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HELP! My 6 month old son still wakes at 5 am!!

(32 Posts)
proudmummy1 Tue 19-Feb-08 10:01:09

My 6 month old is still waking up at 5 am every day and I don't know what I'm doing wrong! His routine goes as follows:

5 am - wake up
6.30 - bottle ( 4- 5oz of formula)
7.30 - breakfast (solids)
10.30 - bottle (5 oz usually he takes)
11.30 - lunch
12.00 - bottle (4 - 5 oz)
12.30 - nap
15.00 - bottle ( 5 oz usually)
17.00 - dinner ( solids)
18.00 -bottle ( 5 oz of formula)
19.00 - bedtime
23.00 - bottle ( 6 oz)

He also sleeps a total of 3 hrs a day .
What am I doing wrong?! Please any advice would be gratefully appreciated x

GreenGlassGoblin Tue 19-Feb-08 10:05:01

I don't think you are doing anything wrong at all. I was just thinking about starting a post about how proud and happy I am that my 23 month old son slept from 8.30pm to 5.30am last night. It's the best ever for us. Your 6 monht old is sleeping fantastically well. What do you do when he wakes up? Do you get up? Cuddle in bed?

buddum Tue 19-Feb-08 10:39:37

have you tried adding a morning or afternoon nap? apparently being overtired often leads to early morning wakings....

proudmummy1 Tue 19-Feb-08 12:44:39

Hi greenglassgoblin,
When he wakes up at 5 am I usually leave him in his cot (just the occasional putting the dummy in) until 6.30am where he usually gets a bottle and goes back to sleep at 7.30 as he's so tired already!
Well done for your son though! x

proudmummy1 Tue 19-Feb-08 12:47:43

Hi buddum,

I forgot to say that his naps are usually 2 naps in the mornings , lunch (his longer nap) and another one at 4 pm. ( a total of 3 hours).
But he doesn't seem to sleep for longer periods than 30 minutes during the day hence so many naps!
Hope that makes sense, all this tiredness is obviously getting to me...x

coastalmum Tue 19-Feb-08 12:48:45

Can your 6 month old give my 3.4yr old some tips? He NEVER sleeps past 5am, whatever time he went to bed the day before. Older 2 have always slept til about 6am and I have a new babe I have to *wake up* (its such a novelty smile).

coastalmum Tue 19-Feb-08 12:51:07

Think your routine sounds great, he might start to sleep longer once he's moving around more.

GreenGlassGoblin Tue 19-Feb-08 13:20:43

I can only speak from much, much reading of mumsnet threads, but I think early morning waking is amongst the hardest of sleep patterns to change. It really doesn't sound like you're doing anything 'wrong' at all.

You're not feeding him the instant he wakes, he's not getting loads of 'reward' (eg attention and mummy cuddles) for waking at 5am. It's just when he wakes up. I agree that once he starts getting more mobile you'll probably get longer sleeps.

It really does sound like you are (bothgrin) doing fantastically well, and your son sounds so happy and content too - mine would always start wailing before he even opened his eyes!

cestlavie Tue 19-Feb-08 13:28:35

DD (28 months) was up at 5.30am this morning shouting for mummy and daddy and bear and pinging toys around the room. I tried explaining to her that CBeebies hadn't even started yet so all the other little boys and girls must still be in bed. This cut no ice with her.

Early morning waking is very hard to deal with as they're refreshed (enough) to stay awake by that point. DD has always been like this and I'm afraid I've got no ideas! If it's any consolation, having your DS chill out happily in the cot sounds pretty mellow and happy so it's not all bad...

proudmummy1 Tue 19-Feb-08 13:59:22

Thanks guys, I guess you're right - as long as he 's not crying in his cot or unhappy , then that's the main thing...
Its tricky though - I see he's overtired during the day but its really tough to break that habit ( as he gets his fair share of sleep already during the day!)
Good point about the he might sleep better when he gets more mobile - will just have to dream and hope for that day to come ...
For everyone out there, good luck with your babies and hope you get some well deserved sleep too!x

Swaliswan Tue 19-Feb-08 14:21:43

I was just wondering how long his naps are for and when he has them? Apparently the structure of naps can affect early morning waking.

proudmummy1 Tue 19-Feb-08 14:58:16

His naps usually lasts up till 30 mins max..(with the exception of his lunch nap which usually lasts up till 1hr )

He usually wakes up at 5 am then stays awake till 6.30 (and then I give him a bottle then).
But because he's so tired already, he goes back to sleep after the bottle. He'll sleep till 7.30.

After breakfast(solids), I also need to put him down as he's still tired.
After lunch is the same story and I repeat that at around 4 pm.

So throughout the day he's definately tired.xx

Swaliswan Tue 19-Feb-08 17:13:19

OK, here's what I would suggest as a plan but feel free to take it or leave it.

I think that you need to move his morning bottle either to 5am and then be insistent that he stays in his cot until 7am or refuse to give it until 7am and just give him water until then. Unless you are giving him a bottle, do not get him out of his cot before 7am as this would re-inforce that 5am is play time. To get rid of a 5am feed, you would need to do the feed at 5am for a while then start diluting the bottle or decreasing the amount. When you do this you may need to wake him up at 7am but this will re-set his bodyclock for the day. At 7am I would give the other part of his feed that he missed out on at 5am until you get to a point that he doesn't have a feed at 5am just one at 7am.

As far as his naps go, try and aim for one at 9:30/10:00 for 30-60mins. Then one at 12:30/13:00 for 60-120mins and finally one at 15:30/16:00 for 30-45mins. He will need this until he is about nine months. Obviously, you need to arrange it to suit your baby, but these times are based on him waking at 7am. At least one of his naps (preferably his lunchtime one) should be in his cot.

Finally, I would say that six months is still young to not have food at nighttime especially if he is not taking sufficient solids at every meal during the day. You could try decreasing his milk a little and upping his solids as he is having up to 31oz of milk a day. By the time he is 7 months, you would expect him to only have up to 21 oz a day. The first bottle to start reducing would typically be the mid-morning one. He may not be ready or may protest even if he is ready but he will soon compensate by eating some solids that will sustain him for longer. After that, when he is 7 months, you could try decreasing the bottles he has after lunch and dinner. Eventually, most babies have milk on waking before breakfast, mid-afternoon and at bedtime.

Swaliswan Tue 19-Feb-08 17:16:40

BTW, I should say that I'm no expert and my daughter often likes to catch me out by waking up at 5am to fill her nappy and then refuses to go back to sleep.

proudmummy1 Tue 19-Feb-08 19:21:27

Wow, thanks Swalisman...will definately try it tomorrow and let you know how I get on.
Fingers crossed and thanks for the advice, definately worth a try! x

Swaliswan Wed 20-Feb-08 15:23:48

PM1, how are you getting on? I'm hoping that last night wasn't too traumatic if you made any changes.

proudmummy1 Wed 20-Feb-08 17:04:06

Hi swalisman,

Ive started making the changes you recommended from this morning so have been really sticking to the nap times too ( so we'll see tomorrow morning) if there are any changes or not!
He's been alright all day and surprisingly have slept easily at the times you suggested...we'll see tomorrow am..
How's your daughter doing?

proudmummy1 Wed 20-Feb-08 17:04:49

I meant swaliswan not swalisman!

suzi2 Wed 20-Feb-08 17:09:12

My 1 yr old gets up at 5:10am most mornings. She also gets up several times through the night. All I can suggest is that you go to your bed earlier and start the day with him earlier. You'd be surprised at what a lovely calm time of day 5am is grin. though we have a problem in that DS doesn't get up until 7am so DD has to keep farily quiet.

pulapula Thu 21-Feb-08 08:35:53


a couple more suggestions-

you could try 'wake to sleep' where you rouse them very slightly (adjust covers, stroke them) an hour before they usually wake. the theory is it alters their sleep cycle. do this for 3 nights and then see what happens. we did this with our dd for 2am wakings and it worked.

With my DS i basically bring him into bed around 6am if he wakes early, as he will usually fall asleep cuddling and then we start the day between 7-8am. He then has 2 naps starting 9-10 and 1-2 which total around 3 hours which seems enough to make it through to 7pm bedtime.

hope that helps. as your DS isn't waking for milk, i am not sure offering a 5am feed is the best thing?

proudmummy1 Thu 21-Feb-08 09:25:51

My son woke up today at 5.20 am (the good news is that it's been 20 minutes later and the bad is that he obviously hasn't hit that 6 am or 7 am mark just yet!)
But the most amazing thing Ive discovered was that because Ive been so tired lately, I completely overslept through his usual 11 pm feed!!! ( where I usually wake him up to feed him then!). So it makes me think the following:

a) he probably doesnt need his 11 pm feed anymore?!
b) if I persist with Swaliswan's idea, I do think it could work as I think I 've got to stick to those nap times!

Also, thanks suzi2 and pulapula for joining in!

Another advice I've been given by my friend which is supposed to be a little miracle - there's a new product out there ( Cow & Gate Good night milk) which helps settle your baby at bedtime. Many friends have used it and they swear by it now saying that their babies have really slept through! So again, although I havent yet tried it, anyone who's reading it might be worth a shot?!

Will keep you all updated tomorrow xx

Swaliswan Thu 21-Feb-08 10:06:43

I would be very careful about introducing the night time milk as it essentially helps the baby to sleep by being difficult to digest. While this is fine for some babies, I would urge you to be cautious especially if your DS is prone to constipation. You could try it and see how he goes, but be prepared that he could end up all night with tummy ache rather than sleep through. Having said that, he might sleep 7-7!

It seems that you DS is potentially ready to respond to a bit of juggling with his milk feeds. Try not to do it too quickly. There is a reason that babies sleep better without a 'dreamfeed' and that is their little system thinks that it needs to keep producing enzymes to digest milk if it is given milk. Your baby's body is learning to not expect milk at nighttime and giving a 'dreamfeed' can be very confusing for it. Now is about the right age to drop a dreamfeed. It can be a bit difficult as it is also a time when a baby learns to sleep even though they don't have a full tummy.

You should find that when you drop his mid-morning bottle, he eats a lot more at lunch time and then will quite quickly be able to drop his after-lunch bottle. This in-turn leads to a new experience for him - going to sleep without milk in his tummy. Whilst my DD went through this stage, I took her out for a walk instead of putting her into her cot for about a week or two as she was very resistant at first. She did learn very quickly then to sleep in her cot without milk in her tummy and this led to her being able to be put to sleep awake and consequently sleeping better at night time.

I'm glad that things are working out well for you so far. Don't forget to get some super-early nights yourself to cope with the early starts and to be able to deal with any glitches at night time better.

Please give us another update tomorrow!

proudmummy1 Thu 21-Feb-08 17:52:43

Good point Swaliswan and will let you guys know tomorrow! He has actually didnt sleep as much today in his naps so hopefully he'll sleep a bit better tonight....

proudmummy1 Fri 22-Feb-08 09:07:29


My son woke up at 3.50 am and I couldnt get him to sleep to at least 5 am! And then slept for 40 mins and woke up again! Feeling shattered!!Its all getting worse!
I had unfortunately to rock him to sleep but didnt give him any milk till 7 am !
Arghhhh! But will persevere...I still hope one day he'll get that mummy wants to sleep! Hope you are getting better sleep than I am xx

zim Mon 18-Aug-08 21:20:30

hi how are you all getting on with the early mornings 6 months on?! I'm torn now about whether to refuse to 'start the day' at a reasonable hour with our 12 month old or just go to bed earlier myself and get up at 4.50 am!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Don't dare do the rousing him to change sleep pattern thing-we've only recently got to the sleeping through till 5 ish stage (and i feel like ive tempted fate now coz he many a time wakes at 3am too!)

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