Testing Theories on Infant Early Rising

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When Wes woke at 5:20am everyday, I tried everything: rocking him to sleep right away, letting him fuss for a bit, waiting until it was officially “morning time” to enter his room and do the “shuffle” (making a big deal of morning so he can differentiate), nursing to sleep, bottle…

Being woken up so early and abruptly, I’d completely forget what worked the previous days when he was able to sleep in. Out of desperation, I wrote a checklist of things to look for before entering his room and journaled for a week.

-       Does he have a full diaper?

-       Is his chest and back cold or sweaty?

-       Is he hungry? What time did he eat dinner last night?

-       Is he chewing on his pacifier (usually means he’s teething)?

-       What was his bedtime last night?

-       What was his total awake time before bedtime?

-       Did I put him down drowsy or completely asleep?

Within a few days, I saw a pattern: his chest and back were cool to the touch. I heard somewhere that if babies are uncomfortable at night, their last sleep cycle is the most difficult to sleep through. I also noticed that the later he was given dinner, the later he woke. Was it as simple as temperature and hunger? I put a t-shirt and socks underneath his pajamas and gave him dinner closer to bedtime. Would you believe he started sleeping in until 6am?!

In our sleep deprived, hormonal, mom-brain states, we have to use what we can to figure it out. Trying to remember, just wasn’t working and early wakings were going on for months. Bouncing ideas off Mark and keeping a journal for a week was the key to my lovely 6am mornings. Testing our theories (warmer pjs and later dinner) consistently for two weeks, made the solutions clear.

You can use this approach for any issue that comes up, night-wakings or any challenge that you're too sleep deprived to make sense of ;). And now that we’re in Mexico, three hours ahead… hello early mornings, all over again!