Baby wakes at 5am should i feed

How To Do Them & Wean Baby Off Them – WavHello

Written by: Rachel Norman 

Sometimes the things that make the most difference with babies are the hardest to do. They feel the most inconvenient.

I remember many nights where I wanted to dive into bed and skip the dream feed. I would climb in bed, crash, then be woken up 20 minutes later to a hungry and crying baby. After a while, it simply wasn’t worth it.

Same with the early morning feeds. They are hard to do! It’s hard to wake up at 5:00 a.m. and feed baby but if it means baby goes back to sleep until 7 a.m. it’s worth it!

If you want baby to begin sleeping through the night on his or her own then dream feeds and early morning feeds are things to work on.

Often we’re tempted to go to bed when baby does and keep sleeping until baby wakes up. However, if you want baby to sleep later in the morning you need to feed more often in the beginning of the evening.

Big snack/feed before bed

One thing that’s very important is to fill baby’s belly (not overfill) before bed. If your baby is overtired you may notice that he falls asleep while taking his last feed before bed. The more you can feed your baby right before bed the better he will sleep in those deeply restorative hours prior to midnight.

If baby isn’t full when he goes to bed, baby can wake up around the 11 p.m. to 12 a.m. time, and this is the time that night waking can be very tricky! Baby got just enough sleep he will think he can stay up, he is hungry so he wakes, and he isn’t used to getting himself back to sleep. You now have a baby who is fighting sleep, and that’s a baby that will be cranky and overtired.

If you can feed a full feed of milk this will help immensely. It’ll help baby go to sleep for a longer stretch initially. which will mean it’s restorative sleep. Then if baby wakes up due to habit or hunger, he won’t be nearly as fussy because the sleep he’s had will have made a difference.

Remember: it’s much easier for babies to transition through active and passive sleep if they aren’t overtired.

Dream Feed

Another invaluable tool is the dream feed. This is the feed that happens somewhere between 10:00 pm and 11:00 pm that you do before you go to sleep. Gently get your baby and feed him as much as he will take at this time.

Then it’s a good idea for you to go immediately to bed. This helps the baby sleep a longer stretch at the same time you are, and it helps baby reach the morning with fewer feeds.

In my experience with 5 kids, the dream feed is the last one to be dropped. If baby routinely makes it from that last feed, somewhere around 10 p.m. or 11 p.m., until the morning then I work to drop that feed. Always attempt to wean from a middle of the night feed before the dream feed.

Early Morning Feeds

It’s a good idea to feed baby around the 4:30 a.m. or 5 a.m. mark without fully waking baby. Feed baby in the dark and quiet, then put baby back down to bed until a later hour if desired. IF baby seems to wake up at 5 a.m. and won’t go back to sleep, try waking baby at 4 a.m. with a feed then putting him back down to sleep a bit later.

The more baby has eaten throughout the early evening, the longer baby will sleep in the morning.

White noise is key when baby is feeding. If baby uses the SoundBub white noise machine for all naps, he’ll be more likely to remain drowsy and go back to sleep on his own when he is transitioning through active and passive sleep cycles.

SoundBub is also compatible with WavHello’s VoiceShare app which allows you to record messages, family members’ voices, and even to play favorite songs and playlists via Bluetooth.

The SoundBub white noise machine is perfect for the nursery or when you’re on the go because it’s hide away hook can clip easily onto strollers, car seats, and even baby carriers.

This post is part of an 8-post series:

Part 1: What To Focus On During The First Week With A Newborn

Part 2: The Importance Of Swaddling: How And Why

Part 3: How To Create A Wind-Down Routine For Baby

Part 4: The Sleep Window: How To Recognize Baby’s Sleep Cues

Part 5: Classic Signs Of Overtiredness And How To Prevent It

Part 6: A Surefire Way To Help Baby Sleep More Soundly

Part 7: Early Morning and Dream Feeds: How To Do Them And Wean Baby Off Them (you are here)

Part 8: The Art Of Teaching Baby To Sleep On Their Own


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5-6 AM "Night" Wakings - Babywise Mom

Do you want your baby to sleep longer through the night? This post outlines ways to get your baby to sleep through the night. How to help your baby sleep through the night and stop waking up in the 5-6 am hour.

A really difficult time to navigate is the time when your baby starts to wake in the night around 5-6 AM. Most babies will land here for some period of time as they extend their night sleep. What was once a clear night waking around 2-3 AM extends to the 5-6 AM hour, leaving many parents wondering what to do. Do you count that as a night feeding? The first morning feeding? What do I do? How long will this last?

Post Contents

  • How long will this night waking last?
  • Strategies to Stop Night Wakings
  • Strategy 1: Treat like a night feeding.
  • Strategy 2: Slowly wean from the 5-6 AM feeding
  • Strategy 3: Slowly delay feeding time at the 5-6 AM feeding
  • Strategy 4: Treat it like your first feeding of the day
  • Strategy 5: Cry it out or other method to break 5-6 AM waking

How long will this night waking last?

Of course it is impossible to say! Of my four children, all of them did this for some length of time. The time has ranged from mere days to weeks. I don’t have a way to predict it for you. No matter how long it is, you will want a strategy of what to do when it happens.

Important Note

Please note, it is very important that you start your day at a consistent time. Babywise heavily stresses starting your day consistently–it states to not underestimate the importance of this for reaching your sleeping through the night goals.

You can always change what your desired waketime is (if you are able–people who work or have children in school are more confined to a range). So your first goal may have been 7 AM, but you move it back to 8 AM (I have done this). That is okay.

Whatever time it is, be consistent. What you don’t want to do is feed at 6 AM and then let baby sleep until whenever. Let’s talk strategies to stop these night wakings.

Strategies to Stop Night Wakings

Below are five different strategies to stop the night wakings and get baby sleeping through the night.

Strategy 1: Treat like a night feeding.

The first thing I do when this starts is treat it like a night feeding. I feed at that 5-6 AM time, then put baby straight back down. When I feed baby at that time, I act just as I do in the night (minimal socializing–I don’t want to establish night feedings as a social call). I keep the baby swaddled up and put her right back down when she is done.

Then what? Then I get baby up as close to our desired waketime as possible. So if our goal is 7:30 AM, I will stick to the “30 minute window” rule and get baby up at 8 AM and do an official first feed with morning waketime and all of the socializing we want.

Then we adjust our schedule throughout the day to get back on our exact desired feeding times. I like to adjust it over the course of the day so that bedtime stays consistent. Sometimes I keep things 30 minutes off until the early evening because baby often will eat sooner at that time of day more eagerly than around lunch.

You will know this is the best strategy for your baby if your baby still eats that first feeding of the day. Brayden was like this. He would eat at that 5-6 AM hour and then still eat for his first feeding as though he hadn’t eaten all night. Because of that, I was confident his body needed to eat at both times. We just stuck with this method until he suddenly started sleeping past that feeding and making it to his 7 AM start time.

If baby refuses to eat for that first feeding, or doesn’t eat well, it is time for a different strategy. See ideas below. There is no one right way of the ideas below. They all have merit, pros, and cons. Choose what you think sounds like the best idea for you and your family–or make up your own

For help on starting the day, see:

  • Consistent Schedule: Start Your Day Right
  • What Time Should I Start My Day

For information on bedtime, see:

  • Consistent Bedtime

Strategy 2: Slowly wean from the 5-6 AM feeding

I am a big proponent of weaning from things. I find it works well for my personality and is a gentle and easy method for the baby. This is the method I used with Kaitlyn. This works well if you are in a situation where you don’t want a crying baby to wake up a sibling or your spouse (or neighbor).

Since I breastfeed, this is how I did it once she stopped eating well for her first feeding of the day. When she woke in the 5-6 AM hour, I breastfed her as normal. Her average eating time was 10 minutes per side at the time. As time went on, I cut back to 7 minutes on one side, then five, then I did the same for the other side. Then I cut out one side completely. She then started sleeping through. A big bonus for the breastfeeding mom is that your body slowly adjusts your milk so you don’t wake up totally engorged. I believe the entire process took about two weeks.

If you bottlefeed, you could reduce the number of total ounces over time.

Strategy 3: Slowly delay feeding time at the 5-6 AM feeding

Another idea you can try is to slowly delay what time this feeding happens. If you do this, you will be treating the 5-6 AM feeding like a first feeding of the day. Say your baby is waking around 6 AM and your desired waketime is 7 AM. In this case, you wouldn’t really want to feed, then feed 1.5 hours later. 1.5 hours would not be long enough for baby to be hungry. You could decide you would rather an 8 AM waketime and go for that, but you might also really prefer 7 AM for some reason.

In this instance, delaying the feeding can be effective. You can do this in many ways:

  • You can distract baby for a short time before feeding. You can give the baby a pacifier, hold baby, change baby’s diaper, etc. The idea here is to wait about 10 minutes and then feed baby. Your hope is to get baby used to eating a bit later and then therefore sleep a bit later after a few days. This doesn’t always work, so I would give it 3-7 days before trying something new if this is your preference.
  • You can try to get baby to go back to sleep. You can do this with a pacifier, by rocking, by patting baby, by putting baby in a swing, etc. If baby won’t fall asleep, feed baby. If baby does fall asleep, she will likely only sleep for 30-60 minutes before waking again. Sometimes that is all you need to get baby closer to your desired waketime. Just like the delay method listed above, this hope of doing this is that baby will get used to eating later and the metabolism will adjust so that baby will sleep later on her own.

Strategy 4: Treat it like your first feeding of the day

When it is close to your starting time, you might just treat it like your first feeding. So say you want to start at 7:30, but your baby is awake at 6:30. You just feed her, then play, then put her down for a nap.

From here, you can let her go longer between this feed and the next to get back on track. So say she usually feeds again at 10:30 and then 1:30. You could get her up at 10:00 AM, then 1:30. Then you are back on track. I have even gone from the 6:30 to the 10:30 before if the baby is still asleep.

If you do this strategy, you will most likely be dropping a feeding in your 24 hour period, so be sure your baby is old enough for dropping down a feeding. If you are unsure about how many feedings your baby should have, see:

  • Your Babywise Baby: First Year Overview

If your baby is not old enough to drop a feeding and yet you like this strategy best, go ahead and feed more often in the day so you get an extra feeding in the day. For example, you might be down to a 2.5 hour schedule instead of a 3 hour schedule.

A concern with this strategy is that baby will get used to waking at 6:30 instead of 7:30 like you prefer. I think this is a valid concern and this is why it is lower on my list of strategies. Sometimes it is the only thing that makes sense, though. I have used it at times on various children and it hasn’t ever sent us into chronic early wakings. If you do find yourself in this position, implement my time
change strategies:

  • Time Change Strategies
  • Time Change Strategies (again) 
  • Shifting Your Schedule {Time Change, Time Zones, etc.}

Strategy 5: Cry it out or other method to break 5-6 AM waking

I list this last because it is the last method I would try, and I actually haven’t ever gotten to this point. My other strategies have fixed it fast enough for me. I want to be positive the baby doesn’t need to eat at that time in the night before trying to force it to be dropped.

If you are sure the baby is not hungry at the time she is waking, you might want to try cry it out (CIO). Only do so if you have through it through and are sure it is the right move. There is no benefit to CIO if you are going to do it then stop, then do it then stop. There is no benefit if you won’t be consistent about it. There is no benefit if the baby is waking from hunger.

If the baby is not waking from hunger, there are many people who have used this with success. It is typically a faster solution–taking a few days only in most cases.

>>>Read: Early Morning Wakings: What to do when baby wakes early

If you do decide to do CIO, start, and suspect it was actually not the right strategy, it is absolutely okay to stop and try a different strategy. Be as sure as you can before starting, but you are a human and as such are capable of making mistakes. You have no way of predicting the future. Sometimes as parents we make the wrong call–that’s normal.

For more on this topic, see my post on How to Get Your Child to Sleep In Later in the Morning.

  • What To Do When Baby is Not Sleeping Through the Night
  • Early Morning Feedings Before Waketime
  • Consistent Schedule: Start Your Day Right
  • What Time Should I Start My Day
  • Consistent Bedtime
  • Time Change Strategies
  • Time Change Strategies (again) 
  • Your Babywise Baby: First Year Overview
  • Shifting Your Schedule {Time Change, Time Zones, etc.}

The child wakes up early in the morning - Why does the baby wake up at 5 o'clock in the morning and what to do?

"Early Birds" or my child wakes up very early in the morning.

Many babies do wake up very early, to the chagrin of their parents, who would love to sleep an hour or two more. Let's figure out if your baby is really an "early bird" and what can be done to allow yourself and him to sleep some more time in the morning?

Too early - what time is it?

We believe that waking up between 6 am and 7. 30 am corresponds to the body's biological rhythms. All awakenings that occur before 6 am, we consider early awakenings.

Why do children wake up so early in the morning?

Waking up early, at 5 or 5.30 am, is quite common in children of all ages. Children who wake up early become tired and moody already in the first half of the day. As paradoxical as it sounds, the reason for waking up early is late bedtime. They wake up early not because they are alert and ready to start the day, but because they don't get enough sleep.

If your child gets up before 6 o'clock, he may be overtired. Overtired children do not sleep as well and for a long time as well-rested ones. Your baby may be:

- Going to bed too late

- Not getting enough sleep during the day

- Staying awake too long between the last nap and night

- Going to bed too sleepy. If this is the case, then the child will not be able to fall asleep on his own when he is a little more awake, for example, at 5 am.

What is important to know about early awakenings?

Please note that early wakeups may take more than one week to correct. And the older the baby, the stronger the habit of waking up early. Start making adjustments as soon as possible!

If you correct early awakenings, keeping the correct sleep conditions becomes very important! Consider dark curtains, silence, and minimizing entertainment and distractions in the morning. The level of melatonin in the blood in the morning is at a minimum level, so falling asleep in the morning is much more difficult than in the evening.

Figure out if the child wakes up in a good or bad mood. Does the child wake up hungry? Maybe the baby is cold? Or does a wet diaper cause discomfort?


Baby Sleep Lessons
0-7 years old


How to move early morning awakenings?

Start with put the baby to bed before . Move the bedtime a few minutes earlier each day until the child goes to bed between 7pm andto 20. This time is best for most children under 5 years old.

Make sure your child gets enough sleep during the day. If children are less tired and feel better during the day, then nighttime sleep in such children is better.

Respond quickly to your baby's cry or call. If you let him scream or cry, he will wake up even more. Quickly go up to him and say "It's not time to get up yet", "Mom and dad are still sleeping", do not turn on the light, do not draw back the curtains, give him his favorite toy and calm him down, hug him if necessary, but do not take him out of the crib.

Plan your response. With small children, we usually recommend staying in the child's room. But at the age of over a year, it is better for you to leave the room, especially if the child sleeps in a crib without walls. If you stay, this may stimulate the child to communicate with you, he may try to get up, climb on your lap. Check in with him every 15-20 minutes until he falls asleep.

Come up with a morning ritual

You need a morning ritual, just like you have evening ritual before going to bed . The main task is for the baby to understand that he gets up because it is morning, and not because he was naughty.

Free Webinar Sleep Baby Early Birds

Early awakenings in older children.

In many families, toddlers wake up at 6 o'clock rested and happy, but their parents, who are used to getting up at 7 or 8, are not very happy about this. Try to arrange with the child to play quietly in his room or look at books before you come and pick him up. Praise him if he does it, but don't scold him if he doesn't. This is a difficult skill for children of this age. He misses his mom and dad because he hasn't seen them all night, he might be hungry, thirsty, or his diaper is wet.

If a child gets up at 6 naughty and irritable, then it is too early for him. See if he has signs of lack of sleep and try to get him to sleep half an hour or an hour longer. For example, agree with him that "morning" comes when the morning music, or the morning lamp, is turned on. And until that moment, the baby should lie in the crib and sleep, because it is “night”. The morning signal can be an alarm clock with a pleasant quiet melody, or a lamp with a timer. It is very likely that while the baby is waiting for the morning signal, he will fall asleep again. Just do not set the timer immediately at 7.30 in the morning, first teach your baby to sleep until 6.15, then gradually start the “alarm clock” at a later time.
And of course don't forget to put him to bed in the evening between 7 pm and 8 pm and ensure enough sleep during the day.

Get Up Early Melatonin Mode Overwork

Lack of Sleep Physiology0003 90,000 child wakes up early | Causes of early awakening of babies





Author children

“It rises before dawn,” say the tired mothers of children who wake up too early. What does "early" mean? For some, it is 7:00–8:00 in the morning, others hardly open their eyes after 10:00. Let's clarify: getting up before 6:00 in the morning is considered too early.

Why exactly 6:00 am? Because for most children, it is physiological to get up at 6:00–8:00. The circadian rhythm, which is responsible for the orderliness of processes in our body, is regulated by sunlight. It is due to nature itself that children tend to wake up early in the morning, even if it is inconvenient for their parents.

Don't know where to start improving your sleep? Watch webinars on the age of the child

What can I do to wean my baby from waking up early in the morning?

Let's find out why a child gets up at the first rays of the sun and what to do about it. There may be several reasons, let's take a closer look at each of them. But it is important to remember that not only one factor, but also a combination of them, can lead to the early awakening of a baby.

The child sleeps a lot during the day

Both adults and children have their own daily norm of sleep, individual for each person. If the baby sleeps too much during the day, he begins to wake up early in the morning, because by this time he has already fully satisfied his need for sleep.

It is important to establish a sleep schedule that suits your child. In our service "Sleep month by month" you will find plates with the norms of sleep and wakefulness for each age. So, a newborn sleeps a lot around the clock, briefly waking up for feeding, but as the baby grows, the need for daytime sleep decreases. For example, at 4 months, the total daily sleep rate is 14–17 hours, of which 10–12 hours fall on night sleep (with awakenings for feeding), and the rest of the time is distributed over 3–4 daytime sleep. It is important that in the first months of a child's life, the longest segment of uninterrupted sleep falls on him at night - this is how a long sleep without night awakenings is gradually formed. If a long sleep falls on the daytime hours, the baby can easily "confuse day and night."

Going to bed too early in the evening

We often write about the benefits of going to bed early - from 19:00 to 21:00. This not only gives the child a restful, long sleep at night (yes, if this surprises you, read our article on early bedtime, but also gives parents free evenings for pleasant adult activities.

But if, for example, the child has a normal night's sleep is 10 o'clock, and they put him to bed at 19:00 o'clock, he will wake up at 5:00 o'clock in the morning Happy and rested, he will be cheerful and ready to explore the world.0003

Watch your child, check how many hours he sleeps at night, if necessary, adjust the daily routine and evening bedtime.

Sleeps too late

It is often advised to put the child to bed later so that he sleeps longer in the morning. Unfortunately, this most often does not work. Children tend to wake up early no matter what time they fall asleep in the evening. If a child goes to bed too late, he “overdoes”, gets overexcited, his biological rhythm goes astray, stress hormones are produced, this does not allow him to sleep for a long time and with high quality. The same thing happens if the baby is actively entertained before bedtime. For example, grandparents came to visit and for a long time could not play enough with their grandson, "walked" him.

Finding the right sleep-wake rhythm for your child is very important for well-being and sleep. But that's not all. If the child enthusiastically jumped on the sofa or played hide and seek, and then the parents simply call him to bed and turn off the light, he is unlikely to be able to quickly fall asleep and sleep peacefully all night. It is difficult for children to abruptly change from active games to relaxation and rest. Before starting bedtime, organize a “bridge to sleep” for your child - calm, relaxing activities so that the child “slows down”. The “laying ritual” helps to finally tune in to sleep. In this article, you will learn what a ritual can be like at different ages of a child.

Physical discomfort and external stimuli

Sleep can be affected by various factors: for example, the temperature and humidity of the air in the room, light, noise. If the apartment is hot, the air is dry, the child may wake up early in the morning from thirst. The mucous membranes in the nose are overdried, crusts form that make it difficult to breathe.

Check if the room where the child sleeps is comfortable. Perhaps noise in the yard or at the neighbors, sunlight, a night light by the crib, uncomfortable pajamas, or a leaking diaper interfere. In this article, we talk in detail about the important conditions for a comfortable sleep for a child.


If a child eats little during the day, receives insufficient calories, he starts waking up at night because he is hungry.

It is important that the child receives the main amount of food during the day. The body adjusts to a certain mode and gets used to eating at a certain time. And if a child eats a lot at night, during the day he simply has no appetite.

Falling asleep associations

If your baby is getting used to falling asleep only at the breast or rocking, you need to repeat this habitual way of lying down each time you wake up between sleep cycles. This is called the sleep association. If a child does not know how to fall asleep on his own, without the help of adults, he can wake up many times a night and, eventually, early in the morning, when the effect of the “hormone of the night” melatonin ends and it is especially difficult to prolong sleep.

The ability to fall asleep on their own allows a child who wakes up during a change in sleep cycles to fall asleep again without the help of parents. Including early in the morning, unless, of course, nothing disturbs the baby. Help your child learn to fall asleep on his own.

Light in the bedroom

If a child goes to kindergarten or school, then he needs to get up early. But it happens that it is not the parents who wake the child in the morning, but he himself wakes up the parents long before the alarm clock. Especially in spring and summer, when it dawns very early. During normal awakenings between sleep cycles, light is perceived as a signal to wake up.

If the child is awakened by sunlight from the window early in the morning, use blackout curtains. In a dark room, it is easier for a child to fall asleep again: times It's dark, which means it's not morning yet.

Case study

A good alternative to blackout curtains is a sleep mask. Plus, it's easy to take with you when you travel. Of course, not all children will like it. Rather, older children will be able to use it more consciously. For example, one of my "clients" at the age of 4 played with her more, the sleep mask was something like an element of his bedtime ritual. But my 5-year-old goddaughter sleeps in a mask. And it helps her sleep longer, despite the bright sun through the window.

Galina Kusakina

BabySleep Senior Sleep Consultant, Pharmacist

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Thirst for communication

If a child spends the whole day in kindergarten without mom and dad, it is especially important for him to spend time in contact with his parents. Sometimes, waking up earlier and earlier in the morning, children simply dream of seeing their mother as soon as possible, to be nourished by her attention and affection.

Quality communication before laying. Evening is a great time when you can take your time and enthusiastically play with your child, hug, listen to each other.

Learn more