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Dreaded early morning waking in toddler 4.30am - desperate for help!

(8 Posts)
leeds84 Mon 25-Apr-16 10:37:57

Just wondering if anyone can help please? Our 18 month old has always been an early riser. Until recently we'd go in and give him the dummy at around 5.30 and he'd go off for another hour or so.

However in the last couple of weeks he's started waking anytime between 4-5am and not settling at all. Sometimes he cries in which case we go to him but try not to get him up, and sometimes he just chats.

We've tried the dummy, lying next to him (he's still in a cot) with a hand on him, leaving him (when he's chatting happily to himself), tried giving him a bottle (but think just makes him think it's time to get up).

He has a good bedtime routine I think, and goes off to sleep on his own pretty easily (although I've noticed this is sometimes taking him a bit longer).

I was wondering whether it was the birds singing that was waking him up? In which case has anyone started using a white noise machine on a toddler? Any advice or recommendations on machines?

I've also read about 18 month old sleep regression, do you think these terms are real things? In which case do we just ride this out? I guess I'm concerned about creating any rods for our own back through how we respond to this.

We're having another baby in a couple of months and if there was anything we could do to improve this in the meantime would be great.

FATEdestiny Mon 25-Apr-16 13:39:55

When you say giving him a dummy - why not make a dummy available to him to get for himself when he wakes? At 18 months he shouldn't need you to do his dummy for him.

Do you have black out blinds/curtains? These can make a huge difference for early risers. Assuming you have double glazing and no windows open, the birds are unlikely to be the cause of him waking early.

What's his daytime routine like? Maybe this is a signal for his daytime naps and meal times moving slightly. He could be either getting too much daytime sleep or, conversely, not enough and this might be a symptom of over-tiredness.

leeds84 Mon 25-Apr-16 14:39:09

Thanks so much for replying FATE.

So we go in and give the dummy because we were worried that if we just stuck some in his cot he'd use them earlier on in the night, and then if it fell out of the cot he would wake even earlier wanting it put back in (this is what he used to do before we weaned him off the dummy at night so maybe overly paranoid about it). Plus we were worried about it becoming a prop that he uses all night to sleep but maybe this is less of a problem than him waking at 4am!

His routine is as follows (on a good day if gets up at 6.30), although we try and stick to this even when he's been waking so early for the last couple of weeks.

6.30am - 7oz bottle

7.30 / 8am - breakfast (Weetabix or porridge with fruit)

(^9.45/10ish -^ if he's totally zonked we will put him down for 30 minutes but this is very rare)

11.45 /12 noon - lunch

12.30 / 1pm - nap ( he generally sleeps really well here. Usually 2 hours and sometimes longer)

3pm - snack

5/5.30pm - dinner

6.15pm - bath / books / milk 7oz

6.50pm - bed in attempt for him to be asleep by 7ish. The last few nights we've been putting him down at 6.30 because of the extremely early rising.

What do you think? We dropped his morning nap a month or so ago.
Do you think we should wake him from his lunchtime nap if he looks like he's sleeping over 2 1/2 hours?

Any advice would be really appreciated! Thank you so much

leeds84 Mon 25-Apr-16 14:39:21

Thanks so much for replying FATE.

So we go in and give the dummy because we were worried that if we just stuck some in his cot he'd use them earlier on in the night, and then if it fell out of the cot he would wake even earlier wanting it put back in (this is what he used to do before we weaned him off the dummy at night so maybe overly paranoid about it). Plus we were worried about it becoming a prop that he uses all night to sleep but maybe this is less of a problem than him waking at 4am!

His routine is as follows (on a good day if gets up at 6.30), although we try and stick to this even when he's been waking so early for the last couple of weeks.

6.30am - 7oz bottle

7.30 / 8am - breakfast (Weetabix or porridge with fruit)

(^9.45/10ish -^ if he's totally zonked we will put him down for 30 minutes but this is very rare)

11.45 /12 noon - lunch

12.30 / 1pm - nap ( he generally sleeps really well here. Usually 2 hours and sometimes longer)

3pm - snack

5/5.30pm - dinner

6.15pm - bath / books / milk 7oz

6.50pm - bed in attempt for him to be asleep by 7ish. The last few nights we've been putting him down at 6.30 because of the extremely early rising.

What do you think? We dropped his morning nap a month or so ago.
Do you think we should wake him from his lunchtime nap if he looks like he's sleeping over 2 1/2 hours?

Any advice would be really appreciated! Thank you so much

leeds84 Mon 25-Apr-16 14:39:56

Yikes sorry about the double post

QueenOfHumboldtCounty Mon 25-Apr-16 20:10:12

My ds did this at 20 months I was also pregnant at the time. Turned out there wasn't really anything we could do he'd just had enough sleep by 4.30am. Tried really late bedtimes, tried exhausting him in the day, tried driving him around at 4am in the car, changing his food, giving him porridge for 'supper' incase it was hunger, already had black out curtains but it was winter anyway etc. What I did was just resigned myself to it being a phase and got up with him and watched Baby TV for about 1.5hrs then went back to bed for an hour while my dh got up and gave him breakfast. I'd go to bed at 9pm too. Lasted about 2 months then just slowly got back to about 6am. He's still an early riser now. Best of luck, sleep/rest when you can and don't fret (if that's possible!) With two very little ones I have now got very used to being flexible about everything!

QueenOfHumboldtCounty Mon 25-Apr-16 20:10:20

My ds did this at 20 months I was also pregnant at the time. Turned out there wasn't really anything we could do he'd just had enough sleep by 4.30am. Tried really late bedtimes, tried exhausting him in the day, tried driving him around at 4am in the car, changing his food, giving him porridge for 'supper' incase it was hunger, already had black out curtains but it was winter anyway etc. What I did was just resigned myself to it being a phase and got up with him and watched Baby TV for about 1.5hrs then went back to bed for an hour while my dh got up and gave him breakfast. I'd go to bed at 9pm too. Lasted about 2 months then just slowly got back to about 6am. He's still an early riser now. Best of luck, sleep/rest when you can and don't fret (if that's possible!) With two very little ones I have now got very used to being flexible about everything!

Zogthebiggestdragon Mon 25-Apr-16 20:15:48

My daughter had a wee phase of early rising around then too. It didn't last long, a few weeks. I'd wait and see if it gets better on its own before trying anything else. One thing which sometimes worked with me was pushing the nap a wee bit later (maybe doing something exciting and keeping her awake a bit longer) - this sometimes pushed bedtime a bit later. But if he's still up at 4.30 regardless of bedtime then don't risk it!

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