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Baby awake and ready to start her day crazy early - HELP!


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For months my now almost 11 month old wakes in the 4am hour, 80% of the time, and is wide awake and ready to have fun.  It is killing me.  I have read the experts and have tried a variety of things but nothing is working.  All of them say this is too early for her to wake up and start her day but I think she has other plans.

 

Some of the things I have tried:

 

Earlier and later bedtimes

cosleeping

partial cosleeping

sleeping in the room with her

sleeping out of the room

dream feeding

rocking her back down (this works maybe 1/2 the time and usually takes an hour - then she "naps" for 30-45 minutes and is right back up)

 

I am at a loss.  Anyone BTDT and have advice?  Even if it is "suck it up, this is not going anywhere"?  Even if she just regularly woke in the 5am hour I would feel better about this, at least mentally.

 

Cry it out is not an option for our family but I welcome any other advice.  Thank you!  (also, I am the night time parent.  I am mainly a SAHM and can weather the exhaustion but it would affect DH's job greatly so he is unable to help this time - with older DD he was a big help but our situation was much different).

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I know you said that CIO is not an option, but honestly, I don't know what else you could do with an 11mo who wakes that early and you've tried every other non-CIO plan.

 

Besides, have you tried not getting her up right away when she wakes? It might not be as bad as you think.

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My heart goes out to you. My DS was exactly the same way, only mercifully his wake up time was 5:00. I was going to suggest an earlier bedtime, but I see you tried that.

 

Sadly, I think this goes into the category of "this too shall pass." DS just now (recently turned 3) has started sleeping until 6:30. It's been such a relief. The hardest part for me is that I'm a bit of a night owl (I love me a quiet house), so I'd go to bed at 1:00, only to be awoken at 5:00. Obviously that made for rotten days, so I did have to adjust my bedtime to accommodate his early mornings.

 

My only other thought might be room darkening shades? Is it light at all at 4:00 where you are?

 

 

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Just want to add that, while I'm not averse to CIO for a few days, having the whole house up at 4:00 due to a screaming baby would not work for me.

 

There's a large age difference between my kids. With DD I'd have gone bananas, but one thing I've learned through this whole parenting process is that nothing is forever. It may be a long patch of early mornings, but it will end eventually. 

 

I think I'd drag myself out of bed at 4:00 put her in jumparoo/exersaucer equivalent, and try to doze on the couch a bit for half an hour. Or if you're nursing, then I'd put her to the breast and let her hang out there a bit while I nod off, even if she's done eating. My slacker mom approach to early mornings.

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We went through an early wake up stage.  I think 12-14ish months was the worst for us.  We already co slept full time, so that "solution" was out, and CIO isn't an option for us, so we pretty much just waited it out.  Thankfully, I function fairly well without a ton of sleep.  Honestly, it didn't get a whole lot better until he gave up his nap at 18 months.  He had never liked sleeping, and when he was taking a nap, he just. was. not. tired. anymore.  Once he gave up his nap, he fell asleep easily at bedtime (which he had *never* done) and started happily sleeping 12-13 hours at night.  I know that isn't a whole lot of help for now, but that's how it worked here.

 

Sorry, it really stinks. 

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Yes, CIO is not an option at all for us.  I will suck it up before resorting to that.

 

I have tried the hide under the covers but she will screech and then start to cry.  She knows I'm there!  LOL  She will play with toys in her crib for a bit but she never falls asleep during it.  She will get tired of them and then be done with it all.

 

It is pitch black in her room during this time.  I do not get her waking up at all minus that it is obviously her eternal clock that does this.  Even after the time change she quickly reverted back to her norm.

 

"This to shall pass" may need to be tattooed on my forehead...

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Oh, I guess I will add that she goes down for bed well.  And now that she has two naps vs 3 they have gotten longer (she was doing a lot of 30 minute ones at 3 naps). 

 

I do think she's a baby that needs less sleep.  She is a very happy baby but will definitely let you know when she's upset.

 

I may just have to embrace it.  Yawn.

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Oh, one thing I forgot! 

 

I don't get out of bed before 5 am.  I just don't.  So, if he woke up before 5, he would have to hang out in bed with me in the dark until then.  He could nurse if he wanted to, but if he tried to get up, I would lay him back down to snuggle.  I can't say it helped him sleep any later, but it made me feel better not to see 4 something on the clock in the kitchen.  :)

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Yep. I think if the fussing isn't an option, you're just going to have to adjust. Is there evening stuff you enjoy that you can shift to the wee hours? I'd probably wind up going to bed really early and moving my "me" stuff like reading and exercising to the early morning with the early riser. Having a decent amount of sleep plus something to look forward to would help me not resent being up so awfully early.

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If that wasn't the only time to see my husband then yes.  But he works a ton so our 1:1 time is in the early night.

 

Although, he is about to produce his pilot in another state so I will have almost a month where I could do that.  Maybe by the time he gets back she will have lengthened her waking time.

 

One can hope, right?!  LOL

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What is your definition of cry it out?  For me, I would not let my children go into an all out screaming frenzy but fussing and crying just to cry for me is different.  I'm not suggesting you do it, I'm just trying to see if you let crying of any bit occur before you get her or if you go to her the second any fussing starts. Knowing that would help me make suggestions.  Because for me my rule is fussing and light crying is acceptable for a short period because its not a "I feel abandoned thing." Its an "I'm not quite sure what to do with myself right now thing so maybe someone else can help me."  Because of that this is what I did...

 

My son is 9 months and when he woke up he'd cry because he didn't know what to do when no one was in the room with him.  So I put toys that play music in his crib turned on so he accidentally would touch them while sleepily getting up in anticipation for me coming to get him.  Very quickly the music would play cause he pressed a button and that fussing/light crying would stop because he had something to do. Within 2 days he had learned that when he wakes up there are things in there that will entertain him if he wants that.  So sometimes he just starts playing and sometimes he just cries because he's ready for mom or dad.  I switch out the toys regularly but they always have to be ones that get his attention with noise or light in order draw his attention away quickly from the fact he's alone.  He would never fall back asleep but the time he'd wake up slowly became later and later for some reason

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You know, CIO really isn't the big, old shining answer it's cracked up to be... Not to derail this thread... But, like you, I was so anti-CIO with my first kid, and my second, and my third, and then came my fourth. And I was like, "Whatever... Let him CIO. I'm out of ideas." And you know what? It did nothing. After a week, my kid was still waking up every 20 minutes. So, now dad sleeps with baby (he's 14 months now) and he has recently had a similar pattern to what you mention above. When he wakes at 4, he does roll around and fuss and then have a "nap" from 5-6.

 

The only suggestions I have are to cut down to one nap. My first 3 kids all were down to 1 nap a day by 1 year old. This last kid was down to 1 nap a day by about 8 months. I do believe that some people just don't need a lot of sleep. The other suggestion is to ask your pediatrician about Melatonin. Ours recommended it, and we have used it for 2 week periods a few times with our baby.

 

Then, of course, you can always suck it up.

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Just a thought, but one of mine used to wake up early because they were thirsty.  If I put a reliable sippy cup with water in the corner of the crib and pointed it out to them when they went to bed, they'd usually get a few sips and go to sleep on their own.

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You know, CIO really isn't the big, old shining answer it's cracked up to be... Not to derail this thread... But, like you, I was so anti-CIO with my first kid, and my second, and my third, and then came my fourth. And I was like, "Whatever... Let him CIO. I'm out of ideas." And you know what? It did nothing. After a week, my kid was still waking up every 20 minutes. So, now dad sleeps with baby (he's 14 months now) and he has recently had a similar pattern to what you mention above. When he wakes at 4, he does roll around and fuss and then have a "nap" from 5-6.

 

The only suggestions I have are to cut down to one nap. My first 3 kids all were down to 1 nap a day by 1 year old. This last kid was down to 1 nap a day by about 8 months. I do believe that some people just don't need a lot of sleep. The other suggestion is to ask your pediatrician about Melatonin. Ours recommended it, and we have used it for 2 week periods a few times with our baby.

 

Then, of course, you can always suck it up.

 

I think it depends on the kid. We let dd CIO when we knew there was nothing else she needed. When she wasn't wet/hungry/cold/hot, etc., etc. all that was left was sleep. And sometimes she did need to cry to wind herself down. She would go through periods as an infant/toddler where she would either not go to bed or get up in the middle of the night, and letting her CIO a couple of nights would nip that in the bud for several months.

 

DS, not so much. That kid could (and still can) scream for hours with no end in sight if he wanted to. Because I'm one of those mean moms who doesn't get too worked up over hearing a baby cry (within reason, but you learn really quickly to tell what your kid's cries mean), I still did it at times, but it never worked for him.

 

That said, I agree that transitioning her to one nap might help. Both of my kids were down to one nap shortly after their first birthdays. Both gave up naps completely at 2. Ultimately, though, I still abide by my mother's advice: Do whatever works!

 

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The only suggestions I have are to cut down to one nap. My first 3 kids all were down to 1 nap a day by 1 year old. This last kid was down to 1 nap a day by about 8 months. I do believe that some people just don't need a lot of sleep.

 

Both of my dc took only 1 nap a day, ever, but it was a two-hour nap. I did not know that babies were supposed to take a couple of shorter naps--and I'm glad I didn't, because I love the two-hour nap. :-)

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I'm sorry I don't have any ideas--I'm in the same boat myself with my dd (13 months).  She has been consistently waking between 4-5 for about 6 months now!  I was hoping to see some magical new idea here!  CIO is not an option for us either; even if I wanted to, she shares a room with my dd (10), and we're all on the same level so I think she'd just end up waking all the other kids.  

 

She is starting to transition to just 1 nap and I'm hopeful that eventually she'll start sleeping longer now that she isn't sleeping so much during the day.  I do try every morning to rock her for a few minutes and then put her back in her crib.  About 25% of the time she does go back to sleep, and it seems more likely on the days when she only had 1 nap.  

 

I know that she's my last baby, so I keep telling myself to just enjoy the early morning snuggle time.  Somehow that sounds more possible right now than it usually does at 4am! :)

 

Hang in there!

Sarah

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My son did this....was a 4am up for the day kid.  Baby Whisperer book recommended this:

 

You go in 15 minutes before the normal wake up time.  No lights, just wake the baby, change diaper, put back down.  It messes with the sleep pattern.  You do this several nights in a row and they change their wake up time!  

 

I did this one night.  Slept through my alarm the next night and he slept through until 5am.  I could live with 5, so I left it alone. But it worked like a charm :-D And I was happy it only took one night to change things, but I would have gotten up more than one night to try. 

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We just went from 3 naps to 2 in the last month or so.  One nap a day would be easier for planning, that's for sure.  I can't remember when my eldest went down to just one nap.  Hmmmm.....

 

Thanks for all of the tips.

 

Oh - and CIO to me isn't fussing but crying and tears.  The problem with her fussing is that lately she's been screeching a lot - when happy, sad, etc...  So when she fusses she will sometimes screech very loudly.   Leaving her to do that would wake the house, KWIM?

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I have long ago memories of putting a blanket over my head. Ds would fuss, then play in his crib and fall back to sleep. We called it, bird morning. Only birds and dads got up at bird morning. :D

Us too! When my 4-year-old comes out early and claims it's daytime we remind him it's "birdy daytime.". In our house Daddy daytime is later than Mommy daytime, though.

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My daughter was an early riser. When I had just one I sucked it up and just napped with her. When I had my second, she was 22 months. That was brutal because he didn't sleep thru the night until he was 2. Add to that I could never get them to nap at the same time I almost went crazy (literally). Around 3 I taught her to tell time. She was not allowed out of her room until 6. Then she would com into my room and watch cartoons until I was ready to get up.

 

Now at 13 she will sleep until 11 if I let her!

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