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21 month old starts the day at 4 am - HELP

(4 Posts)
SoTiredOfTheWheelsOnTheBus Mon 05-Jan-09 14:01:57

My 21 month old ds has had his moments but has generally been a good sleeper. He goes down to sleep around 7.30 in the evening, and usually stays asleep until around 5.30/6 am (which is fine as I have to get up early for work). He was a bit poorly before Christmas, and had a couple of nights where he slept for 12 hours straight. Stupidly, we thought this was fantastic, but obviously since then it has all gotten worse. He recovered from his cold, but then started waking up at 5am. He did this for about a week, then the last five days he's been waking between 3.45 and 4.15 am. Sometimes he'll play by himself in his cot quietly (well, you can hear him chatting and singing to himself, which is quite cute really) for up to 30 min, but sooner or later (and by later I still mean around 4.30) he'll start crying and calling out for mummy or daddy. We have quite thin walls, so leaving him to cry isn't fair on the neighbours. If you go into his room, he won't stop crying until you pick him up. I keep the light off, and other than 'ssshhh' I don't say anything, and try not to make eye-contact. Once he's picked up, he'll either go quiet and give you a cuddle (but he won't go back to sleep - if you put him back in his cot he'll do it all over again), or else he'll really wake up and start pointing at the light and asking for a story/light and will keep asking until either I give in or he cries. Obviously, after all that, he doesn't go back to sleep.

He only has one nap during the day time (for anywhere between 30 and 90 minutes). He has a drink of milk just before bedtime, and then a large drink and breakfast at 6 am. He doesn't have a drink during the night usually - do you think this could be the problem, that he's thirsty? He doesn't ask specifically for a drink, but I do get an enthusiastic response if I ask him if he wants breakfast. Would introducing a drink when he wakes up be worth a try, or would it cause more problems? Please let me know any ideas or ways that other people have dealt with this. Four o'clock in the morning is just way too early to start the day!

anotheryearanothername Mon 05-Jan-09 20:13:11

Oh you poor thing, what a nightmare! I have an early waker (5am) at 15mo so don't have any neat answer for you. I guess he might be thirsty? Or maybe hungry- sometimes I give my DS an oatcake at 4ish if he stirs and he sometimes goes for longer then. Or does he just need more fresh air and exercise during the day? [know it's probably not that simple but always worth checking]

SoTiredOfTheWheelsOnTheBus Tue 06-Jan-09 08:33:46

It's nice to know he's not the only one! I don't think it's lack of fresh air - we get out for a walk every day (well, he has a bit of a walk, then gets back in the buggy and I keep going). I gave him an extra snack before bed time last night, and am trying waking-to-sleep. It seemed to work this morning (he had been waking at 4, so I got up at 3 to rouse him a bit, then he woke just before 5, which was better). I'll keep it going for another week and see how it goes. Hopefully this is just a phase and he'll get over it!

anotheryearanothername Tue 06-Jan-09 18:52:03

Amazing, isn't it, when 5am seems like a lie in! Sounds like you're heading in the right direction... good luck. Let me know how it goes- if it works for you, I may just give it a try myself!

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