4 Month Sleep Regression: Causes, Symptoms, and Tips for Helping Your Baby Sleep Better

4 Month Sleep Regression: Causes, Symptoms, and Tips for Helping Your Baby Sleep Better

As a Baby Sleep Coach, I understand that parents may feel like they are getting the hang of having a baby and navigating their sleep patterns, but you shouldn’t get too comfortable. Your child will go through many regressions in their sleep over the first few years of their life. Being prepared and not being blindsided when your good sleeper is suddenly a sleep avoider is the best way to tackle this sleep turmoil.

Mothers holding their baby in her arms while looking at each other.

What is 4 months sleep regression?

Your baby may have gone through their first sleep regression at around 8 weeks old, but now, only two months later, they may be going through it all over again. The 4-month sleep regression can be the most challenging one for parents because it is a significant milestone in your baby’s sleep development.

Sleep regressions are a significant topic when it comes to your baby’s sleep routine, especially during the first couple of years of their life. The 4-month sleep regression is a developmental stage that many babies go through, leading to disrupted sleep. At around 4 months of age, babies go through significant changes in their sleep cycles and begin to develop more adult-like sleep patterns. This can result in a disruption to their previously established sleep patterns, including more frequent night wakings, shorter naps, and difficulty settling to sleep.

During this stage, babies may also experience other developmental changes, such as increased motor skills, teething, or starting to roll over, which can also affect their sleep. The 4-month sleep regression can be challenging for both babies and parents, but it usually resolves on its own within a few weeks to a few months. Parents can help their babies through this stage by establishing consistent sleep routines, providing a comfortable sleep environment, and responding promptly to their baby’s needs.

What other ages will my child go through a sleep regression?

Babies may go through several sleep regressions throughout their first year of life, but there are five significant sleep regressions parents should be aware of, including:

  • 8 weeks
  • 4 months
  • 8-10 months
  • 12-15 months
  • 2 years

How long does the 4-month sleep regression last?

The 4-month sleep regression is a common developmental milestone that typically occurs around 3-4 months of age and can last for a few weeks to a few months. The duration of the 4-month sleep regression can vary from baby to baby, but on average, it can last between 2-6 weeks. During this time, your baby’s sleep patterns may be disrupted, and they may have more trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. This can be frustrating for both you and your baby, but it’s important to remember that this is a normal part of their development. If you’re concerned about your baby’s sleep patterns or have any questions, a sleep consultant can help you develop effective self-settling methods and create a comfortable sleep environment.

A mother holding her baby in her arms and gently rocking him to sleep.

How does a sleep regression affect your child’s sleep?

By your baby’s second sleep regression,  they are developing a way of sleeping that is more like that they will have for life.  This is them fluctuating between a light sleep and a much deeper sleep.  It’s also the stage where your baby starts needing you less which means you can encourage them to self soothe.  They need to learn this skill to help them settle between wake up periods and to help extend the time when they are asleep.

Top tips on how to survive 4 months sleep regression:

  • Stick to a consistent bedtime routine: Establishing a consistent bedtime routine can help your baby learn when it’s time to sleep, making it easier to fall asleep during a sleep regression. Try to keep the routine simple and consistent every night, so your baby knows what to expect. This may include things like a bath, reading a book, singing a lullaby, and snuggling.
  • Try to establish a nap schedule: Naps can be especially important during a sleep regression, so try to establish a nap schedule that works for your baby. This may involve paying attention to your baby’s sleepy cues and creating a nap-time routine to signal that it’s time to rest.
  • Stick to a consistent wake-up time: Even if your baby has had a rough night of sleep, try to wake them up at the same time every morning. This will help regulate their body clock and make it easier for them to fall asleep at night. Make sure they having right amount of sleep in 24 hour, use this sleep chart.
  • Be patient: Remember that sleep regressions are a normal part of a baby’s development, and they will eventually pass. Try to be patient and focus on creating a calm, soothing environment for your baby. Offer extra cuddles, soothing music, or a pacifier.
  • Be flexible: Your baby’s sleep patterns may change frequently during a regression, so be prepared to adjust your routine as needed. Be willing to try different things to see what works best for your baby.
  • Don’t let your baby get overtired: Overtiredness can make it harder for your baby to fall asleep and stay asleep. Watch for signs of tiredness, like yawning, rubbing eyes, or fussiness, and try to get your baby to sleep before they get too tired.
  • Ask for help: Sleep regressions can be exhausting for parents, both physically and emotionally. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from friends, family, or a professional if you need it. Sometimes just having someone to talk to can make a big difference.
  • Take care of yourself: Remember to take care of yourself during a sleep regression. Get enough rest, eat healthy foods, and take breaks when you need them. Remember that taking care of yourself will help you better take care of your baby.
  • Stay calm and positive: Your baby may sense your frustration or stress, which can make it harder for them to sleep. Try to stay calm and positive, even if you’re feeling exhausted. Remember that sleep regressions are temporary, and things will eventually get better.
  • Keep the bedroom conducive to sleep: Make sure your baby’s bedroom is dark, quiet, and at a comfortable temperature. Use blackout curtains to keep out light and white noise to mask any background noise that could disturb your baby’s sleep. More on bedroom set up here.
  • Be mindful of growth spurts: Sleep regressions often coincide with growth spurts, which can make your baby extra hungry and fussy. Be prepared to offer extra feedings and comfort during these times.
  • Encourage self-settling: your baby will be much more aware at this stage of when it is sleep time because of things that you may have put in place to help them. This means if you feed your baby to sleep, rock your baby to sleep or whatever routines you have, then they need to be done every single time because this is the only way your baby knows to get to sleep and it is why them learning to self settle  becomes super important at this stage. You need to change the sleep associations so you are less involved and it is where your bedtime routines come into play.
  • Consider exploring gentle sleep training options if your baby is having difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep during the 4-month sleep regression. Gentle sleep training can help your baby learn to self-settle and establish healthy sleep habits. You can find a variety of downloadable sleep guides here to help guide you through the process. Additionally, if you would like more personalised support, you can reach out to a sleep consultant for 1-on-1 help habits.

A peacefully sleeping baby in a crib.

Can the sleep regression be something else?

There are a few other things that could be affecting your child’s sleep that you may want to eliminate before assuming it is a sleep regression.  

  • Teething When your baby is teething, they obviously experience some discomfort. You can look to see if any teeth are breaking through to see if it is this or watching if they are mouthing/chewing more.  Also, if teething is disrupting their sleep, it is usually only a couple of days so you can use these facts to decide whether teething is the cause.
  • Separation anxiety As baby gets older (from around 6 months) your baby becomes more away of when you aren’t there and they don’t like it.  This may make them harder to settle because they may be clingier.  They also might not like to be left to fall asleep by themselves. More on separation anxiety here
  • Illness If your child isn’t feeling themselves this could lead to many restless nights until they recover.
  • Growth spurts Your child is obviously doing lots of growing and if they are going through a spurt of growth, it might mean they need to take in extra feeds to provide the energy they need and therefore wake up more frequently.  They also happen more often than sleep regressions do and last for shorter lengths of time.  Because of the extra feeds they need, they might start developing the sleep association of being fed to sleep.
  • Nap transitions If your child is changing their nap patterns (dropping one, having them at different times, shortening them) they might have trouble sleeping as they adjust to their new routine! This might even cross over with times that some of the sleep regressions are due.

Frequently asked sleep regression questions

Will a sleep regression mean all our sleep training has gone out of the window? No definitely not. There may be a few blips through the various sleep regressions but keeping your routines and sleep procedures consistent is the best thing you can do for your baby.

Will my child go through all of the sleep regressions? They are all developments in your child that are signs of them growing up. Your child may or may not show signs of all sleep regressions, and it’s best not to panic before it even happens. It’s possible that it might not even be that bad. While it’s possible that your child may go through all the sleep regressions at some point, it’s important to note that they may affect some children more than others. Sometimes, you may not even realize that your child is going through a sleep regression until it has passed. Therefore, it’s essential to stay patient, provide comfort and support to your child, and work on developing healthy sleep habits and routines to help them navigate these phases successfully.

How long will sleep regression  last? Each one is different.  Some are due to changes happening in your baby, whereas some are due to changes within their life such as changes to their routines.

When should my baby be able to learn to self-settle? Around 4 months.  It is a great skill for your baby to learn (and you) because it helps them link sleep times together rather than waking up completely between each one.  It also should lead to less work from you.

Is there anything else I can do to help my baby sleep better? Make sure you look after yourself.  If you have a support network, now might be the time to rope them in. Learn to prioritise jobs and don’t sweat if your house is a little messier than you are used to.  Other parents will know the feeling.
With an older child you can look into foods that promote sleep and with any child you can make sure they get outside as much as possible, both to tire them out and to get lots of vitamin D which helps promote sleep as well.

Where can I go for more support? If you still feel you need more support, you can check out our   1 : 1 consultation services or our baby sleep guides or send us a message to see how else we can help.

There is a lot of information to look through, but take it one step at a time and deal with each sleep problem as it comes.  Being prepared should help make it all easier for you all but help is also available should you feel you need any extra support.

A baby sitting up on the bed with a smile on their face.

Ultimately my top tip is to remember that you can do this! I won’t lie and say it will always be easy, but just know that in the long run you are helping your baby learn a valuable skill and improving all of your sleep long term.

If you liked these tips and wanted to learn more about how to support your child to sleep at this age, my 5 star parent-rated, baby sleep guide for baby’s that are 3 to 18 months old is 

available here or why not purchase our sleep bundle to cover all sleep up until school here.

Separation Anxiety in Babies: Causes, Signs, and How to Help Them Through It

Separation Anxiety in Babies: Causes, Signs, and How to Help Them Through It

Separation anxiety is a natural and common developmental stage that babies go through. While it can be challenging for both babies and parents, understanding the causes and recognizing the signs of separation anxiety can help you support your baby through this stage. In this blog, we’ll discuss what separation anxiety is, why it happens, when it typically occurs, what you can do to help your baby, and how you can survive this phase as a parent.

mum feeling sad as her baby is going through separation anxiety

What is Separation Anxiety?

Separation anxiety is a normal and common developmental stage that babies go through, typically starting around 6 months of age. During this stage, babies can become distressed when separated from their primary caregivers, usually their parents. This can lead to crying, clinginess, and general fussiness when left with other caregivers, such as grandparents or babysitters. Separation anxiety is a sign that your baby is developing a healthy attachment to you and is starting to understand that you are a separate person from them.

Why Does Separation Anxiety Happen?

Separation anxiety happens as a result of emotional and cognitive development in babies. As babies grow and develop, they start to understand that they are separate from their caregivers and that their caregivers can leave them. This can lead to anxiety and distress when separated from their caregivers, as babies are unsure when their caregivers will return. Separation anxiety is a normal part of a baby’s emotional and cognitive development and is a sign that your baby is developing a healthy attachment to you.

mum playing with her baby both laughing and happy

What Can You Do to Help Your Baby with the separation anxiety?

Understanding what causes separation anxiety can help you support your baby through this stage. By starting small, creating a goodbye routine, staying calm and positive, and encouraging bonding with other caregivers, you can help your baby develop a sense of security and independence that will benefit them throughout their life.


  • Start Small: Practice leaving your baby with other caregivers for short periods, gradually increasing the amount of time you spend apart. This will help your baby get used to being away from you and will build their confidence and independence.
  • Create a Goodbye Routine: Develop a predictable and consistent goodbye routine that helps your baby understand that you will always come back. This can include saying goodbye with a hug and a kiss or leaving a special item, such as a blanket or a toy, with your baby. Learn more about routines in our detailed  age specific sleep guides here.
  • Stay Calm and Positive: Your baby can sense when you’re anxious or upset, which can make separation anxiety worse. Stay calm and positive when leaving your baby with other caregivers, and reassure your baby that you will return.
  • Encourage Bonding with Other Caregivers: Encouraging your baby to bond with other caregivers, such as grandparents or babysitters, can help them feel more secure when you’re not around. This can include spending time with other caregivers while you’re present, so your baby can get used to being with them.
  • Use Distractions: Before leaving your baby, provide them with a fun activity or toy that will keep them occupied and distracted while you’re away. This can help your baby associate your absence with positive experiences and can make the separation easier for both of you.
  • Stick to a Routine: Establishing a consistent routine can help your baby.
  • draw or Lipstick Kiss on Their Hand: Before your baby goes to sleep, draw or put a lipstick kiss on their hand and tell them to kiss it when they feel lonely. This will help your child feel connected to you even when you’re not around.
  • Give Them a Soft Toy to look after: Giving your baby a soft toy to look after can be a great distraction when you’re not around. Your baby will feel less lonely and more responsible for looking after their toy.
  • Give Them an Item of Your Clothing: Giving your baby an item of your clothing to sleep with can provide comfort and familiarity, as it will smell like you. This can help your baby feel more secure and less anxious when you’re not around. Make sure to follow safe sleep advice and dont leave any lose item in the cot for babies under one.
  • Create a Social Story Book: Make a book with pictures of your baby, their caregivers, and family members to create a story about your baby’s day. Include their activities, people they interact with, and their bedtime routine. You can also add comforting phrases or messages that can help them feel loved and cared for even when you’re not around.
  • Establish a Bedtime Routine: A consistent bedtime routine can help your baby feel more relaxed and comfortable at bedtime. Incorporate activities such as reading the social storybook together, singing lullabies, or playing calming music. Additionally, you can create a relaxing environment by dimming the lights and using a white noise machine. This routine can also help your baby feel more connected and secure, making it easier for them to fall asleep.
  • Play Peekaboo Games: Peekaboo games can help your baby understand that even when you’re not visible, you’re still there. You can play peekaboo by covering your face with your hands or a blanket and then revealing yourself, saying “Peekaboo!” This can help your baby learn that people can disappear and reappear, but they always come back.
  • Love Bombing: Spend quality time with your baby and give them lots of attention and affection when you’re together. This can help them feel loved and secure, even when you’re not physically present. Some ways to love bomb your baby include playing with them, reading to them, cuddling, and singing to them.
  • Use Comfort Objects Safely: While comfort objects can provide your baby with a sense of security, it’s important to use them safely. If your baby is under one year old and still sleeping in a cot, avoid leaving any loose objects such as blankets or soft toys in the cot with them. Instead, you can place the comfort object near the cot or use a sleep sack that doesn’t have any loose fabric. This can reduce the risk of suffocation and other sleep-related accidents. Check here for safe sleep advice to prevent SIDs.


We hope these tips can help you ease your baby’s separation anxiety and provide them with comfort and security when you’re not around. Remember, every baby is unique, and it may take some trial and error to find what works best for your little one. Be patient, consistent, and show them lots of love and attention, and they’ll soon learn that they are safe and loved.

If you need more support or have any questions, we’re here to help! You can contact us for one-on-one support or purchase our detailed sleep guide that includes more tips on how to manage separation anxiety and promote healthy sleep habits for your baby. We’re committed to helping you and your baby get the rest you both need and deserve.

Surviving 8 Week Sleep Regression with Your Baby

Surviving 8 Week Sleep Regression with Your Baby

As a Baby Sleep Coach, one thing I find parents quickly learn about feeling you are getting the hang of having a newborn and navigating their sleep patterns, is that you shouldn’t get too comfortable. Over the first few years of their life, your child will go through many regressions in their sleep. The best way to tackle this sleep turmoil is to be prepared and not to be blindsided when your good sleeper is suddenly a sleep avoider.

mum holding new born swaddled baby

But let me reassure you, it will not last forever and will eventually pass. It is important not to create new ‘bad habits’, so check the advice below on what you can do to survive the sleep regression at 8 weeks.A sleep regression is a period of time, usually lasting a few weeks, during which a baby or young child who previously slept well suddenly begins to wake up frequently during the night and have difficulty falling or staying asleep. Sleep regressions can occur at several different ages, including around 8 weeks, 4 months, 8 months, 12 months, 18 months, and 2 years old.

There is no scientific evidence to suggest that there is a specific “8-week sleep regression.” However, many parents report that their babies go through a period of disrupted sleep patterns around the 8-week mark.

During this time, babies may have trouble settling down to sleep, may wake up more frequently during the night, and may be more fussy or irritable during the day. This can be a challenging time for both parents and babies, as disrupted sleep can lead to exhaustion and stress.

Some possible reasons why babies may experience disrupted sleep around 8 weeks of age include growth spurts, developmental changes, or a shift in their circadian rhythms. However, every baby is different, and the exact cause of disrupted sleep patterns may vary from one baby to the next.

What age will my child go through a sleep regression?

  • 8 weeks
  • 4 months
  • 8 – 10 Months
  • 12 – 15 Months
  • 2 years

How long does sleep regression last?

The length of a sleep regression can vary depending on the individual child and the cause of the regression. Some sleep regressions may only last a few days or a week, while others may last for several weeks. But let me reassure you, it will not last forever and will eventually pass. It is important not to create new ‘bad habits’, so check the advice below on what you can do to survive the sleep regression at 8 weeks.

mum sitting in the chair holding a baby sleeping on her chest

So why is the sleep regression happening at 8 weeks?

It is roughly around the two month mark that your baby undergoes both physiological and hormonal changes because that is just a part of them growing up! This first one is due to the fact that all of the melatonin they had stored up from their mothers while in the womb is now switching to their own system where they begin to produce their own! You would probably think it was pretty amazing if you weren’t so tired. You know the term ‘sleepy newborn’? Well that is all about to change as they become more aware of their environment and the people in it and will become more alert to their surroundings. Now the world is becoming a much bigger place for them as their sight improves too, who wouldn’t want to take all of that in as much as they could?

Is this the new normal?

All those changes I said were happening to your baby right now are hear to start and are all part of your babies development. The frustration at having a baby who you won’t go back to sleep  however, will get easier.  Your baby will start producing their own melatonin, they will learn to settle themselves and to go back to sleep between periods of rest.  Also those nap times will increase, giving you a much needed break.

mum kissing her newborn  baby

What can I do to help my 8 week old during sleep regression?

As difficult as things may seem right now, I am here to tell you it isn’t all as depressing as it seems and to give you my top 4 survival tips.

1. Make changes to where they sleep.

Make sure you are making the night sleep vs day sleep very black and white. Keep your daytime interactions in brightly lit rooms. Make the awake time fun – lots to do, lots to see.  Nap time and bedtime is for settling down relaxing and ultimately aiming for a much deeper sleep with no distractions. The darkness will help the melatonin I mentioned your baby is trying their best to produce. A black out blind may help.

2. Avoid making changes to routine

Set your routine and stick with it. It isn’t going to instantly make things better because it’s a sleep regression but making changes or adding gadgets will mean your baby has too many things going on and will be more difficult to settle. Be strong, be consistent and your reward will come in the long run.

3. Create a calm sleeping environment

Make sure your baby’s sleeping environment is conducive to sleep. Keep the room dark, quiet, and at a comfortable temperature. Consider using a white noise machine or a soothing sound to help your baby relax.

4. Comfort your baby

When your baby wakes up at night, offer comfort without picking them up if possible. Use soothing words and gentle touches to help them relax and go back to sleep.

5. Practice safe sleep

Make sure your baby is sleeping in a safe environment, such as on their back in a crib with a firm mattress and fitted sheet.

6. Get support

Reach out to friends and family members for support during this challenging time. Consider hiring a childcare provider or asking a family member to watch your baby for a few hours so you can rest.

7. Take care of yourself

Try to get enough rest yourself by napping when your baby sleeps, eating healthy foods, and exercising regularly. Remember that taking care of yourself is essential to being a good parent.

8. Be patient

Remember that the 8-week sleep regression is a phase that will eventually pass. Be patient and keep trying different techniques to help your baby sleep better.

9. Bigger the baby the bigger the feed

Your baby has a growing belly, but it doesn’t mean they have realised that. If they are still taking the small feeds that their few day old self was eating, then it makes sense that they will wake up sooner hungrier because they weren’t full in the first place. This might mean a feed now will easily send them back to sleep, but if you are not doing feed on demand, then encouraging a bigger feed rather than a snack will help them to settle for longer. Check out my blog on whether Baby will sleep better if you give them an extra bottle.

10. Well-timed (and placed) naps

As I mentioned early, your sleepy newborn is slowly disappearing and their awake times are becoming more frequent. Your baby’s awake times should have been extended from when they were first born and you can gradually increase the time they are awake to prevent them from being under-tired and therefore waking up too soon, or not resettling once they are awake. Doing this gradually will hopefully prevent them going too far the other way and becoming overtired and struggling to even get them to sleep.


Hopefully these tips will help you to survive having an unsettled baby. Pick your schedule, add in some white noise, consider swaddling if you don’t already and most importantly – stick with it. Their melatonin won’t increase in a day but with these tips you can give your baby the best possible chance to get through the first sleep regression and hopefully save your sanity.

If you liked these tips and wanted to learn more about how to support your child to sleep at this age, my 5 star parent-rated, baby sleep guide for baby’s that are 0 – 3 months old is available here or why not purchase our sleep bundle to cover all sleep up until school here.


Have you downloaded your freebie yet? Top 10 Baby Sleep Coach Tips To Help Your Baby Sleep Better Guide! If not, then make sure to click here.

For more advice on how to help your baby sleep and find a baby sleep solution that works for you and your family, you can check out our
 1 : 1 consultation services or our new baby sleep guides which come with free access to my Sleepy Village Facebook community for easy access to get your questions answered.

How can I help my baby sleep through Fireworks?

How can I help my baby sleep through Fireworks?

A night with fireworks can be a stressful time for anyone with children or pets and as the weather turns colder we know that Bonfire Night and New Year’s Eve are both just around the corner.  You may worry how your baby or toddler will get a good night’s sleep while the noise from the fireworks is going on outside so I have come up with some top tips for helping your baby, and you, get a good night’s sleep using my experience as a baby sleep coach.

mum reading books to her daughter at bedtime before she goes to sleep

1. Time your baby’s sleep just right.  

The deeper the sleep your baby is in, the less likely it is that the bangs and screeches outside will disturb them.  For parents, this might mean moving your child’s routine slightly earlier so that they will be asleep early enough to have fallen into a deep sleep long before the fireworks begin.

2. Let them know what is happening.

If your child is a bit older, you can prepare them by explaining about the loud noises that they may hear if they do happen to wake up in the night. Let them know that it is nothing to worry about and they are fine to go back to sleep.  You may even want to show your child some videos or sounds of the fireworks on quiet to put it into a more simple context for them.

3. Change up your bookshelf

As well as the examples above for aiding your child’s understanding, you could team this with sharing a few books with your child about the dark and fireworks celebrations to help illustrate the point that fireworks are not scary and the noises are nothing to fear.  You can show them pictures of fireworks to show how beautiful they can be and also show illustrations of children enjoying a fireworks display.

family watching fireworks

4. Disguise the noise

What makes a white noise machine so great is that is can hide any ambient noises (especially surprise or sudden and unusual ones as referenced in this study on the effect of noise on sleep) that might otherwise wake your child during the night.  Consider using one if you don’t already and maybe even turn it up so they have the subtle sounds of white noise to fall asleep to, rather than the potentially more scary sounds of loud fireworks going off.   You can read the pros and cons of white noise here.

5. Keep the routine the same

It may be tempting to shorten or skip naps in the hope your baby will go to sleep a little earlier, but it’s the consistency of their routine, as well as making sure they don’t become too over-tired, that will help your child to sleep as they normally would.

6. Plan food for sleep

Did you know that some foods can help your child to have a good nights sleep? Make your bonfire night tea and snacks up of foods that contain melatonin, vitamin B6 and vitamin C to help aid sleep.  For more information, read our earlier blog on foods that will help your baby sleep better.

father reassuring his child lying in the cot stroking his baby's head

7. Be prepared for bed

If you are wanting to enjoy some firework festivities, then go fully prepared with things your child needs for bedtime.  Get them changed into their pyjamas and complete any other of your usual night time activities before you leave the celebrations, and you might be lucky enough that they fall asleep on the way home and then be able to transfer them straight to bed.  For children who wake up when you transfer them, do a shortened version of your usual night time routine with them to send them back soundly to sleep. You could try playing an audiobook on the car drive home to replace their bedtime story, for instance. Hopefully combined with the previous tips, your child will find that even though it is bonfire night that sleep comes as easily to them as any other night.

8. Stay calm and control your emotions

Probably the most important tip is to think about how you react yourself.  Your child will sense your anxieties or frustrations, so let them wash over your head so your child can feel calm, relaxed and positive, just like you.  Just remember, fireworks do not last forever and normal sleep will resume before you know it.  Also don’t fuss or assume your child will be frightened as this will actually encourage this to be true.


Hopefully you will find that these tips will ease your fireworks night worries but if you need any extra information about getting your child to sleep on any other night of the year why not check out my sleep guides or you can check out our  1 : 1 consultation services 

Have you downloaded your freebie yet? Top 10 Baby Sleep Coach Tips To Help Your Baby Sleep Better Guide! If not, then make sure to click here.


  1. Lee et al, ‘Effect of Noise on Sleep and Autonomic Activity in Children according to Source’ (National library of Medicine, 09 August 2021) <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8476937/> accessed 31 October 2022.

F Jiang, ‘Sleep and Early Brain Development’ (Karger, June 2020) <https://www.karger.com/Article/FullText/508055> accessed 31 October 2022

Why is My Child Waking Early?

Why is My Child Waking Early?

As a baby sleep coach and parent, I know that some of the scariest questions you can hear when raising a child are “Is your baby a good sleeper?” and “Does your child sleep through the night?”.  It becomes the standard by which we judge our parenting – whether we get a good night’s sleep, or whether the bags under our eyes tell a very different tale. You begin to wonder how others seem to manage it while you feel doomed to restless nights and early mornings and even though you have to remember that every child is different, there are a few things that you can do to try and make supporting your child to sleep through the night easier for your family.

stressed mum wit child jumping on the sofa

So Why Does My Child Wake up Early?

Your child may be waking up for many different reasons.  Some of these are easily solvable but here are some of the most common. 

1. Do you really know much your child needs to sleep?

Too much sleep during the day when it comes to nap time may be the reason your child doesn’t need as much as you were hoping they would at night.

 2. Is their bedtime the right time?

If as above they only need a set number of hours sleep, then if there bedtime is not right they could already be getting all the sleep they need and that is why they are waking up early.

3. Old habits are hard to crack.

If your child had adjusted their body clocks to waking up at a certain time then it may have become natural to them.  With a little patience though, these habits can be broken.

4. Check your child’s environment.

Check if there is something else that happens at the same time as your child wakes up.  Maybe the heating comes on at that time and the radiator makes a noise or maybe it’s the time light comes streaming in.   Checking for things in your child’s environment means you can rule another possible cause out.

5. Is your child still comfortable?  

A full nappy or hunger pangs  maybe what is waking them up if they have had too much to drink or too little to eat before bed. 

6. Did your child have a good day?

Your child may wake up unsettled by something that happened during the day that may have upset them or frustrated them

7. Are genetics the problem?

If your child is a morning person then they may have got it from their parents. It may just be something that runs in the family

8. Is it possible that my child is just an early riser?

Early rising could definitely just be a part of who they are.  For some children it is natural for them to wake up and be ready to start the day bright and early. Their biological clock might just be set earlier than other children and unfortunately after everything else has been ruled out it may just be something you will have to work out a new life routine around.  Just remember though, it won’t last forever.   Children’s sleep patterns change all the time but until then, a few changes to your own routine to help you cope with the early mornings will probably be the best way forward.

However before you resign your life to seeing more sunrises than you’d like, bellow are some of the things you can do you to help with early rising.

little boy ready in bed for his bedtime routine

So What Can I Do To Stop my Child Waking Early?


1. Is your child up when the sun is up?

With a little investigation at the right times, you can check how much light is coming into your child’s room and where it is landing.  Light equals day time which to a child equals playtime so keep it out of your room until you are ready and consider a blackout blind if needed.

2. Did you check for environmental noises that might be creating an early alarm clock?

It may take you getting up a little bit before your child’s usual wake up time to spot it but it will be worth it to hear those noisy radiators that come alive when the heating comes on.  By doing this it may be obvious exactly what it waking your child up and you have a problem to be fixed. A white noise machine might help disguise any environmental noises and prevent them from becoming an alarm clock for your child.

3. Are you keeping the mornings calm and steady?

If as soon as your child wakes up they have a full on morning of their favourite things, then there is no wonder your child wants to jump right out of bed and start their day.  Having a calm morning routine, making sure they get dressed and ready for the day and then doing relaxing and none strenuous activities like colouring, reading or simple puzzles are less likely to encourage your child to rush out of bed unlike ‘rewarding’ them with watching TV at 5am.

4. Is your child is waking up because of hunger?

Then later or more fuller evening meals may help.  This may mean you have to decrease snacks to try and encourage them to eat more substantial food in the evening. Here are some sleepy foods you should introduce in their evening meals.

5. Have you assessed your child’s sleep routines?

Too early to bed may mean that they have already had all the sleep they need by the time they get up at silly o’clock in the morning.  Adding an extra hour to their bedtime might get you that extra hour you crave in the morning. You can check your child’s sleep needs here. Maybe it’s the opposite and your child is too late to bed. Being overtired means your child is not getting a good nights sleep and it is more likely to be restless rather than fall into the deep sleep they really need.

Creating a relaxing environment for your child to chill and get in the right frame of mind ready for bed is going to promote a much less stressful situation.  Activities like colouring or reading are perfect because they avoid screens and don’t over-excite your child into having an additional burst of energy just before you want them to drift off to sleep.

7. While we are on the subject of sleep patterns, does your child really still need a nap for that long?

Or even a nap at all for that matter.  If your child only needs 10 hours sleep and they are already having 2 during the day then maybe they only need 8 at night time and that’s why they are waking up earlier than you would like.  This may take a bit of trial and error but hopefully as you attempt new sleep patterns it shouldn’t take long to see a difference one way or another and for you to know that this could be the problem.  Don’t get into a bad cycle of needing early naps because they have risen early and then needing an early bedtime because that is going to create bad habits and suck you into a terrible cycle.

tired baby yawning

How To Stop Your Child from Waking Early?

This blog is just the tip of the iceberg for how to analyse your baby, toddler or child’s sleep behaviours to identify the cause of their early rising and support them to sleep until a more reasonable hour. To find out more information on how to recognise the best method and solutions to use to stop your child from waking up early based on their individual behaviours and sleep patterns, I have recently released my Early Rising Sleep Guide which is an affordable way to get expert sleep coach advice tailored to your child. Find the guide in the baby sleep coach shop here. 

introductory offer – use coupon Early20


Have you downloaded your freebie yet? Top 10 Baby Sleep Coach Tips To Help Your Baby Sleep Better Guide! If not, then make sure to click here.

For more advice on how to help your baby sleep and find a baby sleep solution that works for you and your family, you can check out our
 1 : 1 consultation services or our new baby sleep guides which come with free access to my Sleepy Village Facebook community for easy access to get your questions answered.

Surviving Baby & Toddler Jet Lag

Surviving Baby & Toddler Jet Lag

Pre-kids, avoiding jet lag usually meant that you would force yourself to stay awake until your new destinations ‘night-time’ and book yourself an extra day’s rest on your return to recover. However, when you have a baby or toddler staying awake is a whole different story. Here are some of our Baby Sleep Coach top tips for surviving baby and toddler jet lag.

Pre-kids, avoiding jet lag usually meant that you would force yourself to stay awake until your new destinations ‘night-time’ and book yourself an extra day’s rest on your return to recover. However, when you have a baby or toddler staying awake is a whole different story. Here are some of our Baby Sleep Coach top tips for surviving baby and toddler jet lag.

landing aeroplane in the blue skies

When is the best flight time with a Baby or Toddler?

When booking your holiday in addition to considering the cost of your flights, you might want to consider the flight timings and how this will affect your little one. Every baby or toddler has their own sleep patterns, so there are a few factors to consider:

  • Booking a flight that lands close to bedtime:

This will mean that on arrival you can start your bedtime routine (bath, milk, story etc) and they will be able to recognise the signs that bedtime is approaching. Try to keep them awake on the last few hours of the flight – ideally the similar number of hours they would normally have between the last nap and bed.

  • Booking a flight that lands in the morning:

If your baby or toddler usually sleeps well whilst travelling, this might be ideal for you. If you can get your little one to have a decent length of sleep on the plane and create some darkness, this will help them to adjust on waking to the ‘new’ morning.

baby sleeping in hotel room

How to help your Baby or Toddler Sleep on Holiday

The first night’s sleep on holiday is always the hardest! Accept that your little one may be disturbed during the night and don’t stay up too late yourself in case there are regular wakings – you want to enjoy your first full day too!

Try to replicate your usual bedtime routine as much as possible, keeping the room dark or dimly lit will help if they wake early and are struggling to get back to sleep. Whilst it’s tempting to bring them into your bed and let them watch a phone or tablet whilst you snooze, do your utmost to avoid blue light as this can disturb their sleep patterns further. 

Ideally, you don’t want to ‘get up’ before your usual morning time, as this will help give the impression that we are back on schedule. If that includes some sleepy cuddles in bed or some quiet activities such as reading a story, this is okay too.

This Baby Sleep Coach article on How To Get Baby To Sleep Whilst Travelling is filled with expert advice on helping your little one sleep whilst on holiday.

baby sleeping in the pram

How do I manage naps for my baby or toddler on Holiday?

If you have had a rough first night away, it’s okay to let your baby or toddler sleep in a little although try not to go more than 2 hours over the usual wake-up time to avoid disturbing nap patterns. 

When you wake on the first day, make sure you spend it outside! The sunshine’s dose of Vitamin D is vital in helping reset the body clock, so whilst there might be some great indoor facilities or you might want to head near the kids club to have a relaxing day for the grown-ups – don’t be tempted! 

Try to keep naptimes as close to your at-home routine as possible, you’ll know yourself whether your child is willing to sleep in a pram on the move or would be more settled in a cot. Do whichever you think will work best for them whilst they settle into this new environment.

family with a child eating at the restaurant

Should I change food timings on Holiday for my Baby or Toddler?

The most important answer to this question is that you keep your little one hydrated, especially if you have flown to somewhere much hotter. When we’re on holiday, many hotels or similar offer food options over a set period of time, usually your little one’s feeding slot will fall into these quite nicely. However, if you find that your mealtime needs to be slightly later (if they are used to eating at nursery at 4 pm, for instance) then try to give them a light snack around the usual mealtime to keep them satisfied until you get your meal.

If your baby is on breastmilk or formula then, try to stick to your usual pattern but accept they will need more hydration and prepare yourself to feed them more often.

If your weaned baby or toddler seems to be struggling with new times, give them a light snack before bed – preferably non-sugary although this can be harder to avoid when not at home. Find some sleepy foods here that might spark inspiration for a bedtime snack.

African baby sleeping on his side

How do I avoid ruining my baby or toddler’s sleep routine when I return home?

Consider your return flights the same way you consider your outbound flights and try to accommodate the last day of naps and sleep around what (if any) sleep you might prefer them to have on the plane.

When away, it’s common to juggle schedules to get time for a little evening entertainment or a longer sleep in the morning when you don’t have work to get up for. On your return, you’re best advised to immediately ‘return to normal’. This will set the tone that ‘we are home now, back to business as usual’ with your little one. Like us, they will likely be happy to be back in the familiarity of their own bed and back in their regular routine in no time.

For more advice relating to this blog, why not check out my Top Ten Tips for Travelling with a Baby or Toddler?



Have you downloaded your freebie yet? Top 10 Baby Sleep Coach Tips To Help Your Baby Sleep Better Guide! If not, then make sure to click here.

For more advice on how to help your baby sleep and find a baby sleep solution that works for you and your family, you can check out our
 1 : 1 consultation services or our new baby sleep guides which come with free access to my Sleepy Village Facebook community for easy access to get your questions answered.