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4am starts - please help before I go mad!

(41 Posts)
worriedmum100 Sun 10-Jul-16 09:06:01

9 month old DS has been waking persistently at 4am for weeks. We are really starting to struggle with the exhaustion. sad

He is a very active happy baby. He is crawlibg and pulling up. He eats 3 meals a day and rarely has milk in the day anymore unless he seems particularly hungry or hasn't eaten much which is rare. He hasn't had a night feed or dream feed since he was 6 months old.

His current schedule is:

4am - wakes screaming and crying. Wants company.Not hungry as far as I can tell. Change nappy if necessary. Won't settle. Bring him into our bed where he leaps about, climbs the bed frame, babbles loudly, clambers on top of us, gives us a pinch etc

5am - 9 oz bottle

5.30 - short doze in our bed in DPs "nook"

6am - wakes. 5 year old DS joins us. (I lose will to live).

7am - downstairs for breakfast.

8am - 9.30 - usually a 40 minute to an hour nap at some point

11.30- 12 lunch

12 -2 ish - long nap (sometimes less sometimes a little more)

4.30-5 - tea

6.30 - bath, 9oz bottle, bed

He goes down like a dream (always has). He'll then usually wakes briefly a few times in the night but goes straight back if we pop the dummy in...Until 4am....

He's never slept later than 5.30 and only did that a couple of times. It's been worse since he had a bad bout if the pox a few weeks ago.

We may have made it worse by getting into the habit of bringing him in with us but we're so exhausted it feels easier to do that then physically get up with him. My eldest DS was sleeping til 6am at this age and we would give him a morning bottle in his room then he would go straight back down til 7.30 confused.

Any suggestions gratefully received.

Sorry for any typos.....V tired....sad

worriedmum100 Sun 10-Jul-16 09:32:23

Sorry meant to add that he will sometimes have a short nap around 4.30 but only if he hasn't done a long lunchtime sleep.

EvangelineP Sun 10-Jul-16 09:38:19

Have you tried shifting the whole schedule back by 15 minutes a day so he ends up going to be later? I'd also try adding more protein to his last meal of the day and making that a bit later as well.

PotteringAlong Sun 10-Jul-16 09:39:59

I think your second DS sounds more usual than your first...

PotteringAlong Sun 10-Jul-16 09:41:58

Sorry, pressed post too soon! I think having one who sleeps ridiculously well and then one who doesn't must be very hard. But he's not waking at 4. He's waking, having a bottle and then going back to sleep until 6. You say he hasn't had a night feed since 6 months but he is having one.

Reintroduce the dream feed?

worriedmum100 Sun 10-Jul-16 09:43:58

Quite possibly pottering but he's all I had to go on wink

Will see if I can get more protein into him. I tend to do a finger food lunch and "proper" tea. Last night for example he had fish, mashed sweet potato and veg.

Will also think about shifting routine a bit later. Need to make sure it works for older DS too.

PisforPeter Sun 10-Jul-16 09:48:08

If he is having that amount of milk at 5am he probably is hungry??
Try a later tea/snack/reintroduce dream feed for a time?

PisforPeter Sun 10-Jul-16 09:49:53

I wouldn't change his nappy either at 4am, I treat everything as nighttime until 7am.

worriedmum100 Sun 10-Jul-16 09:54:30

Thanks guys. Will talk to DP about a dream feed although DS is usually absolutely zonked around 10pm when we go to bed and he'd have had 9oz around 7pm. Cld make dream feed later if we are able to keep awake that long!

If it is hunger I'm quite surprised as he seems to eat loads. But he's also VERY physical and active so perhaps he burns it off!

PotteringAlong Sun 10-Jul-16 09:55:27

He's also very very young. At 9 months all of mine were still feeding every 2-3 hours throughout the night.

worriedmum100 Sun 10-Jul-16 10:05:37

That's interesting pottering. I wouldn't expect a 9 month old that ate 3 good meals a day plus 18 oz of milk would need feeding throughout the night. But clearly I'm not very good at this stuff!

PisforPeter Sun 10-Jul-16 10:09:24

They are all different though! I think my daughter was having 3-4 bottles of formula at this age. We did BLW so she did not actually eat very much yet at this age.

EvangelineP Sun 10-Jul-16 10:09:28

It's not just the total food intake though it's the timing. If his metabolism is burning through it fast then he needs a shorter time in between dinner and breakfast. Try dinner later with a later bedtime.

worriedmum100 Sun 10-Jul-16 10:19:26

Ok. Through the fog I have a plan developing to do tea no earlier than 5 (but can't be much later as also need to feed DS1 who is aways starving after school) but will give them both a (protein rich) snack around 3.30-4pm.

Then will put DS2 in the bath with DS1 (usually do DS2 first). So at 7 rather than 6.30 so he hopefully goes to sleep a bit later but DP and I still have some evening time together etc.

PotteringAlong Sun 10-Jul-16 10:29:07

Mine were bf so I have no idea how much milk they were having in oz terms, but they definitely couldn't go through the night without milk.


worriedmum100 Sun 10-Jul-16 10:32:45

Ah right. DS2 was EBF until 4 months but I switched to FF as he was losing weight. There's always something to make you worry (hence the username...).

PotteringAlong Sun 10-Jul-16 10:53:57

I don't think it ever stops. flowers

Timetogrowup2016 Sun 10-Jul-16 11:32:51

My five month old is like this sometimes,

Although not on solids yet so it's a bit different.
Also I know it's nice to have evenings sometimes but maybe two/three nights a week you and dp go to bed when your sons have instead of at 10pm ish so you get q couple more hours? And get dp to maybe take him a couple mornings a week when he wakes early and you go sleep on the sofa until 6am ish? And then vice versa so dp gets some extra sleep to.
It will get better. Also what I'm doing is keeping everything like night time until at least 6am.

worriedmum100 Sun 10-Jul-16 12:46:48

We try to go to bed early but after the boys are in bed we need to eat and the earliest we can do that is around 7.45/8. We do go to bed at 9 quite often! I keep repeating "this too shall pass".....

Going to start the new regime today and see how we go!

Metalhead Sun 10-Jul-16 14:13:57

Your day looks very much like ours at the moment OP. DD2 is 7 months and has gone from waking between 5-6am (which frankly was far too early in my opinion) to waking between 4-5am this last week! She will usually go back to sleep for about 45 mins after a feed and up to an hour of babbling, then crying, but by the time I've managed to go back to sleep she's usually waking up again... Thankfully DH often gets up with her then and let's me go back to bed for an hour or so.

I've tried restricting her morning naps to 1hr as I read that longer naps might contribute to the early waking, but it hasn't made any difference. I'm hoping it's a growth spurt, or her teeth, and she'll start to sleep a bit longer again soon...

FreeButtonBee Sun 10-Jul-16 14:18:40

Banana after bath at6.30ish might help. I do find once they really get food milk at 4/5am doesn't do it for them and they really want proper food. I prefer to extend feeding period right to bedtime to help their tummies be full all night.

LockedOutOfMN Sun 10-Jul-16 14:19:15

I do think he sounds utterly normal, but appreciate the 4am wake-up is horrific for you.

I do like EvangelineP's idea of shifting him back by 15 minutes per day until he is going to sleep later. I would aim for an 8pm / 8.30pm bedtime. If you're in the U.K., as the nights are getting longer now, he should find it quite natural to wake up later in the morning. Good luck! star

Metalhead Sun 10-Jul-16 14:27:29

Later bedtime has never worked for either of mine unfortunately, they still wake at the same time just more tired!

worriedmum100 Sun 10-Jul-16 14:30:12

Thanks all. The problem with much later bed time is that it eats into the evening when DP and I need to eat (and occasionally speak to each other if we have the energy! ) Also I don't think the baby would make it to that late without having a late afternoon nap which I would worry would mean less night sleep. But at this point I'm willing to try anything! Have made a list of high protein snacks.....

He's been asleep since 12.15 so am going to go and get him up now....

worriedmum100 Sun 10-Jul-16 14:47:45

Been thinking about the food he eats and just wondered how it compared to your little ones around the same age?

Yesterday he had:

- 9oz bottle
- Nearly a whole sachet of plain oatsosimple and mashed banana made with full fat milk. 1/4 bagel with peanut butter.
- a whole hard boiled egg mashed with brown bread and butter, fruit pot
- small cod fillet, sweet potato mash and sweetcorn.
- 9 oz bottle

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