How to Help Baby who Wakes Up at 5 AM

Getting a baby to sleep through the night is not a simple task, but when it finally clicks, the whole world seems so much more amazing. A baby should be getting plenty of sleep, especially if he or she is a newborn. If a baby does not get enough sleep at night or wakes up too early, he or she could be sleep deprived all day.

So, how do you help a baby who wakes up at 5 am? To help a baby fall back to sleep after waking up too early, check to see if he or she is hungry. Also, check for a dirty diaper, or anything else that could make the baby uncomfortable. Make sure the room is dark, even as the sun rises in the morning.

Babies should be sleeping until 6:00-7:00 in the morning. If this is not the case for your baby, don’t lose hope. There are some things that you can do to adjust this.

Why Your Baby Is Waking Up Early

An early wake up is considered to be before 6:00 in the morning. The ideal wake-up time for a baby is 7 am (we can dream, right?) Before we talk about how to solve any problem with early waking, it is so important to find the cause. With this kind of thing, there can be various causes.

If your baby regularly wakes around 5:00 am to 5:30 am, your baby may be on a schedule that can change. Some babies really do just wake up early. However, these habits can be broken by identifying the problem.

Here are some prominent, yet very fixable causes of babies waking up too early:

  • The baby is hungry – It is hard, especially for an infant to fall back to sleep when he or she is hungry. Night feedings are common in babies under the age of 9 months.
  • The baby is overtired – A baby who is overtired is one that maybe went to bed too late or had a restless nights sleep. You know when your baby is overtired when they work themselves into a big fit when all that is needed is a nap.
  • The baby is uncomfortable – If the baby does not seem to hungry, check for a dirty diaper. Make sure the room is not too hot or too cold either.
  • The room is too bright – Some babies will get up with the sun. It all has to do with circadian rhythm. This rhythm is influenced by the sun. If the curtains allow too much light into the room, your baby will wake early. The environment of the room is so crucial to having a baby sleep well.
  • The baby is not napping enough – This ties into the overtired. If a baby has not napped well enough during the day, sleeping through the night will be harder. Creating a consistent sleep schedule is so vital for a happy baby.
  • The baby could be sick – If you have a baby that never wakes early, then pay attention to any signs of illness or harm. A stuffy nose or a cough could be the cause of your baby getting up early. Try to rule this problem out first.
  • Teething is starting – Teething is a painful time for your baby, and sleeping through the pain is almost impossible. Teething normal starts at about 5-7 months of age. Look for swollen gums, a lot of crying, and a low-grade fever if you suspect this is the root cause of your baby’s sleeping problem.
  • The baby is simply used to being up early – This also ties in with the circadian rhythm. A baby who is used to getting up when it gets lighter and brighter outside may just wake early. Parenting can also tie into this. If you walk into a room and are a little loud and treat it differently than when the baby wakes at 2 am, the baby will think it’s time to be awake.

There are quite a few reasons why babies wake up, but the important thing is to know how to remedy this problem. I’ll tackle these problems one by one. Some things can be fixed in the morning when the baby wakes. Other things need to be changed the night before.

There is hope for you. Making a few adjustments to how you approach an early wake-up may give you an extra hour of sleep.

How to Get the Baby to Go Back to Sleep

Walking into a baby’s bedroom after an early waking is no fun, but it is important to treat this event like it is no big deal. This ties into schedules and bad habits. Be careful on how you treat this situation. Be quiet, just as you would be if this was a night wake-up. That is what your baby should think. Tiptoe in, and check the baby to see what is the matter. Make sure that the baby is not sick or in an awkward sleeping position.

If the baby seems awake and happy, try to feed her a bottle.

A hungry baby is often the cause of an early wake-up. This is going to be the easiest fix. After feeding, it is best to put the baby down while he or she is still awake. This may not be possible though, so don’t try to keep your baby awake; that is counter-intuitive.

If the room is too light, try to block any sun rays coming in. If there’s a white-noise machine, make sure that is on. Creating an atmosphere that is calming and dark will help the baby feel soothed enough to fall back asleep when it is time to wake up.

If the baby seemed to be laying at an awkward angle, try to wrap or snuggle the baby in a blanket.

Overall, you are just trying to make the baby comfortable without disturbing him or her any more than you have to. Making small adjustments will help the baby be more relaxed.

Unusual Situations

Unfortunately, there will be times where these little adjustments will not put your baby back to sleep. A child in pain from teething will probably not go back to bed just because you give her a bottle. A baby with an ear infection may not fall back to sleep after a blanket is stuffed under the window shades. These problems should be irregular.

If your child has begun teething, click here for a helpful guide.

If you think your infant is sick, make an appointment to see a doctor. Illnesses in children can be more intense. It’s usually better to go in and talk with a doctor than to wait out the sickness, especially if there is a lot of coughing or a high fever.

How to Get a Baby to Sleep Longer and Better at Night

Some of the adjustments that need to be made come before bedtime.

To fix early wake-ups, consider if your child is grumpy or crying when she or he wakes up. Crying can be a sign of being overtired. Overtiredness can be fixed with an earlier bedtime. This may seem like the solution would be a later bedtime, but it isn’t the case. Most studies agree that going to bed earlier lets the baby sleep in a more relaxed state, and lets them sleep longer.

Consider, also, sleep training your baby. Set up regular times for your baby to nap during the day. This will also allow your baby to not be overtired when it is bedtime. Sleep training is almost always the solution to sleep problems that parents have.

Remember treating an early wake-up mundane and similar to bedtime? Do the opposite of when it is time to wake up for the day. Let there be some light, and a bit more noise when it is around 7 am.  This will let your baby know that an early wake up is much different from this experience.

With older babies and toddlers, try not to sneak out of a room when it is bedtime. Saying goodnight will help your child feel more oriented in the event of an early wake-up.

Try small steps. This may take some time and that’s okay.

Related Questions

What time should my baby wake up in the morning? Your baby should wake up at around 7 am every morning. Some children wake up earlier than others. 6:30 am is pretty normal as well.

Why does my baby wake up so early? A baby will wake up early if he or she is overtired or hungry. If a baby is overtired, consider adding more naps to their schedule or putting them to bed earlier.


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