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How can I get my baby to sleep later?

My 9-month-old baby goes to bed at 8 and wakes up between 4 and 5:30 every morning. How can I get him to sleep later?
Submitted by Team

Some babies are early birds by nature, but that doesn't mean you can't train your baby to wake up at a more reasonable time -- say, 6 a.m. First, try putting him down a bit earlier. It may seem counterintuitive, but bumping his bedtime up to 7 or 7:30 may actually get him into a deeper sleep pattern, helping him to doze longer come morning. And when you do hear him stirring, leave him alone for a while. Sometimes babies make noise during a "partial wakening" between sleep cycles, but will conk out for another 60 to 90 minutes afterward. If you show up, however, that partial wakening will become a full wakening, so try to wait as long as possible before going into the nursery. Finally, avoid feeding your baby when he wakes at 4 or 5 a.m. That's actually considered a night feeding, which a 9-month-old no longer needs. If you offer food, he'll remain a trained night feeder -- not the goal you're after.

Copyright 2009

The answers from our experts are for educational purposes only. Please always refer to your child's pediatrician and mental health expert for more in-depth advice.

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