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7 month old waking at 5am - help us - we are so tired and weary

(16 Posts)
SazzleMc Mon 19-Nov-12 09:25:24

My DD is 7 months old. She has been waking at 5am for months now and I feel like we have tried everything (but tbh I am so tired that I can't remember when or what we have tried if that makes sense).

I aim to not get her out her cot until 5.45am. She is just chatting away at this point. Sometimes cries (obviously I see to her earlier if she does).

We are currently trying an earlier bedtime as she was showing all the signs of over-tiredness before. But now she seems to even struggle for her new early bedtime. I will post our day below but one of the probs is that she really fights and refuses her late pm catnap (hence why she struggles close to bedtime).

One thing we know its not is hunger - tried a bottle and she refuses it. She is on 4 milk feeds a day and a dreamfeed and 3 solid meals a day, also has snacks some days.

Here is our day....

5am Wakes
5.45am Gets up
6.30am First milk feed (any earlier and she refuses it)
7.45am Porridge
8.30am Nap (tried pushing to 9am gradually but totally struggles) She can sleep anywhere from 45mins to 2 hours at this nap.
10.30am Milk
11.30am Nap (if she had had a short nap earlier) Sometimes skips this and has a 1pm one if she has had 2 hours at 8.30am
12.30 Lunch
2.30pm Milk
3pm Nap again dependant on when her previous was
4pm Dinner
5pm Bath
6pm Bottle
6.30pm Bed
Usually asleep by 7pm

10 - 10.30pm Dreamfeed

She manages 2 hours awake time between naps. Thats her general rule of thumb and what I base her nap times on. Also I look out for rubbing eyes, yawning etc. The only nap she really fights is the late pm one. I was 40 mins the other day trying to settle her. Also at night she puts herself to sleep (although is just about off after her last bottle). During the day she also settles herself. I do use a dummy though for sleep time only.

She used to go down later and was waking during the night - very unsettled (overtired).

Please help - any advice/examples of routines?

Tired and grumpy mummy and baby x

VisualiseAHorse Mon 19-Nov-12 09:33:17

You need to shorten that morning nap a LOT! She is effectively using it as a 'catch-up' nap. Don't let her sleep any longer than 30 minutes for her morning nap if possible. If my LO sleeps longer than 45 minutes in the morning, the next day he wakes earlier.

Also, drop the dreamfeed. If she's taking 4 feeds well, plus 3 solid meals, she doesn't need a dreamfeed any more. I think that after a certain age, doing a dreamfeed can actually effect how the rest of that night's sleep goes.

I'll be back with more, LO is crying!

Fairylea Mon 19-Nov-12 09:35:15

I agree re the morning nap. She's effectively waking for a feed and going back to sleep with a bit of play time in the middle!

I also agree re dropping the dream feed. At this age I'd only feed after bedtime if they actively woke up looking for one.

VisualiseAHorse Mon 19-Nov-12 09:45:01

I follow a very loose Gina Ford routine (I know, I know, so sue me!!). It works very well for us.

7am - wake up, milk feed
8am - breakfast of porridge/fruit/yoghurt
9am - nap for 30-40 minutes
10.30am/11am - milk feed and lunch of pasta/bread/meat/veg
11.45am/12.15pm - nap. I let him wake up naturally from this one, so sometimes it's 45 minutes, other times it 2 hours. Try not to let him sleep past 2.15pm
2.30pm - milk feed
3pm - nap - this nap is dependant on his lunchtime nap. If he slept for 2.5hours at lunch, sometimes he can go all the way to 6.30pm with no afternoon nap! If he didn't sleep well at lunchtime, I put him down 2 hours after he woke, and let him sleep.
5pm - wake up, no matter how long he's been asleep.
Between 5pm and 7pm - milk feed plus tea of pasta/rice/meat/veg/fruit type thing, plus a massage or bath and lots of naked bum time! Sometimes I have to split his milk feed with tea inbetween, othertimes he eats his tea first and then drinks all his milk.
7pm - bed time.

SazzleMc Mon 19-Nov-12 12:16:14

thank you so much for your responses, i haven't tried stopping the dreamfeed so i feel really positive about it. same with the 1st nap. How do you think i should approach this? Gradually re nap? Lessen the amount taken at DF etc?

Loving the routine VisualiseAHorse. That would be my/our ideal. This is exactly what i'd love to aim for.

VisualiseAHorse Mon 19-Nov-12 12:30:48

How much do you think she actually takes at the DF? Does she wake fully and take both breasts/whole bottle? Or does she stay very sleepy and hardly take anything?

I would see which one of these she does, and if she's staying very sleepy, I'd just drop it all together. She may still wake/make noises at her usual DF time for a few nights, get in there quick and you can settle her with her dummy. If she's obviously very hungry at the DF, I'd gradually reduce the feed over a week.

With regards to the nap, I'd just shorten it. No longer than 45 minutes for a few days, then no more than 30 minutes. Make sure she has a good breakfast between 7am and 8am ish. Full milk feed, plus solids.

I wouldn't feed her until after 7am if possible, just stay in her room, keep it dark and quiet. I just lie on my makeshift bed in baby's room, for a cuddle!

Then when it hits 7am, stick her back in the cot, and leave the room. (I used to go and make my cuppa, and stick the coffee machine on for OH). Leave her in the cot in the dark for no longer than 3/4 minutes. Then go back in, very bright and cheery. I go "Good morning baby!! Here comes the sunshine!!" and turn on the lights. That makes a clear definition between night and morning.

BellaTheGymnast Mon 19-Nov-12 12:36:29

You have my sympathy, DD was an early riser from 7 months until about 3 months ago. She is now 2.5. It's just awful, isn't it?

Another vote for getting rid of the morning nap, and instead going for two substantial naps spread across the day.

Do you have blackout blinds? Have you checked for noisy central heating etc?

If she is chatting pretty happily I'd be tempted to ignore her, and go in at 5.45. DD screamed the place down on waking so that was never an option for us. Would she fall back to sleep in your bed?

PandaNot Mon 19-Nov-12 12:43:06

It might just be the time she wakes unfortunately. My ds was exactly the same, no amount of messing about with naps and feeds changed him and now at the age of 8 he is exactly the same. No matter what time he goes to bed.

theowlwhowasafraidofthedark Mon 19-Nov-12 12:48:41

My dd was like this. Nothing we did changed it until around 18 months she started waking a bit later (6am). Now she's started school she has to be forced out of bed in the morning...

Shybairns Mon 19-Nov-12 12:48:58

Both my DCs went through a starting the day at 5am phase. I think it ended soon after their first birthday and close to when they learnt to walk.

BellaTheGymnast Mon 19-Nov-12 12:54:40

Oh yes, it improved hugely when she could jump. Bizarre.

teacher123 Mon 19-Nov-12 13:52:45

We had months of 5am wake ups, what finally got rid of them was:
Being really boring-lights do not go on in our house until 6.30am at the earliest.
Ignoring him if he wasn't actually crying.
Treating the waking as if it was a night waking, either giving him a Shh and a pat to settle him or a quick feed.
We got a nap routine sorted in the day, DS only has two naps, one around 9.30am and one around 12.30/1pm. Goes to bed at 6pm.

It is hideous though, it is still the time that he wakes if he's really unsettled, eg at someone else's house. He did it on Saturday night when we were away and I tried to bring him into our bed to snooze till a bit later. He wasn't having any of it, cried until I put him back in his cot! All the previous advice is v good.

SazzleMc Mon 19-Nov-12 16:14:48

VisualiseAHorse thank you again. She takes a full bottle (6oz at dream feed) so I'll gradually phase it out.

Other than the 1st nap being too early today (i gave in as she was climbing the walls) she has had a day like so...

5am wake up
5.45am get up
6.30am milk
7.30am breakfast
8am-9am nap
10.30am bottle
11.30am lunch
12 - 2 nap (result ;o) )
2.30pm bottle
4.15pm nap (totally fought this - but eventually went off) Put her down just before 4pm

hope to give bath when she wakes then Tea, last bottle, then bed.

Thanks for all other posts too. Much appreciated and taken on board too x

VisualiseAHorse Mon 19-Nov-12 20:25:49

Nice, you got 2 hours at lunch! I got 1.5 hours today, then he stayed awake (refused afternoon nap!) until 6pm. And didn't manage to finish his bottle, so will probably wake at some point tonight. Mind you, I did get 13 hours out of him last night, so I can't complain.

If she's taking 6oz at her DF, it'll take a while to phase it out. I would lessen it by a 1oz every few nights. I presume the DF is done in the dark? Try to make sure it doesn't go past 11pm.

Glad to be of service - I knew all these months of obsessing over sleep would come in handy!

EdwardtheEagle Tue 20-Nov-12 07:42:11

She might be ready to drop the third nap too. My dd 6.5 months doesn't always have it and it hasn't affected her sleeping.

SazzleMc Tue 20-Nov-12 08:18:13

Thanks, I really struggle to get her to go down at her 3rd nap. Maybe thats why.

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