How I tackled early morning waking.
Tough one init, sleep? So much advice, so many opinions and then guess what...your baby does what it wants anyway. BUT is there a solution? I was determined to find one. I'd caved to Ronnie a lot over the year, rocking her to sleep at the beginning and then letting her get up at the crack of dawn. But enough was enough and I decided to put some things into place. To take charge as it was completely ruling my life, and I for one could not continue.
So what did we do? Firstly to get Ronnie down at night in her own bed at around Month 5, we did the cry it out method. Some aren't fans and I can understand the reservation, but I also believe it is the best thing I ever did. She still slept in our room for a few weeks but I started the cry it out method in our room of an evening before moving her to her own room once she'd nailed it. How I did that was followed Jess' guide HERE. A piece of advice; get someone over to help you. I used my mum. Get someone who will stop you going in when you really want to.
Next, I wanted to tackle her early morning waking but I didn't do this until she was 11 months old, which to be honest is late- she had developed a habit which took longer to break and in hide site I wish I had done it a lot earlier but I was led to believe that a 5am wake up 'wasn't that early'... it is...really early! So here is some facts I learnt first...
(It is important to state I am no expert...but this all helped me and I'm all for helping another mother out.)
IMPORTANT SLEEP FACTS THAT CHANGED THINGS FOR US.
Sleep equals sleep. Don't be fooled into thinking that keeping them up all day will mean they will sleep all night... if you get the naps down (length of these dependant on their age) they will go to bed less tired, and subsequently sleep BETTER!
Did you know a baby who wakes between 3am-5am is most likely cold. Thats because this is the coldest part of the night, it is also when they enter thier second 'sleep cycle' so come into a lighter sleep so if they are uncomfortable this is when they are likely to let you know! Go figure. So, if they are too young for duvets, invest in a sleep suit with arms, or one with a higher tog!
So how did I tackle her early waking? Some suggested to just leave her, others to go in and try out the early morning cry it out system. But this wasn't working for us. So I looked at her naps and her temperature. Firstly I restricted her early morning nap time. I was letting her have a long nap in the morning only a few hours after she woke, and then a shorter nap in the afternoon. She was then using her morning sleep as a catchup for the sleep she wasn't getting at night. So she'd wake at 5 and think its ok I'll be put back down in 2 hours and get the extra 2 that I need. So I moved that morning nap later and cut it down to only HALF AN HOUR!!! Then she would have a lovely long nap in the afternoon which would mean she would go to bed not over tired!
Then, we bought her a long sleeved sleeping bag, the same tog as she was used to but with sleeves. So along with a new nap routine, and feeling a little more snug here is her new routine, and I have to say...it works a dream!