This blog is all about coping when your little one is waking really early every morning, every day.
I’m going to be going through three key things that you can use to get through this while you are working on the strategies I shared in the last two blogs about how to actually overcome this problem, and get your little one sleeping beyond 6:00 AM every morning. But, I understand that that can take some time, and so, this is for you whilst you’re going through that.
Tip number one for you on how to cope when your little one is waking really early for the day is to try to take turns in being the parent that gets up if possible. Now, I understand that’s not possible if you’re on your own, but if you’re not alone, if somebody else can take a turn either every other day or every few days so that you can rest and have a little bit longer in bed, it makes all the difference because once you get up, it’s really hard to go back to sleep. And even if your little one goes back to sleep, it’s so difficult for you to then go back to sleep. It’s like you’re almost waiting in anticipation. So. You almost do have to resign yourself to the fact that you’re going to be awake now to some level for the day, and having somebody else that can go and take their time with that.
Just knowing, psychologically knowing, that it’s not my turn today, I can stay in bed. Just by staying, laying down, and keeping your eyes closed even if you are awake and can hear what’s going on, you’re more likely to, first of all, fall back to sleep, and second of all, you’re also more likely to get some degree of better rest than if you actually get up. So, knowing that somebody else can take care of it and that you can just rest is better than nothing. I actually quite like the two days on two days off pattern. And so, if you could take those kinds of times with a partner, then that could be great because then you get two solid nights where you know that you do not need to get up and respond and that you can wake up when you are ready to start the day, or at least after 6:00 AM.
Take turns, if you can. If you can’t, if you are on your own, if you’re a single parent, then is there an occasion or perhaps once a week could you have a relative come and stay with you or a good friend come and stay with you? Or could you go and stay with somebody that would be willing to help and take a turn? Even if it is just once a week on a weekend and give you that little bit of extra rest. It’s not as powerful as if you can do this every other night or every couple of nights, but it’s better than nothing, and it’s really worth asking for that help.
The second thing that you can definitely, definitely do is grab a nap in the day. Now, I know that sounds simple, and I can already hear you going, yeah, if only it was that easy. It’s not easy, is it? It’s not easy to go, right quick, okay, here’s an opportunity, little ones to sleep. I’m going to go to sleep. And I have talked about this in other episodes. We don’t just go, oh yeah, just go to sleep. It’s not that simple, but if we just dismiss it and we don’t even try, then we are definitely not going to get that sleep. Here’s what I recommend. Take that opportunity when it comes, when your little one’s having a nap, and the opportunity is there. Do not pick up your phone, do not do the laundry, do not do anything. Just stop. Go and sit down somewhere quiet. Dim the lights, make it dark, sit back or lie down even, rest your head, put your feet up, close your eyes and do some nice deep breathing. If you are good at meditating, then do that.
If you’re not, you’re quite a busy minded person, then just let your thoughts flow, but just breathe and really focus on taking those breaths because I know it sounds woo woo, but it’s so powerful just taking those deep breaths, and letting it all go will put you into such a great state of relaxation, which stands you in good stead for a possible nap. Now you might not nap. You might not fall asleep, but the very fact that you’re lying down, you have your feet raised, you have your eyes closed. You will be in a state of rest. That’s better than if you weren’t doing that. So do that as a minimum. And if you can take a nap, take a nap. You’ll know when your baby wakes. They’ll let you know when they need you. And if you can just catch a few Zs, it will help. It will benefit you.
In some cultures, it’s normal to do that every day anyway. It’s actually really, really good for our bodies. We’re not really designed to be awake for the whole day in one stretch and then have all our sleep consolidated into one chunk at night. We’re actually not as humans supposed to do that. That’s just culturally what we do.
I have got another tip for you. My third tip on coping with early wakings is to go to bed early. And that, again, can be really hard because you think, oh God, I’ve just had a hectic day. I finally got the little one to bed. I just want some me-time. I just want to unwind and binge some TV, or social media, or chat to a friend, or just have some time for myself. Well, yes, but you got to weigh up the cost. And if you are doing what I taught in the last two episodes, and you are finding and overcoming this early rising problem, then you’re not a million miles away from this being over.
Would it hurt in the short term to just say, do you know what, I’m tired. And if you are tired, just go, I’m going to bed. And take an audiobook or a podcast with you if that’s what you like to do, but be all ready for bed so that if you nod off, you can go, enough, put it down and just go to sleep. Get to sleep earlier. Catch your Zs so that you are energized, and ready to then implement what you need to do as a parent to help your little one overcome these early wakings with that consistent response to the early waking when it inevitably happens somewhere between 4:00 and 5:00 AM the next morning.
You can do this. Three simple things there that you can do. Take turns in the early morning response. Grab a nap in the day or at least a good rest wherever possible, and get yourself to bed early. They are simple, but yet it sounds like common sense, but it just hardly ever is common practice.
I’ve given it to you now, so make sure that you go and do that. Get yourself some rest, and you’ll be out the other side of this before you know it. Take care, and sleep soundly.
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