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To ignore my baby at 4an

(88 Posts)
brummiesue Tue 29-Mar-16 05:16:27

My 13 month old has recently started waking up at 3/4 am then staying awake for an hour or 2 shouting out, thrashing around and generally bring noisy and disruptive.
I generally bring him in with me, feed him, change him then try and coax him back to sleep while he behaves like this in bed next to me (dh sleeps in spare room)
I'm exhausted and it becomes very frustrating when he does this every night
Aibu to feed, change then just leave him to shout it out in his cot? He's rubbish at self settling normally but I'm losing the will to live! I know I shouldn't have gotten into the habit of bringing him into bed bed but I just want the noise to stop in the night but maybe it's time to be harsher
Have posted in sleep but not as much traffic theresmile

HappyAsASandboy Tue 29-Mar-16 05:46:29

Please don't leave him. He is too young to understand time and to know where you are/why you won't come sad

Do you need to change him when he wakes? If he isn't dirty then I would try not changing him as it might be waking him further.

If your DH routinely sleeps in another room, would you consider cosleeping? Even if you start the night with him in his room, bring him in at first waking and then when he wakes at 4am you have a chance of cuddling/feeding back to sleep before he properly wakes?

Also, can you get to bed earlier? I know evening sleep isn't the same as early morning sleep, and that losing evening time when baby is a sleep is hard to accept, but if you went to bed at 8pm three nights a week I think you'd notice a huge difference in how awake you feel.

Please don't leave him to cry. He won't understand why you're not coming. He may stop shouting for you, but it will be because he's learned there's no point, not because he doesn't want/need you sad

Phalenopsisgirl Tue 29-Mar-16 05:48:46

Ignore him, within a couple of nights this habit will come an end, it sounds harsh but he isn't in danger and there is no need for it, if you carry on this could spiral and at the end of the day he needs a rested healthy mummy more than anything.

Phalenopsisgirl Tue 29-Mar-16 05:52:09

A simple, check and just say it's not morning yet, will suffice

Junosmum Tue 29-Mar-16 05:52:20

Ignore him. If he's doing it whilst in bed with you then it doesn't sound like it's because he's distressed/needs you. Obviously if he becomes distressed, go to him, give him a hug and a kiss, lie him back down and leave him again.

Don't start co-sleeping unless you want to. Sounds like he's doing well in his own bed, he just wants the day to start at 4am!

Effiewhaursmabaffies Tue 29-Mar-16 05:56:44

Hi. when dd2 was about 18 months I did it. Dh told me just to leave her and helped me resist. Because she woke up every night at 4 am and then went. back to sleep when I coslept. It almost broke me, and whilst it wasnt pleasant and she cried for 15 mins and i cried for longer, it was 2 mins on the second night and then it stopped and she kept sleeping. Its been fine since and she is now 6 so no lasting damage. I think if you think your ds will be like this, then go for it. Yanbu.

MangosteenSoda Tue 29-Mar-16 06:01:02

My baby did exactly the same at 4am for months. Wasn't hungry, but would wake and end up thrashing and screaming in tiredness, but could / would never, ever actually sleep in bed with us. Still won't and he's still an early waker.

If he wakes too early I always change him, offer water then put him back down and ignore. He usually goes back to sleep quickly. If it's 6 onwards I just get up with him. He will now sleep until 6.30 most of the time.

Same in evening- it took me ages to realise that he needs to be put down and left alone to go to sleep. I guess some babies are like that, but it kind of goes against instinct.

BettyBi0 Tue 29-Mar-16 06:01:08

How does he settle back to sleep afterwards? Maybe there are some triggers you can try and sneak in earlier. For example, does he have anything like a lullaby or Ewan the sheep song that he listens to at his normal bedtime? Or night light stars or something like that that is part of his normal bedtime routine? Perhaps if you get in quick at his first signs of waking, and play the lullaby/stars, tell him over and over that it is still sleeping time.. Might trick him back to sleep gently?

If he is eating well in the daytime and having bedtime and morning milk feeds too then he probably doesn't need the extra milk at night. I'd try to avoid the nappy change too unless it's for poo or really soaked. He is still very little though and in need of your comfort so I don't think 4am is the right time to start some kind of cry it out training.

It may well just be a short phase he is going through and if you keep his nighttime associations positive, he'll continue to feel safe and secure at night which increases his ability to eventually self settle. So it's kind of like short term pain for long term gain. Rather than abandoning him to cry it out and potentially increasing his chances of having negative associations with night time and consequences later on.

BettyBi0 Tue 29-Mar-16 06:02:01

Also worth thinking about his normal bedtime routines and daytime sleep timings to see if adjusting them could help?

FishWithABicycle Tue 29-Mar-16 06:05:44

Like Phalenopsisgirl says - there's a halfway house between allowing the day to start at 4am and ignoring. Going in to give him a fresh nappy if he needs it, then leaving him to it but not abandoning him - reassuring him as often as he needs that everything is OK but it's still sleeping time and the day hasn't started (but do this from the doorway). Don't reward screaming with cuddles and relocation to your bed. It will all be OK.

mouldycheesefan Tue 29-Mar-16 06:17:25

When he screams at 4am he gets fed and cuddles and taken into your bed. So no wonder he does it!
I would tell him it's sleeping time, not morning. Reassure him, use shush pat but don't let him get up. The day doesn't start at 4am.

mouldycheesefan Tue 29-Mar-16 06:21:57

Advice to think about daytime nap schedule is good

lborgia Tue 29-Mar-16 06:25:41

4 am is when my two always get cold - not sure what the weather is like with you but that might not help.
Good luck!

DartmoorDoughnut Tue 29-Mar-16 06:38:04

I'd drop the change and the feed but wouldn't ignore, I think they wake up more when trying to crack something - walking etc

Squiff85 Tue 29-Mar-16 06:48:43

At 13 months he needs to start learning that it's not morning yet - with mine I would pop in and check they were clean, maybe offer water (can't remember exactly what I did when as it was ages ago!) and then say its not morning and go to sleep. And then go back to sleep myself!!

G1raffe Tue 29-Mar-16 06:49:39

I'm so surprised so many people would ignore a baby!

Letustryagain Tue 29-Mar-16 06:53:47

It's a very tricky one... I don't want to offer advice as other PP's have done that so well already and I don't remember my DD doing it until she was about 2 (after a few nights we started ignoring and it stopped - but it was horrible), BUT I have a friend who refused to ignore when her DD started doing this at around the age of your LO.

Her DD starts school this September and she is still waking every morning although it is later now at 5am. My friend is permanently shattered.

So I guess you need to find a solution (whatever works best for you), stick to it and nip it in the bud! Good luck, your LO will be fine smile.

boldlygoingsomewhere Tue 29-Mar-16 06:59:53

My DD did this for a while- seemed to be caused by teething/cold or feeling hungry.

I kept responding by going in to comfort her or bringing her through to our bed. We also introduced a snack before bed. She pretty much stopped doing it within a couple of months and would only wake up occasionally - again, mostly when she had a cold/ teething.
Just to offer an alternative experience - being responsive and going to them at night doesn't necessarily lead to long-term issues.

MigGril Tue 29-Mar-16 07:14:37

I'm also surprised so many as saying ignore. He's still only a baby. Mine both need a feed in the night at this age.

I agree though about not changing him if you don't need to it wakes them up to much, especially as it's getting lighter now. Just try feeding him and resettling him in his cot. We always used lullaby music's to help like at bedtime. But what ever your bedtime routine may help or introduced something similar. Nothing to stimulating.

Cheby Tue 29-Mar-16 07:16:36

It's almost certainly a phase. It always is. If it were me I would ride it out. I can't bear the thought of leaving a child alone to cry; I know they aren't going to come to major harm but it's a moral issue for me. They don't stay little for very long, and although sleep deprivation is hard work it's not forever.

My DD woke 5/6 times in the night at that age as I had not long gone back to work full time and she reversed cycled her breast feeding pattern. Sure, I was tired. But we coslept and I went to bed early to get more sleep. By 18 months she was waking twice a night max (usually once) for milk and then straight back to sleep. We all survived. She's just 3 now and sleeps through (except last night when her duvet fell off and she was freezing, bless her!).

magratsflyawayhair Tue 29-Mar-16 07:17:08

No I wouldn't ignore. At that age the waking is probably being caused by something. I would probably look to night wean and wouldn't change unless dirty. It sounds like it's become a habit for him.

I'd be helping him get back to sleep by caking and soothing. In preferred a sort of gradual retreat / pick up put down sort of approach. I was there with them as they learned to sleep but not engaged.

I really couldn't just leave my baby for two hours in the dark at night on his own.

CoraPirbright Tue 29-Mar-16 07:18:57

I would def stop the feed/ cuddle- who wouldn't want that at 4am!! Just gently shush & lay a hand on the chest to soothe.

My dd got into the habit of waking at 4 - nearly killed me! A friend recommended breaking the habit by waking her just ever so slightly before I went to bed. Just shook her really gently so she just stirred. This seemed to alter the rem/deep sleep pattern & solved the problem within a couple of nights. You won't believe the relief! Worth a shot?

lilacclery Tue 29-Mar-16 07:23:05

I didn't ignore & it's taken him until 28 months to sleep through consistently every night hmm

waitingforsomething Tue 29-Mar-16 07:26:27

I would offer water, calpol Incase teething is bothering him then put him back in his cot and leave him to it. He's not a newborn and assuming he eats well during the day he doesn't need food either. He will get used to the idea as long as you have met the basics

19lottie82 Tue 29-Mar-16 07:26:48

Do you have black out blinds in his room? Definitely worth an investment with the lighter mornings coming in.

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