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4 am wake up in 12 month old
no hope of resettling so int bed with us..help!

16 replies to this topic

#1 PurpleNess

Posted 17 December 2012 - 11:40 AM

Hi all,

I'd really like some advice or to hear from parents who's bub does the same.

DS just turned 1 last week and for the last couple of months he's been sleeping well but waking at 4am ( 4.15 usually) and is impossible to resettle. There are tears & he stands up in his cot. I can tell he is still tired, although he's usually had 9 hrs good sleep by this point ( some occassional resettles with help & on his own), I know he needs more

We've tried :
-lying him down with dummy & bear ( screaming escalates) patting & shhhhing ( 45 minutes doesn't work)
-Cuddles & rocking - he calms but loses it again as soon as we put him in cot
- offered water - We recently stopped any over night feeding, he used to have a bottle around 3-4 am. He didn't seem fussed about it so I don't want to start that again.
- Have also stayed in the room , laid on the floor once he's quietened down ( sometimes works), sneak out once he drifts off but he seems to know & starts up all over again.

Our only option is to bring him into our bed, thank god it's a king size. Some nights he goes straight back to sleep , some he stuffs around for half an hr..keeping me awake which is not ideal but I cope, its better than screaming!!

He has just cut all 4 of his top teeth & I put it down to teething, so he's had a bottle & neurofen before bed, this stopped on the weekend as his teeth are well through so I'm not sure if its been his teeth

During the day he sleeps usually for 1.5 hrs in the morning 8.30- 10 and another nap from 1-3 but sometimes he wakes at 2.30 & then is awake until 6.45 bed time.

I've moved his bedtime back to 6pm but this hasn't changed anything but at east he's getting a bit more sleep at night, but it means DH doesn't get to see him a night which isn't good - he's the bedtime guy :-)

He eats well, has a 150 ml bottle of formula ( using up what we have) around 6am, 1.5 weetbix & cows milk at 7-7.30am

10-10.30am - another 120 mls bottle

11.30-12 - Lunch - finger food, lots of varoety from roasted veg chips, veg patties, poached chicken, polenta sticks, sandwiches, french toast, cruskits with avo or hommus etc etc  & lots of fruit and yoghurt or cheese.

3.00pm - a snack - fruit, cruskit, yoghurt, custard etc depending on what he had for lunch

5.00 Dinner - usually a lumpy puree of meat & veg or rice or pasta

6.00 bath, bottle read & bed by 6.45 at the latest .

Any advice on night time sleep or day time naps.

He sleeps in a sleeping bag, hasn't been swaddled since 4 mths old and is a very active sleeper....

Thanks for reading, sorry its long but I wanted to give as much relevant info as I can....HELP


#2 Guest_divineM_*

Posted 17 December 2012 - 11:49 AM

My DD has never done 4am but has done 5am-ish in the past. Have you tried leaving him in the cot and doing walk in/walk out to give him the message that it's not time to wake up yet? in my experience when we dealt with it by bringing DD into our bed it never got better because she had something to wake up for, but if you just leave them there and just go in saying "time to sleep still" and pat/pat or whatever then walk out (repeat/repeat) eventually they realise there is nothing fun to wake up for at this ungodly hour!

#3 Tesseract

Posted 17 December 2012 - 11:49 AM

Do you feel he's tired enough? DD dropped to one day sleep at 12 months, but she never did sleep much...

Anyway the other thing I wondered about is whether he is warm enough? 4 am is typically the coldest part of the night. It's interesting that he settles more easily with a cuddle or in your bed - this could be comfort obviously but also it is warm.

I'm finding summer a real challenge with DD because in the evening when I put her to bed it is hot so I put her in very little, but then by about 4 am the temperature drops and she gets cold. I actually set the heating to come on if it drops below 21 degrees, and it usually does come on about 4 am and this helps her stay asleep.

#4 PurpleNess

Posted 17 December 2012 - 12:04 PM

Hi Tesseract thanks for that, I'm finding the same, his bedroom faces east in WA so gets very warm during the day, I do my best to keep it cool & he seems to be fine with a warmer room.

Often when he goes to be it's still 25 degrees in there but he settles down fine ( lightly dressed). I don't have a heater I can put on a timer , we have popped a cotton blanket over him before but I'm scared to go in  before this time just incase I wake him...
I'll try that tonight.
Our bed is a lot warmer obviously given the body heat & also its a latex matress , they are warmer than normal matresses...

Oh and as for day sleeps yes I think he still needs them, he gets tired after 3 hrs of awake time, more so in the mornings....I could try dropping the arvo sleep & stretching out his morning but it's hard, he gets quite grizzly, lots of eye rubbing, yawning. We go outside, change rooms/activites but it's hard to push him & I don't want to risk him getting overtired...

Food for thought, thanks.

Divine M - agreed we may be setting up a habit but the whole 4am screaming thing night after night really wears thin and I'm really not in a frame of mind to listen to him scream until the sun is up....we have tried this & to no avail, he wakes again as soon as we leave the room.....perhaps I just need to harden up but I don't believe in leaving your child to cry.

Thank you both!.

Edited by PurpleNess, 17 December 2012 - 12:06 PM.

#5 Cranky Kitten

Posted 17 December 2012 - 12:57 PM

It's a tough one - my 13 month old is doing similar shenanigans most mornings at the moment, up at the butt-crack of dawn and ready to play. I'm wondering if the combination of it getting light really early, birds singing and it being cool in the morning has something to do with it, as none of the changes to his bed time or nap times we've tried have worked.

DS usually wakes some time in the night for a bf, I put a light cotton blanket on him and turn the fan down when he goes back to bed but it's rare for him to sleep much longer than about 5.30am. We have music playing softly in his bedroom I think I might try turning the volume up a little after his feed to see if it helps drown out the birds chirping outside his window.

Unfortunately for me, 9 times out of 10 not even bringing him into our bed gets him to go back to sleep - he's not grizzly or upset, just full of beans :/

#6 fun_fairz

Posted 17 December 2012 - 01:10 PM

There is a theory that the time of the first nap of the day can impact the time of morning waking. I know people who have put this to the test and it has worked so you could try to move his morning nap to 9:00/9:30 and his second nap around 2:00/2:30. It can be tough for a few days but a simple thing to do if it works!

I also second the coldness. I woke last night at 4am as I was cold.

#7 Ice Queen

Posted 17 December 2012 - 01:14 PM

DS is 12.5mo and mostly sleeps all night unless teething or sick.

For me the early morning wake up call was a clear sign he was sleeping too much in the day.  He now sleeps from noon-2.30 and has been sleeping much better at night with this new routine.  When he was doing 2 sleeps I woke him after an hour in the mornings, any longer and it clearly affected his night sleep.

I agree about the cold factor and in fact this happened last night with DS.  I was up and down for an hr at 3am, finally I changed him into a warmer sleeping bag with arms and added a blanket, he went straight back to sleep.  I then had to put socks on!

Edited by Ehill, 17 December 2012 - 01:15 PM.

#8 Feral-as-Meggs

Posted 17 December 2012 - 01:35 PM

OP I could have written your post over the last 2 months, it's awful isnt it.

I tried everything on your list, and nothing really worked.  I truly think it's behavioural rather than hot/cold/hungry etc.  I have had his aircon set at a range of constant temperatures and it didnt make any difference.  He doesn't even really want to go back to sleep in my bed with a BF, he just wants to play.  If he can't get up then he has a tantrum.

I have had marginal improvements with an earlier bedtime (6.15) and stretching out the morning as long as possible before his nap, and it also seems better with one long nap at 11 rather than 2 naps - but that means I can't go anywhere in the morning as he will fall asleep in the car or pram as soon as we go.  To keep him up so long means constant playing - which no-one wants to do after waking up at 4.00am.

But the last 2 nights he has made it to 6am.  I heard him both nights at around 4, crying, but I counted to 23 seconds (I try to wait for a count of 60 before getting up) and he settled on his own.

Maybe its something they grow out of (I hope).

#9 Guest_divineM_*

Posted 17 December 2012 - 01:47 PM

QUOTE (meggs1 @ 17/12/2012, 02:35 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Maybe its something they grow out of (I hope).

i agree and want to expand on my previous post. when DD went through her first couple of 5am phases the approach i described in my previous post worked and worked quickly ( a few days of keeping her in the cot till 6am). when she started her last phase at about 16 months old it did not work as well and it pretty much went on for about 3-4 moths. then she just magically stopped (we have only had a couple of pre 6am wake ups in the last month). I think there are some developmental things they go through from time to time and sometimes all you can do is suck it up and say "this too shall pass" and work with it best you can. and don't create too many problems for the long ter...by that i mean if you don't mind them in your bed at 4am great, but if you do mind in the long term then maybe look for another solution. Sleep school, sleep nanny?

#10 ~ppp~

Posted 17 December 2012 - 01:57 PM

Ill second the shortening of the day naps ( either consolidate or shorten by an hour). He will be cranky for a week whilst he adjusts but far better to be cranky and waking at 5-6am, than happy and up at 4am (in my opinion! 4am is just plain uncivilised!). We did this with our 2yr old DS who loved a 12-3:30pm day nap and was up at 4:30-5 each day. He is now woken after 2.5hr day nap and he wakes consistently at 6am.

If you look at the figures on sleep the average 12 month old needs 13-14 hrs sleep per 24 hrs. So if he is napping 1.5 + 2 = 3.5hrs a day, that leaves you 9.5-10.5hrs overnight which if he goes to bed at 6:30 means he is up between 4-4:30am

So I'd be culling an hour from his day naps - personally I'd probably do a short 20-40 mini-nap when he is desperate in the morning (easiest done in car as you then can easily wake him, you would be amazed how energised they can be off a short nap) and then another 2hr nap at around 11:30-12ish (preferably 12) each day. He won't like it for the first few days till he learns to sleep in. But hopefully you will soon be kicking yourself for not doing it earlier :-)

Eta: he will be super cranky when you wake him so do it gently and give him 5-10min of cuddles as wake up time - we did this 8months ago and DS still requires " kid gloves" for the 5-10 min when we wake him

Edited by knowsnotmuch, 17 December 2012 - 02:01 PM.

#11 wallofdodo

Posted 17 December 2012 - 02:01 PM

QUOTE (fun_fairz @ 17/12/2012, 02:10 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
There is a theory that the time of the first nap of the day can impact the time of morning waking. I know people who have put this to the test and it has worked so you could try to move his morning nap to 9:00/9:30 and his second nap around 2:00/2:30. It can be tough for a few days but a simple thing to do if it works!

I also second the coldness. I woke last night at 4am as I was cold.

I think this, as well as shortening his day naps. Or putting him to bed later at night.

#12 PurpleNess

Posted 17 December 2012 - 02:42 PM

Ok great ladies, I think youre right about the day naps so given he had a 2 hr nap this morning I'll try & hold out till 2pm for his arvo nap today & give him 1 hr....lets see how that goes.

Then I'll try & push his morning nap back till at least 9 tomorrow & keep it to no more than an hr.

I'll admit on Tuesdays his arvo nap is delayed until 2 due to swimming & this usually means a better night sleep but I always put it down to him bening super tired...

Thanks again - any one else, keen to hear more

#13 niggles

Posted 17 December 2012 - 03:33 PM

Purpleness you make my life feel better every time you post. I feel your pain and empathise. Ours starts at 4.17 exactly and we blame the east facing windown in Perth made worse by the large tree just outside in which the birds like to gather and greet the day.

We've been managing by taking it in turns to get up with him and holding out for those odd days where he lasts until 5.05. He will not resettle in bed with us at that time. He's just ready to play.

I'm considering investing in blockout curtains. That won't stop the darned birds though.

Our routine is similar to yours, though his naps are slightly later as he has had to wait out for the school drop off / swimming lessons most days. Our nights are all over the place; each tooth is taking 2 weeks to break through. It's torture.

#14 Natttmumm

Posted 17 December 2012 - 03:42 PM

If hes going to bed at 6pm, 4 am is probably not that bad. Mine wake early and always have if they consistently go to bed before 7:30 to 8pm. I aim for asleep by 8. One night wouldnt result in early waking but if I put them down at 6 every night they would be awake after about 10.5 hours.

I would push his whole day out - e.g dinner around 5:30pm, 6pm and then bath and bottle around 7pm. bed closer to 7:30. Try it for a week if you can. If he is really tired by 4pm try a small napo in the pram to get him through. Its hard when they are little as they get so tired.

The only other thing I can suggest is a bottle of milk at 4am and back to bed. my DD2 who was a great little sleeper always woke at 5ish and had milk and back to sleep until 7am. This went on until she was 2. if i stopped it she cried for ages so it wasnt worth that.

#15 PurpleNess

Posted 17 December 2012 - 04:25 PM

Niggles I think our kids were twins split at birth!
We have blockout curtains & he sleeps fine in there during the day so I don't think its the birds etc.....

As for the teeth I just gave Neurofen everynight, to hell with it I said, I needed sleep! He's a really happy kid most of the time so this 4am ( 4.16 most days!!!) is driving me spare so I'm going to follow the suggestions here and push his whole routine back by an hour for a week & see what happens. If he woke up at 6am I'd be happy to get up & start my day but 4 is just ridiculous!!

Nattmum - we used to give the milk at this time but I know he doesn't need it so will be trying the routine changes suggested before heading back to the bottle but I'm also a believer in 'whatever works' so never say never!

Thanks again everyone some great ideas - this is why I love EB!

#16 SilverSky

Posted 17 December 2012 - 04:36 PM

My 2yo often wakes up with the birds and the sun, from 4am onwards. I just go to bed myself at 8pm and tell myself it won't be like this forever.

#17 PurpleNess

Posted 28 December 2012 - 09:50 AM

Hi Everyone, I just wanted to pop in and say a massive THANK YOU to everyone who offered advice.

For the last week and a bit we've been really focused on DS's day naps & have pushed them back an hour and limited his naps to a total of 3 hrs a day & we've seen steady improvements in his night time sleeping. ( so his first nap is 3 hrs after wake up for 1 hr and then second nap at 2pm till 4 pm)

Last night he slept from 7pm - 7am with only one easy resettle around 4am & we are sooooooooo happy. We actually had to go into his room this morning to see that he was OK!! It's bloody hot here at the moment so not sure if that's had any effect but we definitely feel we've made a breakthrough and are on the other side.

So to all the parents out there in EB land, and I know there are a lot, don't lose faith, ask for advice, try something & see if it works, if not try something else....breath and I hope you find something that works for you!

Thanks you again everyone!!

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