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Early waking, wake to sleep not working, any other ideas?!!!

(15 Posts)
JoandMax Thu 27-Aug-09 10:18:42

Hi everyone,

My DS is 13.5 months and has been an early riser for about 6 months now. The last month has consistently been 5am which I was fine with when it was light but now it's darker and I'm pregnant it's starting to get me down a little!

We have tried various things of earlier/later bedtime, blackout blind, more/less day napping etc but no joy. Have tried wake to sleep for a week but it hasn't made any difference.

Does anyone have any others ideas that could work??

At the moment he has a half hour nap at some point between 9am and 10am and a longer hour to hour and a half nap at about 1pm then bed at 7pm.

Broms Thu 27-Aug-09 17:59:46

I feel for you - my DS has been early riser since he was 6 months - now 20 months and its getting earlier - 4.30am at the moment - the only thing for you that I could suggest is cutting the morning nap and just giving him a lunchtime nap - it didn't make any difference for us with regards to the early mornings (it helped with lunchtime nap)but for some people I know it has helped. I have given up trying to change the early mornings now having tried everything. I think just some of them are early morning people and thats it. It does get you down especially when its dark but I do feel for you - I'm not pregnant so I can't imagine how tired you must be feeling.

janx Thu 27-Aug-09 20:12:20

I feel your pain - but they may be light at the end of the tunnel. My ds 20 months was an early riser - 5-5.30am and really whingey with it...but in the last 2 weeks is sleeping until 7.30 - we are in heaven. Is he sharing a room? we moved our dd out of the room and it made a difference, bth i think he just grew out of it...he is a happier boy and we are happier parents - good luck

JoandMax Thu 27-Aug-09 21:10:20

Sorry to hear others have the same thing, I find the early starts worse then getting up in the night!

Broms - I might try cutting out the morning nap, haven't so far as it seems such a long time to go from 5am to 12.30 without sleep but I think he is getting ready to drop it. Naps are sometimes a bit tricky as if he naps nearer to 10 he doesn't want to go down til 1.30 then wakes up later and doesn't want to go to bed etc etc. I know it sounds selfish but I love the 7pm bedtime as it gives me a break and I would be really reluctant to make it later!

Janx - you have given me hope! He will be 20 months when this DC is due and if he was out of this phase by then it will make things a whole lot easier. He is our 1st so no sharing of room

jamandjerusalem Fri 28-Aug-09 14:11:23

I would drop the morning nap too - I think he's probably catching up on lost sleep then - and maybe bring the lunchtime nap earlier. I know some DCs who nap 11-1 and have lunch when they wake.

Sometimes it's worth changing things around as it might help 'reset' their body clocks.

The only other thing that has worked for me and I'm about to embark on doing it this weekend for DS who wakes 5.30ish, is to try the No Cry Sleep Solution technique for extending naps.

I did this with DS when he was 9mo and stretched his 40 minute naps to 1.5-2 hours ones. It's tough, though, you have to be dedicated!

So for my DS waking at 5.30, I will set my alarm for 5am, go into DS's room and wait. When I hear the first murmurs of him waking, I will put my hand on his back, rub his back, possibly shh him a bit until I hear his breathing slow and sense his muscles relax. I won't leave until I'm sure he's back in a deep sleep. Bugger is, you have to do it every morning for a week or so.

We tried it on Sunday at 6am, DS eventually woke at 7.15am. So an extra 75 minutes sleep, which they are missing out on every day, does really make a difference. DS was really chirpy on Sunday! I think the slow creep of less and less sleep can have a really negative effect - DS gets hyper at bedtime, often doesn't fall asleep for an hour or more after we've put him to bed, and wakes early without fail. It's pernicious.

JoandMax Fri 28-Aug-09 15:19:59

Well, we tried today with no morning nap and it was ok. He got a little bit grizzly about 11am so went for a wander up and down the road on his trike which perked him up. Gave him lunch earlier than normal and he was in bed fast asleep by 12.30 with no fuss at all which was brilliant! Woke up happy at about 2.15pm and is racing around now so plenty of energy!!!

I've heard of the No Cry Sleep Solution, I think we'll give it a week and if no improvement try that - I'm not comfortable with CC so it would suit us. To be honest being up early for a short period wouldn't worry me too much if it made him go longer long term!

I definitely agree he catches up in the morning nap, sometimes by 6.30am he looks a little pale and drawn so I'm sure he needs an extra hour overnight. That's brilliant about your DS sleeping til 7.15am, must of felt like heaven! Hope it carries on going well and thanks for everyone's tips.

Broms Fri 28-Aug-09 18:10:50

So JamandJersusalem - if my DS wakes normally about 5am should I go in at 4.30am and wait til he stirs and then rub his back til he drifts off again? In addition to his early mornings (a year now!) he has started crying every time he stirs and takes forever to re-settle. I tried CC and it didn't work at all - made him ten times worse so interested in the no cry sleep solution - is there a book I can get?

jamandjerusalem Fri 28-Aug-09 19:06:03

That is the theory, Broms.

This is the book for toddlers, there's also a baby version which features this technique (extending naps).

The trick is getting in there before he comes out of deep sleep. We've had a lot of racing along the landing thinking we might just catch it but finding ourselves rubbing the back of a wriggly toddler shouting 'nee nor!' and other catchphrases. Most depressing.

Broms Fri 28-Aug-09 19:18:12

Great many thanks - seems we have a whole range of issues here at the moment - 3rd night of getting into a total state about bedtime - DH dealing with it tonight as I just can't. He is just screaming and screaming - he just must be tired as didn't settle til 8pm then up for 2 hours last night at midnight - and then awake at 5am..........if you can help with that too please!

jamandjerusalem Fri 28-Aug-09 19:27:06

That sounds so familiar! I'm considering using Millpond because bedtimes are so fraught and it takes ages for DS to settle.

A friend used them and their suggestions for her were:
* Bathtime at 6.45 (the hour before this is quiet time, no TV, books are good)
* Bath lasts 5 minutes only, after this most kids become stimulated rather than sleepy
* Into parents room for nappy, pyjamas (with a light on) then straight into dark nursery, into cot no messing about with books etc.
* Crying at this stage is dealt either by CC or gradual retreat, depending on parents'/child's preference

Seems quite hardcore but friend said it worked a treat - her problem was DD waking lots in the night - but I guess their advice is tailored to individual issues and temperament of child.

My DS really enjoys books at bedtime and the No Cry Sleep Solution gives good advice about creating a really restful routine, quite long but I guess if you start early enough it should be ok! I tried it last night and start to finish, bath to sleep, was 1 hour 15. DH is doing it now, fingers crossed it'll be a quick-ish settle. There are lots of tips about things that might help bedtime to be stress-free, but not exactly speedy.

jamandjerusalem Fri 28-Aug-09 19:28:59

PS think you're right that your DS is probably over tired - it's a really difficult spiral to stop, I think. My DS was so tired at naptime today he had a massive tantrum and cried himself to sleep - there was nothing I could have done to soothe him, I tried everything. I hate it when he cries, it breaks my heart

Broms Sat 29-Aug-09 07:15:28

Thanks jamandjersusalem - looking into all those tips - going to try anything as it can't go on like this - we are all exhasuted!

Joandmax - hope mornings get better - if anything works please let us know.

DS did get to 5.45 this morning but he was up from 2.30 til 4am just standing up and screaming in his cot wanting us to pick him up - we just continuosly said lie down its bed time - pupd makes things 100 times worse - we gave up saying that after an hour and then for 30 mins he cried and eventually stopped. Will it ever end......

lilysam Sat 29-Aug-09 08:15:44

Oh, i feel for you. My ds is very similar. He's 18 months - if he sleeps through (once or twice a week if lucky) he's up anything from 5am onwards (6am is a lie-in here). Yesterday i cut his nap to an hour as for a few days in a row he slept 7-6.15am so i got greedy sad and wanted to see if he'd go longer. Last night he was up 2am, 4am, 4.30am, 5am and then 5.50am for good. Not sure how much he slept from 4am. Like you now not sure hw he can last all morning before a nap. Do i let him have a longer np to catch up? OR less to make him sleep and pray he's not overtired again??

I have a dd so don't want her woken all the time so hate the crying. I'm already exhausted with being in early pg again (what have we done!) and am wondering if things will ever be normal.

The only thing that gets ds back to sleep is a quick drink of water from his bottle. I know is a habit but i prefer it to hours of crying....

Sorry no use from me but you're not alone.

If its any help DD was a rotten sleeper too (despite me reading tones about sleep, routines etc) until 2 1/2 and now can sleep from 6.30pm-8.30pm!

lilysam Sat 29-Aug-09 08:18:11

I would definately cut out the morning nap - it's the fine balance of the afternoon one thats the answer i think..

1 1/4ish hours seems to be my sons optimum time - think i have to be happy with a 6am wake up

JoandMax Sat 29-Aug-09 10:08:58

Lilysam - our DS's sound very similar!! I have put him down for a nap now as last night he was up from 1am to 4am just grizzling/shouting then wide awake from 5.20am so poor little thing is exhausted, no way he could of gone til lunchtime. He rarely sleeps through either and like you, a quick drink of water from a bottle and a cuddle sends him back to sleep so I do that.......

Am going to let him have the longer nap now though and a shorter one after lunch to see if that helps. It's all so confusing this sleep stuff.

Am liking the thought though that one day he'll be like your DD, wow!!

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