In our fourth and final installment of this series, we’ll look at some potential environment related contributors to Baby waking early.
- Baby is not being exposed to adequate amounts of daylight – Natural light is important to help babies regulate their circadian clock. This is the inner clock, the biological time-keeping system that regulates daily activities, such as sleep and wake cycles. We recommend that as soon as your baby awakens in the morning, you take him to a room filled with daylight. Natural light, along with the first feeding of the day will help establish his circadian rhythm and keep it consistent.
- Baby’s room is not dark enough – This is one of the most overlooked reasons for a sudden occurrence of Baby waking early and one of the easiest to fix. While newborns can sleep just about anywhere and under any conditions, the “light sensitivity” begins to change after three months of age. Depending on the direction the baby’s room faces, the sun’s light can impact a baby’s naps. Like most adults, babies tend to sleep better and longer if the room is darkened. Shades or curtains are the simple solution.
- Baby is over-stimulated in the crib because of wind-up toys that were turned on when he was put down for a nap – All those fun baby gifts can be a problem. Mobiles are entertaining, but when set up too early and activated just before naptime, they can be a source of over-stimulation. Some babies cannot neurologically handle particular types of stimulation created by movement and sound.
- When your baby reaches four to six months of age, he could be waking up in response to familiar sounds in his home – This condition is created when two time-elements cross. The baby’s circadian clock has him moving out of deep sleep into active sleep close to the time a familiar sound occurs each day. As he approaches four months, he develops the ability to associate sounds with activities and people. Once he makes the association, he becomes more alert and the sound can trigger an awake mode. It could be the familiar sound of school bus brakes or a garage door opening. Both signal the arrival of someone, perhaps an entertaining sibling or fun-loving Dad. While many babies will fall back to sleep, others are ready to fight off sleep in exchange for the next big adventure.
- Unknown – What does this mean? Simply that a reason exists but it is so unique to your baby’s situation that it is not easily duplicated by other babies. Keep looking for clues, ask questions, or invite an experienced PDF mom over for part of the day to observe you and your baby.
This concludes our series on sleep challenges. If you have further questions, please contact us and we’ll put you in touch with an experience mom who can help you.
Excerpt taken from On Becoming Babywise by pediatrician Robert Bucknam, M.D. and Gary Ezzo, M.A. (2017 6th Edition).