Channel Mum Chat

Baby waking at 5am

Hi @maggiefisher
Just wondering if you could give me some advice please.

My baby will be 5 months old in 3 days & used to sleep until 7.45am everyday.

She has started waking around 4.45am now which is becoming pretty tiring for me!

I try to leave her for abit as she starts off just babbling to herself but then after about 15 mins she starts to whinge. I try putting her dummy in with no eye contact then leaving her again hoping she will drop off but she never does.

If I put her in with me, she will then sleep until around 8-9am which is great! Only problem is she’s waking so early & keeping me awake & by the time she is back to sleep in my bed, I then have to get my older daughter up for school. So I’m essentially not getting anymore sleep myself so I just lay awake from 4.45am everyday! :yawning_face::sleeping: My older daughter goes to high school so can get ready on her own but can’t be trusted to get up on her own. When she is up & getting ready, I then try getting back to sleep with the baby but it very rarely happens. I usually just lay awake until the baby wakes.

Sometimes (like now!) I give in & feed her although I don’t think she actually wants s bottle, but it seems to help her drift back off in the mornings!

I should also add, she goes to bed at 7pm everynight with the same bed time routine starting at 6pm. She used to go to bed at 8 but I found she was getting irritable by then as she was too tired hence moving it earlier. I tried 7.30pm but still it was too late for her.

Also, she barely naps in the day even tho she gets tired! The other day was 35 mins all day!!

I try in her cot as my room is completely dark with black out blinds & curtains, I’ve tried in her swing, bouncer & pram but nothing helps her to sleep. I’ve even turned the TV off & shut the curtains but still she doesn’t give in. When she does nap, it’s literally 5-10 mins here & there

It sounds like you’ve got a good routine, but she’s just waking up that bit too early?

That’s correct. It’s only recently started happening though. It was always 7.45am. sometimes a little later but now it still feels like the middle of the night when she’s waking :rofl: it’s just annoying as she will happily go back to sleep in my bed but not in her cot

HI @anonymous2636

It is so annoying isn’t it when they change their sleep pattern with no obvious reason for it!

You are doing all the right things and it sounds really frustrating for you. I do have a couple of suggestions that may help fingers crossed.

This one is going to sound bonkers but sometime putting them to bed earlier helps - I notice you said

It may be over tiredness and often an earlier bedtime helps them to slept later.

Check there aren’t any noises waking her. We are more easily woken in the early morning as we are in a lighter phase of sleep. A neighbour leaving for work early, the heating or hot water clicking on and pipes gurgling, or the local milkman on his rounds can all disturb us. In the summer months the dawn chorus can be deafening. If there are disturbances you cannot control you can try white noise which helps to screen out background noise. There are free apps you can download or use an old-fashioned radio not tuned properly – that static is white noise. Pink noise has shown to be better than white noise see link below and is more pleasant to listen to

Other things to think about are to check she is not too cold it can be quite cold in the early morning as the temperature drops. Feeling cold can wake a baby or child. Try using a baby or child safe sleeping bag or blankets and sheets which stay tucked in.

You can try phasing her waking up time - which you have already been doing a bit of. This can work quite well as you gradually start to stretch the time before you go in to her. So, if she is waking at 5am or earlier, don’t go in until 5.10am. Once you have that wake-up time established you can bring it forward gradually by 5-10 minutes until it is a more civilised time. Get her up when you go into her - you may find this may helps her to nap better and for longer in the day.

You can also try scheduled waking, this works well if your child wakes at the same time each morning. The idea of this is you set your alarm to wake her 20 minutes before she usually wake up. You then rouse her gently, so they stir but are not fully awake, and then allow her to settle back to sleep. You do this for a week and then you allow her to sleep through. This method disrupts their natural sleep cycle and resets their body clock so they start to sleep through.

There are a few different options to try - so them each separately and give it a chance to work before trying the next one.

Do let me know how you get on

Good luck

Thanks for your reply.

I already moved her bedtime earlier which I think may be the perfect time for her as we start at 6pm with nappy off time, then a bath, bottle, a cuddle & then I put her in bed drowsy where she then falls asleep pretty quickly.

Also, I am a single parent so the only 1 able to do the bedtime routine & I am starting work again next week & won’t be finishing until 6pm which is slightly inconvenient but I will be home pretty quickly so the routine may start around 10-15 mins later than usual 2 nights a week or nappy off/bath time will have to be cut short by 5 mins each.

I’ve tried white noise but ot doesn’t help her settle back to sleep. She just wants to get up & play!

The baby always wakes up quite toasty but not hot or sweaty so I don’t think it’s that either. I use a sleeping bag as I have moved her into a cot & she kicks of the blanket no matter how tight I tuck it in.

My baby is still in my room so I do find it hard to ignore her but I do leave her for around 10 minutes which I then go put her dummy in & this happens until she starts getting irritable which is usually half an hour after she has woken up.

So do you suggest getting her up this early as I was hoping to try & get her back to sleep until around 7am. If she’s in my bed she will sleep in & when she wakes at silly o clock she’s still rubbing her eyes & trying to sleep but is fighting it so I don’t feel she’s ready to actually get up yet.

Usually she wakes around midnight & 5am, not exactly on the dot though, would scheduled waking still work? If so, do I do this in the night too or just the morning?


Also another question while we are here, I feel she has a bit of seperation anxiety as she wants to constantly be with me & cries when I leave the room on occasions. I’ve never left her for longer than 4 hours before so I am worried me going back to work will upset her & her sleep pattern? I will be getting her up & dropping her off then picking her up & putting her to bed, will this affect her in any way do u think? We have only just got back into a good sleep routine after about 6 weeks of sleep regression so I don’t want to go back to that awful time again as we were both exhausted & grumpy. I don’t actually have to go back to work just yet but I feel we both could do with a break sometimes but my work hours are a 9 hour day plus travel…

His @anonymous2636

That is a long working day with travel. It is probably inevitable that she will be upset a little by the changes in her routine and yes it could disturb her sleep pattern. However working hard on trying to keep to her usual routine as much as possible with help. Is she going to a child minder or nursery? Are you able to see her gently into this with a few shorter trial runs before you have to leave her for the whole day?

It does sound like a little bit of separation anxiety going on although she is a little young for this it is usually from 6-7 months onwards. There is a rather nice leaflet written by a child psychologist for parents explaining separation anxiety which is an inevitable part of childhood. It also shares ideas on how to manage this. Separation anxiety is a very normal development stage they babies and children go though at various stages in their life and will not harm them if is it managed in a kind caring way.

It is really hard doing all this single handedly and I can understand you wanting to go back to work for a break. It is also healthy for babies and children to develop close relationships with other care-givers beside yourself. Although you will remain the primary care-given and her attachment figure.

Try the pink noise to see if this works better -see the link above. I wonder if she is getting too hot and this may be waking her?

With the bedtime phase I was suggesting you let her wake naturally and then leave her as long as you can before you get her up, you could try pink noise to see if this does help her settle back again. You then do get her up when she is getting to the stage of becoming quite loud. I was suggesting you got her up for the day then. However if you are retuning to work this may not suit you and if you feel it is best to take her in with you to try to get a bit more sleep - do what you think will work best.

Keep a note of when she she usually wakes and then gently rouse her 15-20 minutes before her usual wake up time and then let her go back to sleep. It can work well and I know mums who have used this very successfully and swear by it. However, it can feel risky rousing a sleeping baby. Best to try before you return to work if you want to give it a go.

Keep a sleep diary I will share a link to our one. I am happy for you to share this with me to take a look at. You can either attach as a download or send to our email

It sounds like you are happy with her bedtime and her bedtime routine so stick with this.

Often it is a bit or trial and error learning to figure out which strategy may work best for you. One size done not fit all.

Maggie x

We had a bad night last night, she was so unsettled & I was up & down like a yoyo putting her dummy back in.

It’s such a long working day but my best friend is the only person who will have my baby & so I need to work on her days off which is a bit of a pain. The job I’m going back to is 1 I left 3 years ago in a salon, the job I had before getting pregnant was in a bar & so I can’t go back as some shifts are nights & sometimes I wouldn’t get home til around 2am & my friend has 3 kids of her own to get to bed etc for school so the 2 days a week is just on a 3 month trial as I might not like it & the baby may not cope well but I won’t know until I try.

My baby see’s my best friend most days as she was our support bubble through lockdown as we are both single parents. My baby has her own bouncer & toys there but also she only lives around the corner & has a spare key so she could sit at mine with the baby if she wants. I know she will be fine with her but I’ve never left her for longer than 3 hours before so I’m worried she will get upset & wonder where I am as she’s a very clingy baby.

Her routine starts off with nappy off time so my friend will start that until I get home at around 10 past 6 so I will be back in time to give her a bath & her bottle. So the routine will still be the same but I’m worried she will go back to waking every hour just to check I’m still there. We had a horrible couple of months where she would wake all through the night so now it’s sorted (although last night she was a little monkey & kept rolling over & then crying!) I don’t want to disrupt her.

To be honest it’s not even the break why I’m going back to work, it’s the money as I am not getting any maternity or anything due to handing my notice in when I found out I was pregnant as I knew finding a babysitter would be a struggle as the babys “dad” left when I was 6 weeks pregnant & my family aren’t helpful, not even with my older daughter but luckily with her, her dad will have her.

I tried my baby with just a blanket last night & kept her hands uncovered but she was waking lots & not self settling, I was forever tucking the blanket back in & she woke up with freezing cold hands so I don’t think she’s waking because she’s too hot.

Yesterday she woke abit later, around 6am then was wide awake by 7.15 so I got her up rather than put her in with me but she was quite grumpy all day & then unsettled all night so not sure that helped haha.

Will try pink noise next x

Hi @anonymous2636

it is good to know she is familiar with your friend and you have left her with her before - babies don’t have the same content of time as we do so I would not worry too much about the time you leave her for.

Keeping the routine as similar as possible is good and babies are extremely adaptable it might just take her a bit of time to adjust but she will. It should like you have thought it all through very carefully. It will be hard for you the first few weeks but one you get through this you will adjust and it is only part time. The change may do you good and the money will be very useful. If you can relax and try not to worry about it she will find it easier. If you show worry and anxiety she may pick this up so be confident and cheerful about it when you leave her. Easier said than done I know.

It sounds like you have had to cope with a lot with no support from her day or your family - that is really tough and you should feel really pored of how you have coped and managed. Having a baby in lockdown has been far from easy. So well done you.

Are you claiming all the benefits you can? Do you get Healthy Start see the link below?

It might be worth just checking with your HV to make sure you are getting the help you need as a single mum.

Has she just learnt to roll? It sounds like she is going through a huge developmental leap and this could be affecting her sleep - read the link below on how growth and developmental spurts can unsettle them and affect sleep. * Anything that affects their internal body systems such a digestion, neuro-developmental pathways can cause crying and affect sleep. Find out more about brain development see below for more on the wonder weeks

It sounds like she was cold last night (it was cold) so perhaps go back to the sleeping bag.

It is good she woke a bit later. If you can try to stick to a similar wake up time each day (you can gradually adjust it as you need to over a few days) this helps set her body clock see below.

You may have a few days when she is a bit grumpy but she will adjust.

Let me know how your weekend goes. What day do you start back at work?

Maggie x

My friend was my birthing partner so my baby has literally known her from day 1 :slight_smile: I’ve only ever left her about 3 hours though. My friend took her today from 10 til 1 & the baby was fine.

So my baby is on her 2nd night of waking every hour again. I leave her a few mins before going to her like always but instead of self settling, she now cries until I go put her dummy in!! I really hope she doesn’t stay like this as I will end up running myself into the ground!! Why does she keep going through this?! It was like this for ages but just as I think we have cracked it (she’s been sleeping better about 2 weeks) she then goes back to being a nightmare. I’ve got a banging headache due to lack of sleep so I’ve just resorted to putting her in with me (its 1.50am & I’ve been seeing to her since she went down) her routine is exactly the same so I just don’t know what is happening. I’m feeling like we have hit a wall AGAIN :pensive:

Thank you, it’s definitely not been easy but its been worth it to see her smiley little face every day.

I have started receiving healthy start which really come in handy :slight_smile:

Yes, she’s been rolling over for about a week now but only started doing it at night last night… she’s only done it once tonight tho thankfully as not only does it make her cry when she can’t turn back over but it worries me when she’s tired & she is face down, what if she does that in her sleep (if she ever actually gets any!) but doesn’t wake up

We are back to the sleeping bag & hands covered tonight.

I’m working Friday & Saturday which is why I think I’m worrying so much as it’s 2 days in a row but then it will change to a Wednesday & a Friday x

HI @anonymous2636

It sounds like you have been having a nightmare of it -so sorry. You ask

There are many different reasons - growth spurt, wonder week, teething, she might be picking up that a change is coming - babies are really sensitive to what is going on around them and how we feel.

For help with teething see the link below

Once they start to roll it does cause anxiety however the Lullaby Trust issue this safety advice below

"Once your baby can roll from back to front and back again, on their own, they can be left to find their own position to sleep

Parents are often worried when their baby learns to roll,and finds a comfortable sleeping position on their side or front. Once a baby can move themselves from their back to their front and back again by themselves, they will be able to find their own sleeping position. The first few times they roll onto their tummy, you might like to gently turn them back, but do not feel you have to get up all night to check. Give them some me to play on their tummy while they are awake to help their development, but make sure you supervise them while they are on their front"

Once she is 26 weeks old we can start to wean her off the dummy which may have become an unhelpful sleep association and may be part of the issue with the frequent waking.

Maggie xx

So she’s actually doing better again & woke at 1am then 6.15am last night/this morning! She is so unpredictable. I’ve noticed she likes to turn herself onto her side to sleep quite alot but I always lay her on her back again as she can’t yet roll back onto her back. It’s good to know it’s not so unsafe now she is a little older although hopefully she will stay on her back :crossed_fingers: thank you for your help, I’m putting her early waking down to the light coming through in the mornings… I have “blackout” curtains & a blind but still the daylight seems quite bright so for now I’ve stuck a sheet over the curtains & it seemed to have help as she’s slept just that little bit longer for the past 2 days. I’ve been reading online ways to completely blackout a baby’s room as I am decorating hers & getting it ready for when she is able to go in there & I found a lot of people recommend cardboard… Doesn’t look pretty but can be removed when I open the curtains so I’m actually going to give it a try when she is sleeping in there. I have the front bedroom of my house so don’t fancy giving it a go in here but we will see in a few weeks if it helps or whether being in her own room completely unsettles her again! I know she can sleep well as she’s actually had a few nights where she has slept from 7pm til 6am but at the moment she wants a midnight feed. Thanks again for all the information x

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Just as I say she’s doing well again, she woke every half an hour! :woman_facepalming::sleeping:

:frowning: Let’s hope it’s just a temporary setback. xx

She’s a little monkey! :speak_no_evil: Sometimes she is a fantastic sleeper but then randomly she will wake up constantly! :woman_facepalming: I never know what the night is going to bring lol x

Hi @anonymous2636

Babies are so unpredictable!! I have heard that black dustbin liners stuck to the window can work well. Also I have been told that Ikea blackout blinds work well and can be cut to size see video below. However I have no experience of this they are stick on blinds.

I am sure other mums may be able to share what they find works

Maggie x

I’ve heard bin liners & also tin foil so have a few to try! She will still be in with me until she hits the 6 month mark which is in 4 weeks time but will test each 1 afterwards. I will also check out those blinds, thank you x

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Good luck let us know how you get on. Once she can go in her own room you may both sleep better.

Maggie xx

Hopefully!! :pray::crossed_fingers: x

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