Author Topic: early morning wake-ups, where to draw the line?  (Read 921 times)

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Offline jenben

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early morning wake-ups, where to draw the line?
« on: December 17, 2005, 13:16:19 pm »
hello out there - we've gotten into a bit of a pickle lately.  my son is just over 7 months old and is waking up between 4 and 5 in the morning.  originally, he woke between 6:30 and 7:00am.  That was before the time change.  Then it was steady at 5:40am for a while.  At first, I tried to get him to extend his sleep, but then thought because he was still napping well and sleeping through the night 'til 5:40am that I should follow his rhythm and get myself to bed earlier.  I thought I would draw the line and not feed before 5:30am.  However, he's now waking consistently before 5:00am.  One morning it's 4:10, another it's 4:23, or 4:35, and our best morning lately is 4:50.  Do I try wake-to-sleep?  Because he's inconsistent within that hour, when would I set my alarm to wake him?  Should I also use pu/pd until 5:30 if wake-to-sleep doesn't take?  I've done that before and it's heart-wrenching because he's crawling down to my chest when I pick him up, wanting to nurse.  I've thought of having husband go in, but I think he may be going through some separation anxiety and may cry even worse, which is also heart-wrenching. 

I'm trying to gradually move his bedtime later, having realized he can stay awake between naps a little longer.  My thought is if I give him a catnap between 5:00 and 5:30pm, I'll feed him solids when he wakes and then breast feed around 6:30 and then to bed around 7:00 or 7:30pm.  he's not getting alot of calories from solids yet. we started them about a month ago and he doesn't eat as much in the evening as he does in the afternoon.  We've also been slowly shifting his dream feed which is now at 9:00pm.  Sometimes he nurses well, but usually only a little.  Last night hardly any at all. I want to keep tweeking things just enough without making things worse.  currently, he's getting 2 1/2-3 hours of naps during day and about 10 hours of sleep at night.

Having said all that, we leave for Christmas Holiday in four days, where everything may get pretty botched up.  My main concern is not waking the other guests in the house.  If  things don't change before we go and he wakes at 4:30 I need a plan.  Should I feed him then or get him up and try to distract him until 5:30am? 

Even though I'm in bed by 9:30pm, starting my day 1 or 2 hours before the sun comes up is just miserable.   Any advice or encouragement?  I could sure use a boost. :cry: We've been struggling with this for a while, so much that I'm not sure I could be missing something so obvious.

Offline mattandcindy

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early morning wake-ups, where to draw the line?
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2005, 20:36:05 pm »
Sorry you never got a response to this. I hope things are getting better for you.
We are going through the same thing with our 10 month old right now. She was a great, consistent sleeper til 7-7:30am UNTIL daylight savings. Since then everything has gone to hell.....
The only thing I have found, (and trust me I have tried EVERYTHING!) is making her skip that catnap. I make sure she is awake from her last nap by 4pm. Bedtime is 7pm. If I let her do the late catnap (she likes to go down about 4:30 and sleep until 5:30 or 5:45pm) then she wakes up early (b/w 4a-5am) but if I make her stay up, skip the catnap (this sucks also as she is grumpy) I can usually get her to sleep until 6am. I never thought I would be happy about my daughter getting up at 6am but it is better than 4am! Also, my dh and I decided we wouldn't get her out of bed until 6:30am. We were also trying to "go with her cycle" and it didn't seem to make things better, she would just wake up earlier and earlier each day. (We finally joked that one night she just wasn't going to go to sleep at all!).
I hope you have a good Christmas and get things figured out. Let me know if you figured out anything that helped!

Offline Mommy in Moose Jaw

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Same boat
« Reply #2 on: December 23, 2005, 12:44:56 pm »
Hi there.  I'm glad I found someone else with the same problem.  My dd is 5 months old on the 24th and we have been doing EASY for about a month now.  The routine is going well except for a couple of little 'problems'. 

She still has trouble getting past her waking after her first sleep cycle with naps so we have been going in before her wake-up and supporting her into deep sleep by securing her swaddled arms and gently shushing.  This seems to be effective so I thought I would try it with the other 'problem' -- early wake ups.

It doesn't happen consistently and we actually have the occasional 'perfect' night of 11-12 hours of sleep, waking at 7:00am, but when she does wake up early it sure makes the rest of the day tough.  Her wake-ups are anwhere from 5:00 and onward.  In order to be consistent I have been doing pu/pd following early waking until it is time to get up (she never goes back to sleep though).  At this point, however, she really doesn't need to be picked up as she just kind of fusses and cries a bit while I'm shushing and patting.  Still not a fun way to spend the first hour or more of your day!

Previously, I tried wake-to-sleep but had the same problem about 'where to set the alarm when it's not consistent'.  Even if I did catch her before her wake-up, she would get up early anyways.  I came to the conclusion that it didn't work because it isn't habitual waking (times varied), it's inability to reenter sleep in the late morning, so basically the same problem as with her naps.

This morning, I heard her squirming before she woke up so I tried supportive sleep which took a good hour and then she woke up anyways at 6:00am while I was right there 'supporting' her and cooed at me like 'what are you trying to do, I'm awake?'

I just keep thinking 'consistency, consistency', so no matter how tired I feel or how much I dread the fussing, I keep her in her crib until 7:00 (I know it's not hunger).  Then it's nap time about 2 hours later so that usually has naps skewed for the rest of the day, but at least she ends up getting an appropriate total amount of sleep for that day.  I have found that if she is awake for any more than 9-10 hours per day, her next day's sleep is poor, naps and nighttime.  We usually go through a couple of days of poor sleep and then she'll have a good day or two.  I just keep thinking that if I'm consistent with the response, there will eventually be more good days than bad. 

Also recently she seems quite gassy from 5:00 forward (BF and poops are more infrequent now) so that might be what disturbs her.  I am often tempted to just let her get up when she wakes early rather than deal with the fussing but then I know it will just create a new habit and get earlier and earlier.

Sorry I have no solutions, but it helps to know others are having the same problem!  I'm just going to keep up with the same response and hope for more good days!  and I know from experience thus far that things that were a problem in the past improved with time and consistency so I'm hoping the same will apply to these little 'tweakings'.

P.S.  We are probably the only region in the world that doesn't use Daylight Savings Time at all so we haven't had to adjust to different sleep times.  And as for disturbing others in a new house, I think I would just warn them of the fussing in the early am and try to keep her routine as consistent as possible.  I would dread having to start from square one at the end of the holidays!