The most noticeable change in your baby this month is likely the increase in mobility. Cruising furniture, pulling up to standing, … oh and how’s that back of yours? Sore yet? If not, it is coming. All kidding aside there’s a lot going on right now.
So what’s happening sleep side?
There are a series of PAINFUL early morning wake ups, also known as EWUs, that are happening right now. By early morning, I mean in the 5:00 am range.
What is causing these killer early mornings?
1. Teething. Most kids experience an influx of teeth at this age. The central incisors (top middle) and the lateral incisors (sides) are making an appearance. You may get over one set, and then next set come in. This can lead to months of teething.
When your baby surfaces from a sleep cycle, she uses her self soothing skills to relax back down into sleep. These self soothing skills could be sucking her thumb, rubbing her lovie, sleeping in a favorite position. But if you still have a sleep crutch, then she needs you to help her by sucking on a bottle or a nipple, a pacifier or being rocked back to sleep.
When she’s teething, she surfaces from a sleep cycle, often around 5 am, and she is distracted by the discomfort in her gums and is unable to relax back down into sleep. This can happen at 5 am, but also mid nap. Short naps, where your baby was sleeping longer previously, is a classic teething sign.
2. New Motor Skills. Your baby may be crawling or pulling up to standing, but no doubt, she has some new motor skill that she is working on.
Motor development can affect sleep in the same way that teething can. When she surfaces from a sleep cycle, she may be excited about that new skill and can’t stop thinking about it. Kind of like you and I might wake early one day and get excited about the pending vacation we are taking that day, or maybe a big presentation at work. This distracts us from falling back asleep.
Motor development may manifest as an early morning wake up, but is also commonly seen with MOTN, which are middle of the night waking. You may catch your baby “playing” in her crib happily for up to an hour some nights! Not much you can do about this but turn off your monitor :) We can’t control these bursts.
By 10-11 months, your baby should have dropped down to 2 naps by now and the good news is that she’ll be on this nap schedule until about 15-18 months, when she’ll drop down to 1 nap. You can read more about that transition here: The Toddler 2-1 Nap Transition . Finally a little bit of consistency in your ever changing schedule.
Total Sleep Goals
She still needs 11-12 hours of overnight sleep and 1.5-3 hours of daytime naps, for a total of 14 overall hours, to be considered well rested.
Her maximum awake time, the time she can comfortably stay awake for, is 3-3.5 hours between sleep periods.
If you like what I have to say, you are always welcome to join my FREE Helping Babies Sleep Support Group where I moderate discussions, and you can post questions about anything sleep related. This community is here to validate your experiences, and support you in your questions. It takes a village.
Sarah Mitchell has a Bachelor of Kinesiology from McMaster University and a Doctor of Chiropractic Degree from the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College. She has always been interested in health and the human body. Having children of her own uncovered a new passion, helping parents get their children to sleep. Her 1stchild would not sleep, which led her down the path of researching everything she could about baby and toddler sleep, and now she wants to empower you. She coaches parents and blogs at Helping Babies Sleep. www.helpingbabiessleep.com/blog/, www.facebook.com/helpingbabiessleep, twitter: @sleepcoachsarah