2 year old 5am wake ups and pregnant - advice please!

(27 Posts)
5amcrew Thu 31-Dec-20 06:52:08


My DS will be 2 in January and really he’s been waking up anytime between 4:30-6am for the past year. I think we have had 4 weeks of 7/7:30am wake ups scattered throughout the year, so I know he’s capable! I have no idea what I’m doing wrong. I’m 12 weeks pregnant and don’t think I can cope with the early wake ups any longer.

He’s in a single bed with a bed guard as he kept jumping out of his cot head first. He hates his sleeping bag (we have one with legs so he can walk) and doesn’t use his duvet so we layer him up. His routine is something like this:

5am wake up (although today it was 4:53 confused)
I will go in and lie next to him until about 6ish
6am go downstairs play with his train, have milk and banana
7am this is when we let him watch a bit of tv
8am breakfast (usually porridge)
9am head out to the park
10/11am back home
11:30/12 - lunch
Anytime between 12/1 - nap time. Sometimes he naps for 1hr30, if we are knackered and he’s still asleep we let him sleep for 2hrs
Afternoon we either go out or just play at home.
5pm - dinner
5:30pm watch a bit of tv
6pm we go upstairs and play on our bed for 10 mins (he loves jumping on it) then bath.
6:30/6:40pm in his room for clothes/read a book then in bed.
7-7:30pm usually asleep.

My DH does bedtime and now he’s in a bed he lies down with him until he’s asleep or sleepy enough no to follow him out of the room. He used to fall asleep beautifully in the cot but now he gets upset if we just leave him straight away.

I should add this is what he does when he is with us 4 days a week. When he is with the childminders his naps are hit and miss but I think they give him lunch around 12/12:30 and aim for a nap at 1pm. Some days he doesn’t sleep at the child minders. Some days he does 40mins. Some days 1hr30. The childminders doesn’t keep times of when he sleeps but she doesn’t let the kids sleep beyond 3pm.

Any advice on how to get him to sleep longer? I’ve tried a gro clock for a month but he just gets out of bed and brings the clock into bed yanking the cable out as he does. I’m also worried he’ll wrap the cable around his neck so I’ve fixed it to the floor (hence the yanking of the cable). There is unfortunately nowhere else to put it!

His room is dark, temp is fine (we keep the heating in because he doesn’t have a sleeping bag and rarely uses the duvet.

I should add, a week before the clock change we thought we had cracked it because we started putting him to sleep a bit later (7pm instead of 6:30pm) and he was sleeping in until 7/7:30am. It was bliss. Then the clock change happened and it all went to pot. Any help would be much appreciated!

OP’s posts: |
OverTheRainbow88 Thu 31-Dec-20 06:58:05

Sadly I think it’s quite normal, my 2 year old is always up between 4.45-5.45!!

It’s shite but I’m not sure there’s much we can do until they are a bit older

toomuchfaster Thu 31-Dec-20 07:01:32

Let him grow up a few months! I know it doesn't feel helpful but if you search the boards this is a perfectly normal phase that children grow out of. Nothing you can do but go to bed early.

GADDay Thu 31-Dec-20 07:10:07

I have no advice OP. Best I could suggest is that you try to make time to catch up on your sleep when your DS is napping or at the park with Dad.

FWIW, I feel your pain. My nearly 17 year old does a sport which requires 5 x 4am starts for 6 months a year.

OnlyFoolsnMothers Thu 31-Dec-20 07:16:00

Unfortunately I think he may just be going through the earlier riser phase.
The routine looks fine, my only possible suggestion is he needs a longer day nap or an extra nap as sleep breeds sleep. When at home do you wake him after 1.5hrs? Would he nap in the morning for an hr if you tried?

AiryFairy1 Thu 31-Dec-20 07:20:04

A little fist bump for solidarity, OP. My DD was the same. When I was pregnant I’d nap when she had her afternoon “snoozie” but what helped (a tiny bit, eventually, when she was 3.5) was dropping the pm nap... I was very loathe to do it as it was my midday sanctuary and we had a a couple months of very strange afternoons as we both adjusted, but even now at 10(!) she’s an early riser - never need to wake her!

Littlepoppet1 Thu 31-Dec-20 07:21:32

My DD is exactly the same at 2.1. Nothing we have done makes any difference so I've just accepted it for now. It's only a phase, he won't wake at this time forever but I appreciate it doesn't feel like that right now! Interestingly we've had 3 days over Xmas that she has slept until 8am! Back to 6:30 this morning though which is still late compared to what it used to be. I would try and get to bed earlier if you can to make sure you get enough sleep in.


Mummywantsaweewee Thu 31-Dec-20 07:23:09

My 17 month olds wake ups are anytime between 5.30-7, nothing influences it it’s just his wake up time. He goes to bed same time every night more or less and he has a good routine. I am 9 weeks pregnant and I just accept he wakes early. So I go to bed early with a hot water bottle and book, or nap while he has his after lunch nap. Sorry if that’s not the answer you wanted, but it’s easier to work around it than try to “fix” it.
DS doesn’t have a morning nap but has early lunch for 11 and naps 12-3 roughly, dinner at 5 and in bed for around 7ish.

Dowermouse Thu 31-Dec-20 07:52:45

I've survived 2 full years of 4am starts, ds likes 5.15am these days. I think you are going to have to work with what you have OP. Get the coffee pot ready to go on before you go to bed, something carby that's easy to prepare to go with it, make sure there a screen ready to hand the bigger child and that you are all going to be warm enough and then bunk down and feed the baby.
It sounds like you have it really easy at bedtimes and you haven't mentioned having night waking to deal with. Waiting for the second baby to arrive is mind boggling, I don't think there's any perfect solution to the chis or exhaustion that's about to descend, we all muddle long.

F1rstt1imer Thu 31-Dec-20 10:02:30

My 2 yr DD was exactly the same for around a month or so, but we’ve just seen to have come out the other side and she is back to sleeping in till 6.30-7! Doesn’t seem to be a reason for it as her routine didn’t change so I out it down to being just one of those things....although I’m sure it will change as baby no 2 is due next week!

OhToBeASeahorse Thu 31-Dec-20 12:53:27

I fear it may just be how he is but the only thing I would try is pushing his nap a bit later. DS goes at about 12.30 but will nap for up to 2.5 hrs - I always wake him by 3 but no earlier.

gigi556 Thu 31-Dec-20 12:58:34

My son has consistently been an early riser so I feel ya! I think he's getting a normal amount of sleep so if you want him to sleep later you need to push bedtime later. And it can take over a month for the new body clock to kick in! We also use a Gro clock but I think 2 might be young to understand it. Couldn't hurt? My son doesn't nap anymore and sadly no naps does not mean longer sleep at night! He goes to bed at 7/7:30 and sleeps until 5:30ish I think? He lies awake waiting for the clock to turn yellow quite frequently 😬

5amcrew Sat 02-Jan-21 06:27:09

Thank you for your responses! I have been trying white noise the past two nights to see if it makes any difference. First night he woke up a bit later at 5:30am but this morning was a 4:45am wake up so I don’t think it makes any difference.

He fell asleep a lot later last night (8:15pm) despite being in bed for 7pm , and woke up around midnight so I don’t think later bedtimes help. I don’t think, for my own sanity, I can have him asleep any later than 7pm!

He’s been like this for a year (apart from the odd week here and there where he has slept in until 7ish) and aside from being pregnant and not able to cope, a big reason why I want to change this pattern is because he is always so grumpy and I know it’s to do with lack of sleep because he had been so happy during the few precious weeks where he has slept in. I just feel like we have got into a vicious sleep debt cycle and he wakes up early out of habit/too much cortisol in his system.

I have tried getting him to have a very short power nap in the morning but he just doesn’t do this. He also won’t nap for longer than 2hrs or sometimes 2hrs30. I never let him sleep beyond 3pm but I won’t wake him early from a nap.

I went in this morning and got him to lie down for a bit but he was just chatting and saying he wanted to go downstairs to play with his toys. I stayed with him until 6am and now DH has taken over so I can nap.

Sorry to rant. I just feel so frustrated, especially when he only had about 8hrs sleep last night and I can see how grumpy he is every day 😔 I’m starting to dread trips to the playground as he gets so tired and emotional by 10ish and always leaves kicking and screaming despite me giving warning that we are going to leave etc 😔

OP’s posts: |
Sway19 Sat 02-Jan-21 06:45:34

Hi OP, we had a 04:45 wake up this morning! Please believe me when I say that I know how you feel. You could perhaps try bringing bed time forward to being a bit earlier but your routine sounds great and it all sounds very normal.

Sway19 Sat 02-Jan-21 06:50:27

The only other thing I’d suggest is perhaps not waking him from his nap. As another poster said, sleep breeds sleep

User24689 Sat 02-Jan-21 07:20:13

My son woke at 4 for a year between 1 and 2 years old. He still needs less sleep than most children (sleeps 7.30-6am now at just turned 3).

Your routine looks fine. What I would say is, sleep doesn't always breed sleep. There is a certain amount of sleep each individual child will need and it may vary from the average (of course, that's how averages work!)

My son dropped his afternoon nap the month he turned 2 - he just stopped going to sleep at night in addition to the 4am wakes! So we cut the nap and he added the nap time onto the night sleep. It took a couple of weeks of grizzly afternoons but was worth it. I'm not saying you should do this, but cutting the afternoon nap instead of lengthening it may be he answer.

There is a good FB group called desperately sleeping sleep that really helped me. There are some good videos on there about baby and toddler sleep we found useful.

HelloDulling Sat 02-Jan-21 07:24:55

I’ll be honest, it sounds totally normal. I’d just start going to bed v early myself. Be in bed, ready to sleep, by 9pm.

Missingyoupapum Sat 02-Jan-21 07:35:46

I had a similar experience to @upthewolves and when my son turned two he dropped his afternoon naps and it really improved his nighttime sleep and morning wake up time

jessstan1 Sat 02-Jan-21 07:38:29

It's quite normal but I would take him to the toilet, give drink if necessary and bring him into bed with me and his dad. Mine would sleep until 9am snuggled up between us and you can take it in turns to fetch him. It's worth a try anyway.

ChipsAndDip Sat 02-Jan-21 07:42:54

DS is 2 1/2 and has only ever slept past 6 a handful of times. Any time between 4 and 6 with the average been about 4:45! It's a killer but we have learned to accept that it's a phase and eventually (who knows when) he will sleep in till an acceptable time!

FelicityPike Sat 02-Jan-21 07:43:44

How about a bowl of cereal or some toast for supper? (Before tooth brushing time obviously)

jessstan1 Sat 02-Jan-21 07:44:34


DS is 2 1/2 and has only ever slept past 6 a handful of times. Any time between 4 and 6 with the average been about 4:45! It's a killer but we have learned to accept that it's a phase and eventually (who knows when) he will sleep in till an acceptable time!

Very true. When he is a teenager he'll be sleeping for England, you'll be lucky if you can rouse him before lunch time on non school days.

Timeturnerplease Sat 02-Jan-21 07:45:44

Solidarity! 2.1 here, I’m pregnant and 5am wake is standard. She doesn’t nap (not for lack of trying, she won’t even go off in the car any more) so no respite in the day. The only thing that works is she understands the Gro Clock and so won’t scream at us until the sun comes up. She will, however, chat and sing and play with her teddies LOUDLY.

Could you go to bed super early to compensate? I can’t - I’m a primary teacher so have to work till about 10.30pm - but I know that during the holidays when I do make it to bed by 9ish I feel a LOT better.

5amcrew Sun 03-Jan-21 16:28:19

Thank you so much for the support and solidarity everyone, I really appreciate it!

He woke up at 4:40am this morning but had a mega 3hr nap yesterday so I wonder if I need to cut down nap time (nooooooo) who knows anymore 😅

The only saving grace is that when I went in this morning he said “mummy!” With a big grin on his face and gave me a big hug so it makes it a tiny bit worth it grin I really wish he’d sleep in our bed with us in the morning but he just bounces around excitedly, spends all his energy and is shattered by 10am!

He’s also figured out how to get Mr Sun to come up on the gro clock by fiddling with the buttons so looks we might be retiring the gro clock for now 🤣

I can’t wait to get my own back when he’s a teenager by hoovering at 5am grin

OP’s posts: |
KateF1107 Sun 03-Jan-21 19:09:13

My daughter went through this phase of 5am wakings and was exhausted and in an awful mood by 11am!
We waited until she was 3 years old and like you I was pregnant with my 2nd. We then used the Gro Clock combined with a reward chart and she took to it instantly. She now sleeps in until 7am every morning.
Just sounds like your little one is too young At the moment but it will get better!

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