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absolutely at the end of my tether, all input gratefully received...

(8 Posts)
Loolumboolum Mon 29-Apr-13 13:52:44

Hello all,

I'm looking for a bit of MN wisdom on this one!

I have 2 DS's, aged 17 months and 3.8. The elder has always been a brilliant sleeper. Early to bed, early to rise. That I can handle, and he understands his groclock and it's all fine.

Except, except, his baby brother is a NIGHTMARE. Goes down fine at 18.30 with his brother (they share at the eldest's request), sleeps through but then wakes at 04.30 more or less on the dot every day. The latest he's ever slept is 05.30.

He won't go back to sleep. He's not hungry, or thirsty, he's just awake. So last night, for example, I finally finished all the cooking and housework and got to bed about 11. I then slept from 12 to 04.30. I've been at work since 8 and I won't get to bed again till about 11. I'm so tired I feel like I have a newborn, except I'm not on maternity leave!

I don't know what to do. Do I try controlled crying/gradual retreat etc? Would it work on a baby this age? What else can I do? He's too young for groclocks etc isn't he?

Sorry for the essay but I really and truly would be grateful for any input. I can't keep surviving on 4.5 hours sleep!

schobe Mon 29-Apr-13 14:03:05

This is very very common and does improve over time. You may get others on here saying that actually your DS2 is very far from a nightmare compared to theirs, but I wouldn't dream of saying such a thing wink

His bedtime sounds rather early for an early riser. What about trying 7 or even 7:30pm?

And your bedtime sounds too late - let your standards for housework drop and try to have some 9pm bedtimes. Not every night, but will help you catch up on sleep a bit.

Do you have really good blackout blinds/curtains that do block out most of the light. You can buy a sheet of blackout material and put strips of velcro around the edges and around the window so there are literally no chinks of light.

Has he eaten plenty at teatime? How early do you give them tea? If early, could you try a little supper nearer to bedtime?

Last tip - start encouraging him to have a 'quiet play' when he wakes in the morning. He's a bit young to understand but this works over time and was a godsend with our very early waking DD.

Still working on DS though!

Loolumboolum Mon 29-Apr-13 14:15:13

Thanks schobe.

I know he's not as bad as some, and if I only had the 1 I could probably manage it. I think it's the combination of both of them (3.8yr old is at a particularly physical/chatty stage)

Yup to blackout blinds, and it's very quiet where we live. I did think of trying to just put him down later.

Normal routine (which, i admit is based fully on DS1's routine as he was here first!) is:
17.00 Dinner
17.30 ish bath
18.00 ish out of bath, DH home
18.15 bedtime story/evening boob
18.30 lights out.

Do you think I'd have time to give him more food? He's the polar opposite to his brother (DS1 sleeps but doesn't eat, DS2 never stops eating).

Could you tell me more about what you mean by a 'quiet play'?

schobe Mon 29-Apr-13 14:58:59

Hmm I don't know about food - 5pm seems fine for tea and he does have milk before bed still. It's probably not a hunger thing, though you could try a snack eg at 6:30 if you push bedtime back to 7:30.

For our DD a 'quiet play' came to mean playing quietly in her room with the toys that are in there until a decent hour, eg 7am.

I think we were lucky though as she always loved footering with wee things. She has a drawer full of junk, e.g. mcdonalds toys, party bag toys, bits of fabric, small boxes, e.g. gift boxes or boxes jewellery came in, collections of stones hmm, pine cones etc. She's like a magpie!

We did have to go and prompt her to be quiet regularly when she was little. In all honesty I can't remember if she was as young as your DS2 when we started this - probably not. But worth a try!

Loolumboolum Mon 29-Apr-13 17:58:45

Desperate pm bump!

schobe Tue 30-Apr-13 12:24:02

How did this morning go? Did you go to bed any earlier than normal?

Loolumboolum Tue 30-Apr-13 14:52:34

I went to bed at 9 (bliss). But just to throw me a loop, DS1 decided to be in and out of bed till 2, which he never does!

On the plus side, DS2 slept till 5. Still a zombie today though!

Do you think sleep training would work?

schobe Tue 30-Apr-13 16:45:34

I'm not sure what sleep training is tbh. As far as I can make out, early risers are just awake at that time. But they do gradually grow out of it.

I must admit that at around 17 months we had been staying with DD until she was asleep (pfb!) so decided to gradually stop that at about that age. The early mornings did improve after that (could be a coincidence and just her maturing though). We did a sort of gradual withdrawal at bedtime but it did involve a certain amount of crying from her, so I didn't enjoy it much. I wouldn't count it as controlled crying because at that age we could explain that we were going off to do x, y or z and would be back in 2 mins. Then increased the gaps a bit. But we weren't very hard core as we're soft touches!

I don't think it's worth doing any sort of training in the morning though - they are just so wide awake after a night's sleep.

God I really don't know what I'm talking about! DS has autism so is up for hours through the night.

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