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My baby sleeps eight hours - until 4/5am...

(101 Posts)
Bossykate Thu 30-Aug-01 05:47:43

During his first six weeks my now seven week old son was sleeping from 7/8pm until 4/5am. For the past week we have been waking him for a feed between 10 and 11pm in the hope that he will sleep 8 hours from that point. However, he is still waking between 4 and 5. Could we/should we do anything more to encourage him to drop the 4/5am feed at this stage and if so how? Alternatively, should we stop waking him at 10pm? I wake him for a feed at 7am regardless of what time he woke in the night. I would be very grateful for any help and advice you could give on this issue.

Thanks in advance.

Ems Thu 30-Aug-01 08:26:56

If you'd have said 7 months, I could have thought of some practical advice, but he's only 7 weeks, I was feeding when it was needed at that point and never woke mine.

I think you have to stick to what works for you and your baby. He sounds like he is such a good sleeper.

If you really want a 'routine' look at the Gina Ford book people have been talking about on other threads.

Bloss Thu 30-Aug-01 09:36:44

Message withdrawn

Sjs Sun 02-Sep-01 12:58:07

We have followed Gina Ford successfully at all the various stages - starting at approx 5 weeks. We continued waking our daughter at 10.30pm until about 4 months.
Over time she started to go longer from 11pm. First woke up between 3 and 4, then between 4 and 5, 5 and 6 and then eventually went until 7am. Occassionally she would go from a 5am waking to 3am for a night, but generally she followed the pattern in the Contented Baby book.
I've just had a look at what GF says about 7 weeks. Her recommendation is that if the baby is waking between 4 and 5 you should give one breast (if br. feeding) and the other at 7am. (So guess if you are bottle feeding you give half the feed.)
Only if baby is waking regularly before 4am and losing interest in feeding at 7am does she suggest you use some cooled boiled water . (Provided the baby is gaining weight well.) We never tried that though.
FYI, Gina Ford also supports your rational that baby can go for a long stretch at night - and that you can encourage him to do that between 11 and 7am rather than 7 to 3/4am. She claims that if you don't wake him at 10.30pm there is a risk that the baby may take their long sleep earlier in the evening and continue to wake up in the early hours for longer. (Round about 12 weeks she seems to think most babies can sleep from 10pm - 7am. Some much earlier.) Then you can start to drop the 10pm feed. We dropped it around 5 months, but could probably have done so earlier if we had wanted to.
Good luck! Sounds to me like your baby is doing brilliantly on the sleeping front

Lizzer Sat 08-Sep-01 17:07:50

Hi Bossykate, I agree with Ems that you have a very good sleeper. Sleeping from 7pm-5pm is a minor miracle at that age, or any age for that matter!! I was totally demand feeding myself at that time and I believe that at 7 weeks a baby should be allowed to sleep, feed and play whenever he likes, there's plenty of time for structure in the future.I personally don't believe they should be woken for a feed at a certain time because sometimes they may not need it- you know yourself sometimes you can be ravenous after eating a couple of hours ago - sometimes you don't feel hungry after not eating much. It can be to do with growth and stimulation too, smetimes the brain needs a little more sleep to cope with the physical changes happening. A little body is not a clock and I don't believe you should try to set it to GMT that early on, it just happens. I know it's hard being woken but you just do it because they are gorgeously yours! I remember thinking 'oh this will never end' but it does and in a few months you'll wonder why you were so worried. That said I have had discussion's in the past on mumsnet with people who swear their lives would feel out of control if they didn't have a routine to set their children by. Maybe that would work better for you if you are that kind of person....? Gina Ford certainly seems the woman who everyone goes mad for. However, I really think life's too short to be getting worried about the tiny things, good luck with everything whatever you do :)

Bossykate Sun 09-Sep-01 08:03:00

Thanks to all for comments/advice etc. We are very lucky he sleeps so well already! I am in favour of a flexible routine and believe it is kinder to everyone - especially the baby! - if this is introduced early on. However, even in my limited experience I can see that you can't impose anything on a baby who isn't ready for it. He will sleep through when he is ready I suppose and not before! I'm much less tired now than when I posted the original query so more philosophical!
Thanks again.

Lizzer Sun 09-Sep-01 14:01:48

Hi Bossykate, glad to hear you're feeling a bit more alert - after I re-read what I put I thought 'I hope that doesn't seem a bit harsh?' I totally remember feeling out of my mind with tiredness especially around the 7 week mark when the 'novelty factor' of being woken up by a little person 24/7 is wearing off and the reality of it all sets in! It's easy for me to go on about how everything will be fine now I'm 20 months down the line and getting a good 8 hours a night again (mostly!) Glad you're doing what you feel is right and keep us posted....:)

Katyw Thu 01-Nov-01 14:29:00

My son who is nearly one, has started waking again at 5ish. He had been sleeping until 7am until about a month ago, but then started teething, got a cold etc and started waking at 6am. Dh who gets up later than me started giving him a bottle and then putting him back to bed, when both would sleep happily until 8.30-9am(by which time I've been at work for an hour - not fair!). Now with the clocks changing, it has ended up with me giving him a bottle at 5ish and then getting up at 6.30am after not enough sleep. Should i use controlled crying to get him back to a 7am start? Any advice gratefully received.

Pupuce Thu 01-Nov-01 18:38:00

Why does he wake up ? Hunger ? If so, he has associated crying with I'll get a bottle. He may be too old for this but have you tried settling him with a bottle of water ! It works on babies.
If he has this association and water won't help... I think control crying might be an option. What time does he go to bed ? What kinds of naps does he have ? Can you give us a bit more info ?
Thanks

Katyw Fri 02-Nov-01 10:45:51

he goes to bed about 8pm and always settles well - i think it is hunger as he had a 5am feed up until he was about 7 months (when I was still breast feeding) and i thought he would never shift it. He gradually just got later and later until 7am. Now, however I'm back at work and it's not practical to have several months of this!

He tends to have about an hour and half nap in the morning and about half to three quarters in the afternoon, so these aren't really a problem. Good idea with the water - I'll try that tonight

Pamina Fri 02-Nov-01 12:59:14

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Pupuce Fri 02-Nov-01 18:17:57

Do try water... they probably won't like it and it might be easier if the men did it ! as they might smell you and think that they could get something nicer.
The 5 AM wakings (as you can read on several threads) are common and usually a phase but not always a short one.... Pamina I thing your daughter will settle faster than Kathyw's daughter (sorry) because it has not been going on as long and as she is probably not waking up from hunger... Maybe I am completely wrong. Can you keep me posted ?

Katyw Sat 03-Nov-01 10:00:43

can't believe it - he must have known he was under observation by Mumsnet as he woke at 6.45am, had a bottle of milk (as i felt this was a civilised hour, and then went back to sleep for an hour, so we've all had a lovely lie in. How did you get on Pamina? Thanks for your comments Pupuce.

Pupuce Sat 03-Nov-01 18:12:54

Hopefully this will last. Can I suggest that you start giving him his bottle later and later after he has awaken ? Wait maybe 10 mninutes, then 15,... we did with DS because he was getting more and more difficult when he woke up : expecting breakfast immediately and therefore it didn't matter what time it was. So we get him up and we let him come to our room and play while we get dressed. Now we can easily delay his breakfast from the time we got him out of bed by at least 1 hour. We don't do this often but we certainly let him wait 20 to 30 minutes everyday... we take our shower, get dress, dress him and then breakfast (doesn't stop him from reminding us that "apple muesli" is HIS wish!!!)

Pamina Sat 03-Nov-01 21:20:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Pupuce Sat 03-Nov-01 21:23:47

If she refused the water, it's probably because she wasn't that hungry...
I think the cough will make it harder on you but get back into it when she feels better ! Good luck.

Pamina Sun 04-Nov-01 09:33:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Jg Mon 05-Nov-01 16:12:22

I too have a probelm. My 22 month old wakes up around 5am most mornings. She settles easily if I go in and tell her to go back to sleep however at that point I can no longer go back to sleep myself and am consequently exhausted. Sometimes she then sleeps through til 6.00 and at other times wakes up every 15 minutes and wants to get up....she says wake up! She does have milk at 6.00am when we let her come into our bed but she almost never goes back to sleep and is really raring to start the day. She goes to bed around 8.00pm and has a 1 hour nap between 11.30-12.30. Will she ever grow out of this?

Pupuce Mon 05-Nov-01 18:23:15

Jg, Pamina and Kathyw (and all the others) I have copied and pasted the answers to a similar problem which was raised by 2 mumsnet mothers to Gina Ford when she did her Q&As session. I found this useful myself.... and rather than give you my opinion, I'd give you hers.

Cath: My 21 month old son Oliver goes to bed at 8pm-10pm every night depending on whether he has had his 1 hour nap through the day. Great routine. But he wakes up at 5am every morning and that is it he just wants to be up. However, within an hour he is asleep on the lounge floor for anything from 1-2 hours. My husband and I are wrecked. Any suggestions?

Gina: I find that toddlers who have such a late bedtime as your son's tend to wake up very early and not go back to sleep. I think it is probably due to the fact that when they are tiny they learn to only sleep when they are exhausted instead of when they are tired. Falling asleep through exhaustion, they tend to go into a very deep sleep in the earlier part of the night, waking fully refreshed and raring to go at 5am. I have solved this problem on a number of occasions but it does take a great deal of determination. When they wake up and get out of bed, I take them straight back to their bed, apart from saying schh schh it night time I never get involved in conversation. I usually have to repeat this procedure dozens of times each morning for a couple of weeks until they realise that they do not get up until the light is on. With some I would sit on a chair next to the bed until they went back to sleep even if it took an hour. I can't stress the importance of being consistent with taking them back to bed and not getting into a conversation or putting on the light.

More early waking...

Pop: I read and often referred to your first book. My son is 15 months old and has a regular bedtime of 7.00pm. He often wakes at 5.00 but obviously does not want to be awake. He will not, however, go back to sleep however long we leave him. We have tried controlled crying etc. but he seems to be in such a light sleep by this time that anything wakes him and he will not go back to sleep. He has a nap after lunch of about an hour and a half. Do you think these early mornings will stop when he is walking? Have you any helpful hints on how to combat them?
Gina: The fact that your son does not want to be awake at 5am and sleeps later some mornings means it is very possible that he may start to go later when he begins to walk. In the meantime I would suggest that you keep a 24 hour diary of everything your son eats and drinks detailing quantities and types of food and the times they were consumed, also the times of his bowel movements each day.

It will also be helpful to list his social activities as you may find that he sleeps longer in the days he has been more physically active. With many children of this age I find that the early morning waking is related to their diet. Listed below are some examples of what I have found to be a major cause of early morning waking with children of your son's age.
- Although parents are advised to abandon all bottles by the age of one year I find many parents continue to give a bottle last thing at night and first thing in the morning. At this age a very large bottle at bedtime could result in a very wet nappy in the morning, causing him to be unsettled when he comes into his light sleep. You do not mention what you do with your son when he wakes up but if you are immediately giving him a bottle or a drink of milk, then you are teaching him to be hungry at that time, which could be another reason for the early waking.
- If your son is waking up with a poo in his nappy, or does one very shortly after he awakes that could be the cause, as it indicates that his digestive system is starting to work in the middle of the night. I often find that too much fruit in the late afternoon or protein at tea-time can cause this.

How you deal with these early morning wakings could also be the cause of the problem. Any wakings before 7am are best treated the same as middle of the night wakings, no lights and very little or no talking. If you are taking him into your bed or talking to him, then he is bound to associate his waking with starting the day.

If you are sure you have tried the controlled crying properly I would suggest that you use the same approach that I suggested for Cath. Because he is still very young I think it would probably work but you must allow at least two weeks and be consistent in your approach.

Pamina Tue 06-Nov-01 08:51:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Katyw Wed 07-Nov-01 18:12:37

feels like we're back to square one, the last two nights he's woken at 5-5.30am demanding a bottle. I tried letting him cry and he went to sleep, but woke up again 15mins later, and neither of us had the energy to go through another 30-40 mins wailing so he got his bottle. This morning, 5.30am again and im beginning to feel seriously grumpy.

Insufficient communication with dh meant that he was not very supportive about the contolled crying which i am sure is the only way. Very difficult at that time of the morning when all you want is to go to sleep. I've copied this thread to him, so hopefully.....

Should i pick a time, say 6.30am which is definitely the earliest time to give him a bottle? He does go straight back to sleep though, he's definitely not ready to start the day then. Oh well, we're leaving him with MIL on Saturday night, so am going to sleep til 11am on Sunday......

Pupuce Thu 08-Nov-01 13:26:47

How many hours does he actually sleep during the day ? You say that he goes back to bed after that feed. Can you be more specific ? Thanks
Also read my post below (the extract from Gina Ford).

Bugsy Thu 08-Nov-01 15:29:01

Katyw, I've just read back over your posts to see if I could add any helpful suggestions. I see that you say your son was sleeping until about 7am until he was ill and then your dh started the bottle again at 5.30am, just to get him to go back to sleep. I think this is probably where the problem comes from. In my limited experience, I have found my ds will get into a bad habit within 2 days. So, for example, if he is having trouble settling to sleep, if I sit with him for just two days to get him to sleep then he will expect it again on the 3rd day and so on.
If your son is eating well and having a good feed before he goes to sleep, it is very unlikely that it is hunger waking him.
I really think that you are going to have to give the controlled crying a go. I have found that it takes 3 days controlled crying to crack a sleep problem. How about doing it at the weekend when you don't have to get up for work? Also make sure that he is stuffed full of food before he goes to bed, so you know it can't possibly be hunger. I sometimes offer my son a biscuit along with his night-time milk drink if I'm not confident he has eaten enough supper.
Good luck.

Katyw Fri 09-Nov-01 09:02:27

last two mornings have been better - yesterday he slept til 7am (hurray~!) and then got up and this morning he woke at 6am and whinged on and off until 6.45am, when I got up and gave him a bottle. Wasn't ready to get up though so I put him back, and he hadn't woken up by 8.30am (I'm at work now).

His naps during the day are fine - about 1.5 hours late morning, and about 0.5 hour in the afternoon, although i think he will drop this soon as some days he will go straight through til bedtime. He always has a bottle and goes to sleep with no problems at about 8pm.

Pupuce, you may be right about the bottle at night time giving him a wet nappy - although that doesn't seem to have bothered him this morning. Not sure how to cut this out though.

I think you're right and controlled crying is the only answer. I'm feeling much chirpier this morning as the last two mornings haven't been too bad...oh and it's Friday. Thanks again for all your help - will report back after the weekend.

Sis Fri 09-Nov-01 10:10:36

Katyw, our ds had started waking up earlier than his normal waking up time recently and we put it down to the fact that he was cold. He is very active when asleep and usually manages to kick off all bedding within a few hours of being put to sleep, so whenever dh or I wake up in the night, we go and (re)tuck-in ds rather than wait until ds wakes up.

We really should have invested in a sleeping bag when he was younger but it isn't really worth it now that he is nearly 3yrs old. If you don't have a sleeping bag, you may want to consider that option too.

I'm not sure if the cold is a factor for your baby, but it may be worth a try.

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