Early Rising and Naps: Wake Time is Ruining Our Nap Schedule

early rising and naps

If you would rather read than watch my above video then here is the transcript of this week’s video on how to help baby sleep:

Hi! Kim West, The Sleep Lady. And today, I’m going to answer Anne’s question that she wrote in.

She said, “I’ve been trying to get my 5 month old on a good nap schedule but it’s so hard as he wakes up at different times each day. If he wakes up at 5:30 a.m., he can’t stay up until 9:00. And if I put him down for a nap at 7:30, then he isn’t ready to nap again until 11:00 or 12:00 depending on how long he slept. But if he gets up at 6:30 or 7:00 a.m., he can stay up until 9:00 and I can usually have him nap at 9:00 and 1:00. I’m no sure how to overcome these different morning wakeups. Please help.”

Thanks for sharing all that information. That was actually very helpful for me.

Not Ready for Strict Sleep Training

The important thing for you to know at 5 months of age, I don’t recommend strict sleep coaching, not quite yet and especially not with nap coaching. But it is important for you to know that I think that your baby needs at least 3 naps a day and sometimes 4 while you are working on the early rising, especially if he is only taking 45-minute naps.

You didn’t say what you do when he wakes up at 5:30 in the morning, but hopefully, you’re not getting him out of the bed yet and starting the day. I also don’t know what is happening at night, if you’re feeding him during the night or at 5:30am.

Early Rising

But let’s say he is sleeping through to 5:30am and when he wakes he is not hungry yet. I would try to do what I can to get him back to sleep, patting, shushing, calming, etc. and try until at least 6:00am. And then, of course, at 6:00, if there is no sign of him going back to sleep, I’d leave the room, come back in, do “dramatic wakeup” and start the day.

My first rule would be no napping before 8:00 a.m. Just so that we don’t ingrain the early rising. I know that this is hard because it’s a tricky dance and he gets a little overtired but I want you to try to make it until 8:00 a.m.

You might want to check out my article on the 4 causes of early rising.

A Flexible Nap Schedule

And then from there, you’re going to end up needing 3 naps, especially if, let’s say, he sleeps from 8:00 am to 9:00 am he is going to need his next nap between 11:00 am and 12:00 pm. He will definitely need a third nap to make it to bedtime and that’s okay. That’s very common. Babies often keep 3 naps until 9 months of age so, not to worry.

Again, 3 or 4 naps a day is okay while we’re working on early rising and making it to a 7:00 pm bedtime without being overtired.

Once your son starts to go back to sleep at 5:30am, I would make sure you wake him up by 7:30 in the morning. That might be hard to imagine but we do want to regulate that wakeup somewhere between 6:00 and 7:30 in the morning. That will help you regulate his nap times so that he is well rested by the time he reaches bedtime at 7:00pm.

Video filmed by In Focus Studios

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