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16 month old waking up too early

(7 Posts)
GoRabbit Sun 25-Jun-17 10:32:36

For the last month I've been working on getting my 16 month old to settle himself to sleep at bedtime and sleep through until 6am. (7am would be even better but I'm trying to be realistic). Previously, I was feeding him to sleep by 7/7.30pm and he would wake up a couple of times in the night, sometimes for an hour, before sleeping until he woke up for the day sometime between 5 and 7am.

So I stopped feeding him to sleep and within a couple of days he was settling himself to sleep by 7.30pm. I'm using the gradual retreat method and the longest I'll need to wait is about 15 minutes. He can also settle himself if he wakes in he night (occasionally I'll hear him cry very briefly). This is all great progress.

However, he wakes up every day between 5 and 6, which is just too early. I've tried treating it as a night waking - waiting to see if he will settle, going to him and being very boring and telling him that it is still bedtime - but he stands up crying. I've tried offering water but he isn't usually thirsty. Last night I hung a sheet over the blind to keep the room dark for longer but he still woke up at 5.

It might be the case that he only needs 10 hours at night, but on the odd occasion he has had a later bedtime, say closer to 8pm, he has woken up even earlier.

Does anyone have any advice for achieving a more civilised wake up time?

CobsAhoy Sun 25-Jun-17 16:31:38

No solid advice I'm afraid, but I found the same thing when I night-weened DD, my guess is she started waking earlier because she was getting more sleep during the night. I've started weening totally this weekend as I think one of the reasons she was so quick to get up when she stirred at 5am was she really keen for a feed. So far it's worked, she's stirred at 5 but gone back to sleep and got up just after 6, it's too early to tell if it's not a fluke but I'm feeling hopeful!

Summerdays2014 Sun 25-Jun-17 16:36:38

My 17 month old is the same and has been for months. Up for the day around 5.30 on average, but anything from 4.30 onwards is 'normal'. I've tried lots of things, but no success so far. I'm hoping he grows out of it!

GoRabbit Sun 25-Jun-17 20:03:46

Thanks for your replies. What do you do when they wake up 'too early'? Trying for up to an hour to encourage a toddler to go back to sleep is not a great way to start the day. But I worry that if I give up the 6am goal and get him up when he wakes up then it could just get earlier and earlier.

CobsAhoy that sounds promising. Fingers crossed that it's not a fluke! I might try giving up the morning feed and just keep the bedtime one for now - I was planning to stop altogether in a month or so anyway.

CobsAhoy Sun 25-Jun-17 20:13:49

DD is 21months and it definitely felt like the right time to stop, I wasn't confident that I could stop the morning feed and carry on with the others so just stopped them completely and actually it's gone pretty well, no tears which I was convinced there would be.

I used to be able to just ignore her and she'd go back to sleep (we cosleep), but the older she's got the more wilful she's become and if I didn't get up it would have resulted in meltdowns which I don't think the neighbours would have appreciated at 5am! So I just gave in and got up with her. But she would literally feed straight away which is why I thought she was probably just keen for milk, hopefully that's not going to be an issue now, providing the weening keeps going well and I don't relapse!

FATEdestiny Sun 25-Jun-17 21:12:09

7.30pm to 6am is not an unreasonable nights sleep.

When are daytime naps? The way to move your wake up later will be by shifting daytime nap(s) later and making bedtime later. Significantly and for an extended period.

I'd aim for 8.30pm bedtime, for now. Having 'the odd night' with a later bedtime will make mo difference at all. You may need several weeks - give it a month at least - of consistency to see a difference. That might well mean several weeks of 8.30pm bedtimes and 6-something am wake ups.

It will take some significant effort to shift his body clock, but is possible.

GoRabbit Sun 25-Jun-17 22:12:04

I know, I'd be happy with 6am, but it's usually closer to 5 and given that he rarely naps for more than 2 hours, he is barely getting 12 hours a day.

He's at nursery 4 days a week and naps there for between 1 and 2.5 hours (but usually around 2 hours) from about 12.30pm. On the days he is with us, he sometimes follows the same nap time and sometimes has a morning nap around 9/10 and an afternoon nap at a random time (usually I'll try to settle him in the cot and if that doesn't work then I'll go for a walk to get him to sleep in the pram).

Would you work towards an 8.30 bedtime gradually in say 15 minute increments, as I assume he'll be pretty tired if we keep him up that much longer than usual?

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