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How do I change my 9m old's 5am awake / 5pm tired sleep pattern to a normal one around which the family can function?

(26 Posts)
bumbleweed Tue 09-Sep-08 18:43:28

I'm at my wits end with ds's sleep. He's 9 months. Breast-fed. No problem with feeding to sleep and can just about cope with night wakings. Has a couple of naps during the day of around an hour.

But he wakes at 5am and that's him up for the day, naps early (around 8/9am) and then again at lunch time and then is really tired and ready for bed by about 5pm just when I am trying to cook dinner for dd, myself and dh.

I've tried putting him to bed early, keeping him up later, trying to get him back off to sleep at 5am - doesnt work he just starts playing or crying if left alone and disturbs everyone else.

I'm looking for an answer which doesnt involve CC or anything like that. Any ideas?

girliefriend Tue 09-Sep-08 20:30:33

nope good luck!

onepieceoflollipop Tue 09-Sep-08 20:35:43

Make any changes gradually - 5 minutes at a time? Maybe worth a try.

I have a 13 month old and she is exhausted by 6.30pm and up around 5.30-6am so I sympathise.

I don't co-sleep during the night but do when she wakes up (any time from 5am onwards). Can you feed lying down? Might be worth a try, he may snuggle down with you and at least you can doze until a more sociable hour?

pudding25 Tue 09-Sep-08 20:51:12

Could you let him have a short nap at 5pm then put him back down again around 7ish?

bumbleweed Tue 09-Sep-08 20:57:17

I did have him in a better routine briefly for 2 weeks of his life. He was napping at about 10am for an hour and a half, and then again at about 2pm, and he was much less tired.

Does it make sense to keep him awake until 10am for his morning nap even though he's really tired .... in the hope that after a few days his afternoon nap will fall back into place too, solving the tea-time horribleness?

Its such a vicious circle my head hurts with it all today.

bumbleweed Tue 09-Sep-08 20:59:11

thanks for suggestions

at 5pm I either dont get chance to get up to get him to sleep as takes 15 mins and I normally trying to get tea into dd, or if I do get chance he goes off for the night and then up even earlier in them morning

onepieceoflollipop Tue 09-Sep-08 21:09:23

Re the morning nap question. We are struggling a bit with that too. (in our case she isn't tired until mid morning, but if we let her sleep mid-late morning then she doesn't want an afternoon sleep and is knackered by tea time)

Anyway, I would suggest gradually trying to put him down for a morning sleep slightly later e.g. 9.10am tomorrow, then 9.20 a day or two later.

However routines can be a real hassle if a) the baby doesn't want to fit in and b) you have other commitments (e.g in our case an older child to take to school)

bumbleweed Tue 09-Sep-08 21:16:24

oh I hate the idea of a routine ... I had a naive notion (based on what people said) that number 2 would just fit in and if he was always around his sister's noise and taken along to her activities would grow flexible

its the opposite in reality - he is a light sleeper and she is always waking him - he naps in the car when I dont want him to and wont nap when he could do with it

what he really needs is a routine as he is sooo tired all the time, too tired to eat, too tired to play on floor by himself without climbing up the back of my trouser leg .... but I cant make it happen for him, and its so frustrating

onepieceoflollipop Tue 09-Sep-08 21:22:21

bumble we seem to be going through similar. dd2 dozed off nicely in the car at 12 today on the way to school pick up. I so wish we had let her sleep - would have been easy today as dh was here and would happily have sat in the car for a bit with her!

But we woke her, thinking she would enjoy her lunch then have a nap. ha ha. Still up grizzling 3 hours later. She would not give in.

In our experience dd1 was easygoing and a great sleeper. dd2 has been somewhat different. She is gorgeous but a bit lively in the night at times. grin

bumbleweed Tue 09-Sep-08 21:36:59

oh I hate that lollipop.. when you wake them and then realise you should have let them sleep or vice versa

did the same with ds today - lifted him out of the car when we visited mum, should have sat in the car with him

dd was hard work as a baby so I thought I had paid my dues and was due an easy one .... but ds is v similar sleep-wise

MatNanPlus Tue 09-Sep-08 21:50:33

Bumble could you write out a typical day for him?

Family Life permitting I would be tempted to suggest :

up 5am, in bed snuggles and try to delay making any start to the day motions ie no nappy change , light on etc and work on 5 more moinutes quiet time every couple of days then in bed for 8am, sleep for 30-60 minutes, up snack/feed and play/walk, then lunch/feed and bed at 1230 for 1-2hours snack/feed, play/out, tea/feed, family meal, bath feed and bed for 6 moving everything later as the mornings start later till your at a 6-6, 7-7 day

It takes a bit to get them into longer sleeps, i have found car journeys or walks with sheet over the hood a good way of extending a brief sleep pattern to a longer more satisfying sleep.

But the above is all supposition having not met your DS or knowing what the family routine/day is like.

damadilemma Wed 10-Sep-08 06:15:10

hmm interesting. We're in a very similar pattern ie. up at 5, nap at 8 or 9, another nap at 2 or 3 then bed at 7. She usually doesn;t seem too tired in the day but I would give anything for an extra half hour in the morning. Also her afternoon nap is often very difficult to get her down for. She naps for 1-2 hours in the morning but usually only 1/2 hour to 1 hour in the afternoon - should it be the other way round? is that key to getting her to sleep longer at night?? or should she nap earlier in the afternoon? sorry for hijacking OP, just wondering as Matnanplus seems to know what she's talking about!

GordonTheGopher Wed 10-Sep-08 06:20:17

Hate to point this out... but when the clocks change in October it will be 4pm bed and 4am wake!

Sorry... hopefully it will give him the kickstart he needs to sleep better hours. Can he have a short nap at 5pm then get woken again and put to bed later? Have you also tried rousing him slightly for a feed at, say, 4.30am - then he should sleep longer?

You have my sympathy - ds is up at 5.30 everyday. Am pushing his bedtime back slowly in preparation for the clock change but he's still waking at 5.30 so he's knackered all day!

Best of luck.

ChairmumMiaow Wed 10-Sep-08 07:24:28

Can you see his tired signs?

DS (7mo) is a big eye rubber, and also loses focus on whatever he is doing as he starts to get tired. When I'm at home and I see those signs, I whisk him upstairs, change his nappy, read a book (depending on his tiredness) and BF him off for his nap (he does nap without BF for other people, but has to get a little more tired first) Before I watched him for these he only napped in the sling or when exhausted!

IIWY I might try to get both the morning and afternoon naps later, just by 5 minutes at a time as suggested. So try gradually to get to 9.30/10 and 2/3 for the naps perhaps, to keep him up a little longer.

My DS will skip his lunchtime nap if we're out and about, so sometimes doesn't nap till 3 or 4. If he wakes after around 4.30 his bedtime goes back half an hour or so. (His normal pattern is bed at 6 with 2 night wakings, up around 6.30, which is quite bearable)

Also, I second the idea of giving a feed before he would normally wake. DS generally either wakes 10 and 2 or 12 and 4 for feeds. If he does 10 and 2 we often (but not always) get a 5.30 wakeup, when he's up for the day. The 4am feed seems to keep him happy so even if he is awake, he's happily playing with his feet or whatever in his cot.

Hope you find a solution!

Beetroot Wed 10-Sep-08 07:28:35

Can he have a 4/5pm nap in a sling or push chair just for 30 mins?

Then give him tea?

frazzledgirl Wed 10-Sep-08 08:54:29

Bumbleweed, I had the exact same thing with DS. We eventually went to a sleep expert because we were beyond our wits' end (recommend it very highly) and she gave us some guidance.

One of the key things was to move his nap time from 9am-ish to 10am and beyond. Took a few weeks but I eventually got it back to 10.30am... and he sleeps till past six most days.

There was other stuff, like a regular bedtime routine (I hate routines too, but have had to come to terms with the fact that DS loves them grin) and breaking the link between milk and sleep, e.g. milk, story, bed.

MatNanPlus Wed 10-Sep-08 10:29:57

damadilemma yes i would wake baby after 1 hour in the morning nap and then get the big nap in after lunch and maybe walk/sling outing around 4-5 so a brief nap can be had to exrtend up time till 7/7.30 so mornings will start 11-12 hours after that.

I would disturb baby that fell asleep at a feed for reasons,

[1] it breaks the must suck/have milk to fall asleep association and

[2] by waking them up a little they are more aware of their changed surroundings

Both of these things will make it easier for baby to self settle when waking up if still tired.

I also tend to feed in a lit room and turn the lights down/off before settling baby so again there is the association dark=sleep.

It takes time and consistancy to change things but it does happen.

current baby is 6.5m
wakes 6-7 BF
0815 top up BF and dressed
0845-1030 out, walk, shopping
will nap for 10-30mins from 0945/10am time
1030 home
floor play
1100 FF
1145/50 bed
1430 woken, FF
play in bouncer 20 mins then floor
1615 stories
1630 bed
1730 woken
1800 BF
1845/1900 walk (in italy, warm and light)
2000 bath & BF
2030 bed

she somtimes wakes between 12-4 but not always and BF not given if she settles.

Nappies when needed.

bumbleweed Wed 10-Sep-08 11:16:24

thanks for the further replies and solid suggestions

he woke at 4.50am today after a v unsettled night - I am shattered

mulling it all over - just popped on for 5 mins, now have to pick dd up from playgroup now so will post again later

damadilemma Wed 10-Sep-08 11:51:20

wow matnanplus that is some routine. I couldn't be that organised. Today DD only napped 40 mins at 8.15am anyway so will try and get her to have a longer nap at about 12.30, and then gradually shift it all back. Thanks for the advice! Good luck bumble, I know the feeling.

MatNanPlus Wed 10-Sep-08 12:52:39

It is i guess Dama but it also means her older sibling has his own time and his day runs well, it also means everyone involved (extended family) feel confident in what is happening / expected so everyone has fun with a sunny baby rather than over tired grouchy baby which is unfair on everyone, we also found if routine is messed about with re sleeps then she is very agitated at night so it is a vicious circle less night sleep very grouchy day baby who then actually can;t sleep deeply at all and who then is up and down loudly protesting all night so it contiues to the point where she is maybe getting 6 hours good sleepin 24 shock so really makes sense, plus it gives everyone time to eat/relax.

I do find more day sleep = more settled night

damadilemma Wed 10-Sep-08 13:44:04

yes very true a routine can really help. I have the same issue with DS wanting his own time with me and if DD won't nap it makes it all very difficult. Thing is she is basically a very easy baby who doesn't get too grouchy, and has been in a more or less routine that pretty much worked for a while and she napped quite easily in the day. But she has now very recently started sleeping through the night (till 5am anyway), and since then getting her to nap has been hard work (just took her 35 minutes to settle) and at times I give up. suppose its her adjusting to a new way of sleeping but the fear is that by doing whatever I need to (patting, shushing, pushing in buggy) to get her to nap in the day, she will forget the self-settling that she can now do at night...

bumbleweed Wed 10-Sep-08 15:28:22

MatNan - here is our day - I dont know if this info will help you to help me - I hope so:

One of us gets up with ds at 5ish (usually dh because I have been up feeding in the night). Dd (aged nearly 3) wakes somewhere between 6-7am - which is when I get up.

Ds sometimes wants a bf sometimes not. Breakfast happens before 8am - ds sometimes eats some porridge or fruit sometimes not.

No set routine for daytime activities as dd just started playgroup last week - Mondays at 12.15 and Wednesdays at 9am. Other days we either go to group or visiting friends or park.

Ideally would like ds to have his morning nap in cot and we go out afterwards - it has been happening so early. But not sure how it would work if I did manage to get him napping at 10ish. I cant take dd out for a walk every day at 10 because the weather is so awful.

Lunch sometime between 12 and 1.30 depending when we get back and what time I am bfing ds. Lately he has been wanting to back to sleep at this time and so too tired to eat at lunch time. Usually goes to sleep on bf or in car and transfers to cot. Sleeps no more than an hour and wakes up grouchy - teeth or constipation wake him.

Dd needs to be up the stairs for bedtime by 6pm so aim for tea ready between 5 and 5.30pm. Dh gets in at 5.45pm and warms his up before doing dd's bedtime. Ds knackered by 4.30pm so fusses, rubs eyes, clings to me while I try to make food. When I try to bf him back to sleep at this time occasionally he has gone off, mostly he treats the bf as a snack and doesnt sleep as he expects the full bed-time routine (which takes 20-30 mins) before he will finally settle.

Oh and sometimes he will eat at tea-time but not much. I think he is too tired.

Probably sounds really random - but it was really working for us when he was napping at 10am for 90-120 mins and at 2.30pm for 90 mins because he was alert and awake rest of day especially meal times.

bumbleweed Wed 10-Sep-08 15:30:18

Just been to HV to have him weighed - he is not getting enough calories - has dropped to the 9th centile and only gained an ounce in the last month. She said he is thriving but needs more calories and that his chronic over-tiredness probably affecting his food intake.


onepieceoflollipop Wed 10-Sep-08 15:33:56

Hope you get some more helpful replies bumble.

Were you signing off with the shortened form of your name (Bum) or just expressing your frustration? wink


bumbleweed Wed 10-Sep-08 15:35:34

Thanks for the other suggestions and moral support:

- earlier bed-time I could do if I gave dd her tea before 4.30 and settled her in front of cbeebies while I did his bedtime

- 4.30pm nap in pushchair I could maybe do and like the idea of personally, but it would be the hassle of persuading a tired dd to go out for walk or on buggyboard even if raining/windy

- wake to feed before 5am. sometimes he wakes at 4.30am anyway and I feed him or cuddle back to sleep and he does go back off but only till 5am or shortly after so not convinced. his night time waking times are random and not predictable.

I'm thinking the earlier bedtime might be the first thing to try, plus getting more food into him to help him settle better at night.

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