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My 12-month-old baby wakes up at 5 a.m. every morning.

I tried to feed him a bit more before bedtime and get him to sleep later, but it doesn't work..

What should I do?

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    Can you give some additional information? For example, what time does he go down in the evening, how long has he been waking up at 5 a.m., what your schedule is like, and anything else that might be helpful. – anongoodnurse Dec 22 '14 at 7:18
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Go to bed earlier, get up at 5am and be glad it's not 2 am. Your baby may just be a morning person or he could be teething or have a wet/dirty diaper or many other things. If you put your baby down at 7pm for bed 5 am is 10 hours of sleep is pretty good. You might try keeping him awake longer at night, but be prepared for an early wake up call and cranky baby. My daughter is 6 and will still wake up between 5 and 6 am even if she was up until 10 or 11pm. Their internal clock will determine when they wake and you really don't have much control over it. You should also do a diaper check in the morning. Is it wet? Does he normally not care for a wet/dirty diaper? If it's pretty loaded try changing him before you go to bed, even if he is sleeping. Perhaps he is waking early due to that. If you are concerned though seek counsel with your pediatrician. They may be able to give you tips or reasoning for the wake-up call.

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    So true. Follow the natural rhythm of the child. And be patient: within twelve years, he will sleep until noon ... – jeroen_de_schutter Dec 23 '14 at 14:27
  • Not even 12 years my 9 yr old is starting that pattern already lol. Just wish the 6 yr old would follow. – scrappedcola Dec 23 '14 at 15:03
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One thing about sleep is that it is quite food related. We have a "7am is morning" rule, so breakfast is about 7:30am but in the past when we've let breakfast slip earlier, whichever one is a baby at that point wakes up even earlier (and then you end up with a child who gets up at 6 every day as that's when breakfast is and his/her body expects it!). So we never fed any of them before 7am once they were old enough, which was much younger than 12 months.

We also tried removing naps for at most 1 day in a row at that age and putting to bed slightly later. Then breakfast naturally moves with that.

Ultimately the 7am rule seems to work, and all of ours rarely wake up before then. We did put the LO back in bed and said "It's not morning yet" and as @adampasz says, you can't reward negative behaviour.

Sometimes they didn't like going back to bed, but it paid dividends in that they could function much better during the morning and the day, eating better and generally getting a better more stimulated day, leading to appropriate sleep at nap times and at night. So it really helped.

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  • yes, our house doesn't get up till 7, unless something special is happening. The kids are allowed to play in their room before then as long as we can't hear them :) – WendyG Sep 3 '18 at 10:23
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As contradictory as it sounds, try putting the baby to bed earlier. An overtired baby up too late will not sleep better, she will sleep worse.

I found confirmation on a bunch of places off the internet for this notion, and (without being able to find my copy for a quote) Weissbluth's "Happy Sleep Habits, Happy Child"

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    Interesting solution. I do see the logic in it, although it's difficult to trace on the surface. Could you elaborate on your reasoning for posterity? – peege Dec 23 '14 at 0:24
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A lot depends on your overall strategy for sleep training. (i.e. Do you let your baby "Cry It Out"?)
However, here are some basic suggestions.

  1. Make sure you have a solid daytime nap routine. At 12-months, most kids take 2 naps per day.
  2. Make sure nap times and bedtimes are as consistent as possible.
  3. Don't reward negative behavior. At 12 months, babies are definitely able to manipulate you!

There are lots of good books out there about helping your baby sleep, including "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child". http://www.amazon.com/Healthy-Sleep-Habits-Happy-Child/dp/0449004023

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Infants need to be fed relatively frequently, ideally every 4-6 hours, which unfortunately is a shorter duration than the average adult's total sleep.

You need to work a feeding into the middle of the night. Have a chair near the bed for that purpose.

Note that adults actually do have a natural two-sleep rhythm. In the old days it was common for adults to wake up in the middle of the night, do something like read, then go back to bed. This was considered normal. For some reason this custom has been forgotten. Anyway, for a nursing mother it is natural and normal to have a two-sleep night.

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    I do not agree. 12-month old babies usually do not need feeding in the middle of the night anymore. – jeroen_de_schutter Dec 23 '14 at 14:24
  • The link is an excellent read. – Mazura Dec 23 '14 at 23:11
  • yes a 1 year old should not be eating every 4-6 hours overnight. – WendyG Sep 3 '18 at 10:22
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If your baby is on a 3-nap-a-day pattern at the moment, try hard to make it 2, it worked for us at about 12 months. Ours was slow to drop every nap, as another answer says, 2 is normal for a 12 month old.

People told us "ah it's just they are hungry, don't feed them" but that wasn't the case at all. The day was started and the child wanted to do stuff. Wasn't hungry for another 60-90 minutes.

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