s not having a milk cup in your lap with a book and getting nice and cozy and drowsy. Then there is not much of a protest at bedtime — in other words he is too drowsy — so he goes right to sleep and wakes up at 5 a.m. This is really common.

RELATED: Drowsy But Awake — The Cornerstone of Successful Sleep Training

Why Your Baby Wakes Up Too Early:

– Too late of a bedtime, which doesn’t sound like your issue

– Nap deprivation, I don’t know how long his two naps are — he needs about 2.5 hours total in those two naps

– Too big of a wakeful window between afternoon nap and bedtime — I wouldn’t go over four hours at his age

– Going to bed too drowsy which may be an issue with your son

No Milk in the Bedroom

I would encourage you to remove milk from the bedtime routine. You might need to do it gradually or go right to a sippy cup of water. I’m not sure if the milk you’re giving him is in a cup or bottle. Either way, I want you to remove milk from the bedtime routine. It might take you a week to do that but you want to preserve his teeth. You also want him to learn how to get in to a drowsy state without sucking to sleep whether it’s from a cup or a bottle.

I know that might not be easy, but it will help improve the 5 a.m. waking. When he wakes at 5 a.m. go in and remind him that there is no milk during the night. I would make a rule that you don’t have milk in the bedroom during this process to avoid any confusion.

Use the Shuffle When He Wakes Up Too Early

You need to treat the 5 a.m. waking like a night awakening as if he were wanting you to rock him to sleep. You can do the Shuffle at his 5 a.m. waking or timed checks — whatever you feel most comfortable with.

What I don’t want you to do is to give in and go get a milk cup for him because you will train him to get hysterical until you finally give in and get the milk cup. I realize out of desperation you might have already done that. Please know that when you restart — when you’re really dedicated to changing his pattern — he’s probably going to  fuss and cry for whatever amount of time you may have taught him to do so before you gave up. Stay consistent. This could take a few weeks of utter and complete consistency, but I promise you, it will get better.

Video filmed by In Focus Studios

Did you find this article helpful? Please share it with your friends by clicking below, or ask a question on The Sleep Lady Facebook page.

Share this article: Share on Facebook
Facebook
Email this to someone
email
Tweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Pin on Pinterest
Pinterest

Some of the posts featured on this website may contain affiliate links. This means I have the potential to receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you) if you purchase something using one of my links. This allows me to help cover the expense of running the site while keeping the content 100% free. Note that I only recommend products I believe in. Your support is appreciated!

18 Comments

  • sarahjowilley says:

    Kathleen’s situation sounds very familiar.  Our 13 month old only slept through the night 5 times since birth.  He now wakes once during the night (better than the previous 2-4 times).  He may wake anywhere between 1AM and 4:30AM and will not go back down without having a bottle.  He then wakes between 4:30AM and 6AM and needs either another bottle or to get in bed with us to go back to sleep until 7 or 7:30AM.  He takes two 1-2 hour naps a day.  He goes to bed between 7 and 7:30PM.  We give him a bottle at bedtime and he goes to bed awake.  He doesn’t have bottles during the day anymore and we’ve been working to make sure he gets plenty of calories and nutritionally dense food during the day to make sure he’s not hungry in the night.  I don’t know if needing the bottle(s) in the night is habit or because he’s truly hungry.  We only have one bedroom that he shares with us so letting him cry in the night is challenging and very stressful for everyone.  Would love some insight!
     
    Thanks,
    Sarah

    • britraebasham says:

      Sarah,
       
      How are things with your baby?  Have they started sleeping through the night yet?  I’m curious because we’re having the same issue with one of our twins right now.  I was wondering if she really was still hungry as well.  Would love to hear if you’ve had a resolve.
       
      Thanks.
      Brit

  • sarahjowilley says:

    Kathleen’s situation sounds very familiar.  Our 13 month old only slept through the night 5 times since birth.  He now wakes once during the night (better than the previous 2-4 times).  He may wake anywhere between 1AM and 4:30AM and will not go back down without having a bottle.  He then wakes between 4:30AM and 6AM and needs either another bottle or to get in bed with us to go back to sleep until 7 or 7:30AM.  He takes two 1-2 hour naps a day.  He goes to bed between 7 and 7:30PM.  We give him a bottle at bedtime and he goes to bed awake.  He doesn’t have bottles during the day anymore and we’ve been working to make sure he gets plenty of calories and nutritionally dense food during the day to make sure he’s not hungry in the night.  I don’t know if needing the bottle(s) in the night is habit or because he’s truly hungry.  We only have one bedroom that he shares with us so letting him cry in the night is challenging and very stressful for everyone.  Would love some insight!
     
    Thanks,
    Sarah

    • britraebasham says:

      Sarah,
       
      How are things with your baby?  Have they started sleeping through the night yet?  I’m curious because we’re having the same issue with one of our twins right now.  I was wondering if she really was still hungry as well.  Would love to hear if you’ve had a resolve.
       
      Thanks.
      Brit

  • britraebasham says:

    Hi Kim.
     
    Can you please explain why my now 10 month old will make noise, like a constant hmm or whine, while she’s sleeping?  Physically there is nothing wrong with her because we keep taking her to the doctors.  I’ve tried giving her Motrin for any pain/discomfort she may be having with teething, but she still makes this sound.  She also does it when she’s falling asleep.  We’ve had to move her twin sister into our room because she keeps waking her up.  Any idea what this may be and how we can help her stay “sound” asleep?
     
    Thanks so much!
    Brit
    (Sleepless in Springfield)

    • elenata says:

       @britraebasham Hi! Our 6 months old boy also has started whining when he’s falling asleep, like a broken record. His eyes r closed, but he keeps on humming. Although, we haven’t started with Kim’s method yet, he just reached 6 months mark 2 days ago. We still are rocking him to sleep, and he hums in our arms while falling asleep. Is there an explanation for this? Is it just his way of calming himself?

      • britraebasham says:

        Hi Elenata!
         
        This is exactly what our Hailie does and it started right around 6 months.  I don’t know what it is or why she does it.  Neither does our Pediatrician.  She thinks that it’s Hailies way of “self-soothing”, but other moms like to joke and say that she’s singing us to sleep.  I wish I could help you but I’m still in the same boat at 10 months old.  She did this literally for 6 hours yesterday.  I can’t imagine that she’s fully asleep.
         
        As far as your note to Kim, we were going through this with Hailie… having to rock her to get her to sleep, then having to do the same thing 45 mins later.  Your little guy is using the rocking as a sleep crutch.  He thinks he needs it in order to fall asleep.  Well I can tell you that we have been doing the sleep training on/off since August 1 and we can now lay both girls down “drowsy but awake” and they will both put themselves to sleep.  There are nights where it could take us 20 minutes or 45 minutes or 60 minutes before Hailie decides to finally fall asleep.  My girls just turned 10 months so they have a lot going on developmentally… crawling, standing, talking, teething.  All of these things cause a disturbance in sleep because once they learn a new skill that’s all they want to do.
         
        I don’t know if you’re little guy is in daycare but we have learned that our daycare provider doesn’t make them sleep so they have one, maybe two disaster naps a day.  We also try to have our girls down by 7pm-7:30pm but that doesn’t mean they’re asleep by that time.  And we still give in a rock them when they are sick or crying hysterically.
         
        I wish you luck and if you get a solution or answer to what the constant whining is I would love to know.
         
        Brit

  • britraebasham says:

    Hi Kim.
     
    Can you please explain why my now 10 month old will make noise, like a constant hmm or whine, while she’s sleeping?  Physically there is nothing wrong with her because we keep taking her to the doctors.  I’ve tried giving her Motrin for any pain/discomfort she may be having with teething, but she still makes this sound.  She also does it when she’s falling asleep.  We’ve had to move her twin sister into our room because she keeps waking her up.  Any idea what this may be and how we can help her stay “sound” asleep?
     
    Thanks so much!
    Brit
    (Sleepless in Springfield)

    • elenata says:

       @britraebasham Hi! Our 6 months old boy also has started whining when he’s falling asleep, like a broken record. His eyes r closed, but he keeps on humming. Although, we haven’t started with Kim’s method yet, he just reached 6 months mark 2 days ago. We still are rocking him to sleep, and he hums in our arms while falling asleep. Is there an explanation for this? Is it just his way of calming himself?

      • britraebasham says:

        Hi Elenata!
         
        This is exactly what our Hailie does and it started right around 6 months.  I don’t know what it is or why she does it.  Neither does our Pediatrician.  She thinks that it’s Hailies way of “self-soothing”, but other moms like to joke and say that she’s singing us to sleep.  I wish I could help you but I’m still in the same boat at 10 months old.  She did this literally for 6 hours yesterday.  I can’t imagine that she’s fully asleep.
         
        As far as your note to Kim, we were going through this with Hailie… having to rock her to get her to sleep, then having to do the same thing 45 mins later.  Your little guy is using the rocking as a sleep crutch.  He thinks he needs it in order to fall asleep.  Well I can tell you that we have been doing the sleep training on/off since August 1 and we can now lay both girls down “drowsy but awake” and they will both put themselves to sleep.  There are nights where it could take us 20 minutes or 45 minutes or 60 minutes before Hailie decides to finally fall asleep.  My girls just turned 10 months so they have a lot going on developmentally… crawling, standing, talking, teething.  All of these things cause a disturbance in sleep because once they learn a new skill that’s all they want to do.
         
        I don’t know if you’re little guy is in daycare but we have learned that our daycare provider doesn’t make them sleep so they have one, maybe two disaster naps a day.  We also try to have our girls down by 7pm-7:30pm but that doesn’t mean they’re asleep by that time.  And we still give in a rock them when they are sick or crying hysterically.
         
        I wish you luck and if you get a solution or answer to what the constant whining is I would love to know.
         
        Brit

  • elenata says:

    Hi Kim!
    Our boy just turned 6 months old 2 days ago and we are planning to start sleep coaching him using your method. We have been rocking him to sleep at night time his whole life, as he is extremely fussy at night and takes hours to get him calm and relaxed enough to sleep. We have started putting him down for naps drowsy but awake a few weeks ago, it works sometimes, but sometimes not, he just doesnt fall asleep, but becomes more active in the cot. Then we pick him up again to get him drowsy again before putting him down.
    His nighttime routine is consistent, we try to get him in bed before 7:30 each night, but after 45 minutes he wakes up and starts crying. Then we have to start rocking him again to get him sleepy again. he wakes up on average 2-3 times from bedtime tlll morning at 6-6:30. Sometimes after a feed at night, he will not go down for 1,5 hours, he is just awake.Why does it happen?
     
    I would like to find out from you if the method will be effective with such a fussy baby, I can’t even imagine how we can put him down in his cot awake at night and expect him to calm himself without rocking him.
     
    Thank you! I hope you can help!
     
    Elena

  • elenata says:

    Hi Kim!
    Our boy just turned 6 months old 2 days ago and we are planning to start sleep coaching him using your method. We have been rocking him to sleep at night time his whole life, as he is extremely fussy at night and takes hours to get him calm and relaxed enough to sleep. We have started putting him down for naps drowsy but awake a few weeks ago, it works sometimes, but sometimes not, he just doesnt fall asleep, but becomes more active in the cot. Then we pick him up again to get him drowsy again before putting him down.
    His nighttime routine is consistent, we try to get him in bed before 7:30 each night, but after 45 minutes he wakes up and starts crying. Then we have to start rocking him again to get him sleepy again. he wakes up on average 2-3 times from bedtime tlll morning at 6-6:30. Sometimes after a feed at night, he will not go down for 1,5 hours, he is just awake.Why does it happen?
     
    I would like to find out from you if the method will be effective with such a fussy baby, I can’t even imagine how we can put him down in his cot awake at night and expect him to calm himself without rocking him.
     
    Thank you! I hope you can help!
     
    Elena

  • Nsamter says:

    Hi Kim. I love your website and desperately need help. My 14 month old has been getting up btwn 5-5:30 for the past month. We went on vacation (same time zone) and he slept terribly while we were away). I attributed it to sharing a room and not being used to the pack and play. I figured when we got home, it would take him a few days to return to his normal schedule (730 bedtime, wake up btwn 6-7, two one hour naps). This unfortunately has not been the case. I have tried everything – earlier bedtime, later bedtime, one nap a day instead of two, going in at 5 and changing his diaper and soothing him, not going in at all until 6, lying next to his crib for an hour. The one thing that has remained consistent – I do not take him out of his crib until 6am.
    Now, I know he is not waking up bc he has had enough sleep. My husband will take over at 630-7 and take our son and the dog on a walk to the park for an hour and a half and my son always falls right asleep. In fact, today he slept in the carriage for almost 3 hours! 730-1030.
    Please help. I love being a mom more than anything and this is taking a toll emotionally and physically. I am 3 months pregnant and I work from home and I take care of my 14 month old. I need my sleep!
    Thank you – Natalie

  • Nsamter says:

    Hi Kim. I love your website and desperately need help. My 14 month old has been getting up btwn 5-5:30 for the past month. We went on vacation (same time zone) and he slept terribly while we were away). I attributed it to sharing a room and not being used to the pack and play. I figured when we got home, it would take him a few days to return to his normal schedule (730 bedtime, wake up btwn 6-7, two one hour naps). This unfortunately has not been the case. I have tried everything – earlier bedtime, later bedtime, one nap a day instead of two, going in at 5 and changing his diaper and soothing him, not going in at all until 6, lying next to his crib for an hour. The one thing that has remained consistent – I do not take him out of his crib until 6am.
    Now, I know he is not waking up bc he has had enough sleep. My husband will take over at 630-7 and take our son and the dog on a walk to the park for an hour and a half and my son always falls right asleep. In fact, today he slept in the carriage for almost 3 hours! 730-1030.
    Please help. I love being a mom more than anything and this is taking a toll emotionally and physically. I am 3 months pregnant and I work from home and I take care of my 14 month old. I need my sleep!
    Thank you – Natalie

  • mrscanada says:

    Hello, my 11 month old goes to bed about 7pm and was sleeping until 6:30-7am. For a week now he has been up right at 5am. He takes a bottle before bed. He moved to only one nap at 9 months old, not my choice! I know at Day Care he gets a bottle in his crib to go to sleep but not at home. I don’t understand why the sudden change to 5am.

  • mrscanada says:

    Hello, my 11 month old goes to bed about 7pm and was sleeping until 6:30-7am. For a week now he has been up right at 5am. He takes a bottle before bed. He moved to only one nap at 9 months old, not my choice! I know at Day Care he gets a bottle in his crib to go to sleep but not at home. I don’t understand why the sudden change to 5am.

  • breefawn says:

    That is so frustrating, lizzie599. Early rising is hard on everyone. I recommend this article with even more tips to help http://www.sleeplady.com/baby-sleep/8-tips-to-resolve-early-rising/#.UoqsX6XGEds. I would also encourage you to post to The Sleep Lady’s http://www.facebook.com/thesleeplady so that a Gentle Sleep Coach can help you, too. Good luck!

  • breefawn says:

    That is so frustrating, lizzie599. Early rising is hard on everyone. I recommend this article with even more tips to help http://www.sleeplady.com/baby-sleep/8-tips-to-resolve-early-rising/#.UoqsX6XGEds. I would also encourage you to post to The Sleep Lady’s http://www.facebook.com/thesleeplady so that a Gentle Sleep Coach can help you, too. Good luck!