The one truth we all know about kids, whether we have many, one, or none, is that you get less sleep with them in your life. If you don't know this, and are expecting, here is your news for the day. Even if you don't sleep all that much, you will sleep less. And forgive this rambling post because of, well, lack of sleep.
With a new baby, I actually fully anticipated this, and was looking forward to finally getting to cuddle my bundle of joy at every opportunity, once I met him in person. And after he was born, the adrenaline kicked in, and we regularly had milk dates at 10 and 2. But then we were fortunate and the little guy started sleeping through the night. This continued beautifully until he was about 15 months or so (give or take the occasional growth spurt). And then he started seemingly random jags of getting up an hour early.
Now, I forgot to mention that once M was sleeping through the night, and we were constructing our morning routines when we were both working, we decided the best strategy was to get up about an hour before him, get ourselves ready, and bags packed, so we could fully attend the chaos that would ensue, and still end up at work with most of our belongings and clothes. So naturally, losing this hour of peace and privacy really bummed us out. Not to mention we somehow ended up mostly ready to go early... like before daycare was even open. Which means there is that much more time that we have to keep our work clothes protected from banana hands and toddler fluids. This hour early wakeup could last a week or two, then go back to normal for a week or two.
I tried to comb through the details of our lives to see what could have been the catalyst for the change, but came up empty handed. Sometimes we suspected teeth, or later an illness of some kind would be sprinkled in, but nothing truly clear cut. For about a week straight, he was waking up soaking wet, and I was losing faith in cloth diapers (thought they were doing their share of heavy lifting, the kid just had high output - he even outsoaked overnight disposables, such that we found little gel beads on him when we changed him in the morning). We even made a trip to a local cloth diaper boutique for suggested and they offered switching to the souped up nighttime solution, fitted bamboo diapers (such as sustainablebabyish or Sandy's fitted) + wool covers. These were a little pricey for us (especially this late in the diapering game), so I went the cheap route and bought some trim bamboo inserts to add to our overnight setup. They seemed to have helped some.
As I mentioned previously, just a few weeks ago, we moved our family from the East Coast to the West one. We adjusted to the 3-hr time zone shift over the customary 7-10 days. But still had this nagging 30 minutes-to-an-hour that we couldn't get him to sleep in. I consulted my What to Expect, the Toddler Years, and my Baby Whisperer, and Googled. Basically, if he was sleeping at least 10 hours (which he was hitting right on the nose), then they had no suggestions. ... except maybe to push bedtime back. Again, this feels like a milestone, but we are starting small, to make it seem less so.
So after about a week of going to bed 15 minutes later, I think we are mostly getting our hour back. He has legitimately had the sniffles, which gave us one rough night, but at least he slept in afterwards.
I'd love to hear what things worked for you! And if you suspect a cause I am overlooking!!
One last tip that I firmly believe has minimized the effects of this phenomenon: the Wait Just a Bit rule. When baby cries, if you know s/he is not wet or hungry or in pain (so new mommies of newborns, this probably doesn't apply to you) WAIT. Wait, like 10 minutes. It seems like a reeeeaaaallllly long time. But sometimes that is how long baby needs to figure out how to settle back down. You may hold your breath for this 10 minutes but will be rewarded!