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10mo DS waking at 3:30 / 4am and won't go back to sleep

(8 Posts)
catgirl1976 Sun 23-Sep-12 12:00:12

We have only really got DS into a proper routine within about the last 6 weeks

He now has his dinner, a bath, bottle and wind down and goes to bed about 7 / 7:30 and is asleep usually within 30 mins of that.

Prior to this he was co-sleeping and going to bed with me about 10ish but we have slowly made good progress.

For the last 6 weeks he was sleeping through till 6 / 6:30 which was fine, although he always woke somewhere between 12 and 2, had a bottle and went back to sleep (pretty much a dream feed)

This last week he has been waking around 3:30 / 4 and will NOT go back down till about 5am which is killing me.

We don't pick him up, just soothe him and give him a bottle without picking him up. But he just wakes and starts sitting up and babbling etc. He doesn't cry unless we leave him. If we are in the room he wriggles and babbles - if we leave he crys and gets hysterical.

I work full time and am shattered. DH is helpful and we share the wakes, but after 2 hours of trying to get him to sleep we ususally both end up involved and anyway you can't sleep even if you are not seeing him as you can hear him etc.

Any advice would be great - DM has suggested giving him a bottle about 11ish when we go to bed (but not fully waking him) so we will try this but I'm at my wits end

fififrog Sun 23-Sep-12 15:54:13

I had something similar only more bad-tempered! Since milk no longer got her back to sleep I decided it was time to drop any night milk (so none before 6am). After a few weeks of variously sitting in a chair with her and lying on the floor pretending to sleep, and even attempting to co-sleep I'm afraid we ended up ignoring her unless she was really upset but she was almost always just whingeing. It took a while (couple of weeks). To be honest, we have found these too-early-for-anything wakings hardest to crack, but they have gradually gone from most nights to sometimes to only when ill over a few months.

catgirl1976 Sun 23-Sep-12 16:01:30

Thanks Fifi

If we ignore him he goes from babbling to full hysterics sad

We have done the lying on the florr pretending to be asleep thing grin glad its not just me

omama Sun 23-Sep-12 20:01:46

catgirl what does his daytime routine look like? i.e. when does he nap & how long for? EWing can often be related to the timing/length of the morning nap & 10/11 months is also a typical time for sleep to go wonky as they begin the gradual transition to 1 nap (which can take many months!).

catgirl1976 Sun 23-Sep-12 20:05:24

When he was getting up at sixish he would go for a nap about 9:30 / 10 and nap for 1 - 1.5 hours. Then he would nap after lunch about 2 - 2:30 for 45 mins to an hour

Him waking at 3:30 / 4 has thrown that out a little but we try not to let him sleep after 4pm and he always has 2 naps totalling 2.25 - 2.75 hours.

He has his dinner about 6 / 6:30, then bath, bottle, wind down, stories etc and bed. He ALWAYS fights sleep - even when he is exhausted sad

catgirl1976 Sun 23-Sep-12 20:44:35

He woke at 4:30 today and DH has been trying to get him down for the last hour sad Just don't know what to do

Tertius Sun 23-Sep-12 21:01:05

My dd is doing this around 4:30 am but I am sure it's teeth as last night my should was soaked w blood from her poor gums. I was rocking her on my shoulder.

Could it be teeth???

omama Sun 23-Sep-12 22:36:56

oh bless - did he settle ok in the end? Its so hard when they are up so early (my DS was an EWer too) - they get so shattered from the long day.

can I ask - since he started waking early is he taking his morning nap earlier than he used to? and has his afternoon nap gotten earlier too?

Typically a long & early morning nap at this age can lead to early waking because LO's take the bulk of their day sleep in the morning, and with only a short nap to last them through the afternoon, they can end up overtired by bedtime. If bedtime is already too late, this will compound the overtiredness. The result is they fall into a deep sleep too quickly & then wake early the next day, knowing they are able to make up for the lost night sleep with the morning nap.

So, if your answer is yes, I would suggest you

1) give him a much earlier bedtime (as a temporary measure). If he's up at 3.30-4am, 7/7.30pm BT is too late - his day is so long he will be really overtired & difficult to settle. So for the next few days, put him to bed at 6pm. He should settle more quickly, and ok he may still wake at 3.30-4am the next day, but he will at least have had more night sleep than he would if he goes to bed at 7.30pm+. With a few early bedtimes & longer nights under his belt, he should feel a little less tired. then you are in a position to:

2) gradually push his morning nap later again, by 5-10mins max every few days, until it starts no earlier than 9.30am again. At the same time, you can gradually push back his afternoon nap and also his bedtime, though if he continues to wake before 6am I would aim for BT at 7pm latest.

Then, if the EW persists, you have 2 choices:

a) push the morning nap later still to 10/10.30am & let him sleep as long as he wants, with a short nap in the afternoon at 3/4pm. By doing this the morning nap will be late enough that he isn't able to use the nap to catch up on lost night sleep (i.e. early waking cycle broken) and the afternoon nap will be late enough to prevent overtiredness by bedtime.

b) keep the morning nap starting at 9.30am but cut it shorter in order to prevent the early waking (no opportunity to catch up on night sleep) and encourage a longer nap after lunch, preventing overtiredness by bedtime.

Both of these approaches represent a gradual transition towards 1 nap, which can take many months.

p.s. If you have continued to do his naps at the former times, I would suggest sticking with them, but with an earlier bedtime & just see if that alone helps.

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