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Please help with my toddler's problem with waking up


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That sounds bizarre.  Basically this is it:  He sleeps well, goes down for naps fine, sleeps all night.  Sleeps enough hours.  Behaves normally.  Behaves beautifully in preschool.  When he wakes up in the morning or from a nap he is just very grouchy.  Crying to the point of tears, wants to be held, wants to be put down, doesn't know what he wants.  I posted a couple of weeks ago about him having to give up the bottle and I realize that I kept him on the bottle so long (he's over 2) because if I held him and gave him a bottle he would calm down a good bit.  When he was younger I would wear him in a baby carrier and that would help.  He's heavy, and I just can't carry him around for 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes after his nap (or more) till he calms down.  I often take him outside for a bit after he awakens, and that will sometimes reset things (for sure while we are outside although I usually still have to carry him) but often he will go back to crying when we come inside.  After 30 minutes of grouchiness, he generally gets over it although I never know.

 

My girls were so different--they woke up happy, played in the crib, and were ready for the day.  He's normally developmentally, and I do not think he has any special needs/spectrum issues etc.  Any advice?  Is this a needy boy thing?  

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I don't think it's a boy thing. I've known little girls like this. In fact, I've known a lot of kids like this. It honestly sounds super normal to me. I mean, maybe on the extreme end of normal - but lots of toddlers are grouchy and clingy when they wake up for a little while. Is there a reason you can't cuddle with him for awhile and just wait it out?

 

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I actually remember when I was that age and waking up from naps thinking that I was supposed to be cranky, so I would lie there and make myself cry.  My mother would give me apple juice and a piece of cheese and put me in front of Mr. Rogers.

 

That said, if giving him a bottle works, why not just give him a bottle at those times? 

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I don't think it's a boy thing. I've known little girls like this. In fact, I've known a lot of kids like this. It honestly sounds super normal to me. I mean, maybe on the extreme end of normal - but lots of toddlers are grouchy and clingy when they wake up for a little while. Is there a reason you can't cuddle with him for awhile and just wait it out?

 

I do cuddle, have been cuddling for years with him :)  It's just pretty difficult sometimes when I'm trying to get breakfast going.    My girls were so different it's just startling.  

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I actually remember when I was that age and waking up from naps thinking that I was supposed to be cranky, so I would lie there and make myself cry.  My mother would give me apple juice and a piece of cheese and put me in front of Mr. Rogers.

 

That said, if giving him a bottle works, why not just give him a bottle at those times? 

 

I have gotten rid of the bottles.  He is nearly 2 1/2 and the pediatrician was fussing about it (nicely).  

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I think you may just have to wait a little longer and keep cuddling. I think it's okay to set a timer for yourself. Maybe you need to make a bit of a ritual so that he understands that you'll cuddle for ten minutes, read a book, sing a song, whatever - give it a few step down steps - and then he can sit in a special seat with juice or something in a sippy while you make breakfast. And just deal with the tears over it all for awhile.

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I've had a few like this. Mine seemed to do a lot better if I gave them a snack immediately. Even better if I anticipated them waking up, so they didn't get worked up. I think maybe their blood sugar was a little low.

Edited by Guinevere
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I have gotten rid of the bottles.  He is nearly 2 1/2 and the pediatrician was fussing about it (nicely).  

 

You could buy more... And the pediatrician doesn't need to know everything.  Just sayin'  :D

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I actually remember when I was that age and waking up from naps thinking that I was supposed to be cranky, so I would lie there and make myself cry. My mother would give me apple juice and a piece of cheese and put me in front of Mr. Rogers.

 

That said, if giving him a bottle works, why not just give him a bottle at those times?

Another of mine seemed like this, like it was just the routine to be upset when they woke up. I started to feel like I was making it worse by trying to fix it. So, I decided to change the habit. I started putting them back in bed, and telling them they must not be done sleeping because they were so grumpy and could get up when they were ready to be happy. Maybe that was mean of me, but after a few days, they stopped being so disagreeable.

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My DS used to be awful if he woke up. Is he waking naturally on his own or being awakened by outside factors? DS would scream and flail if he was disturbed. I think it was related to whatever caused his night terrors. Both the night terrors and bad wake ups ended around the same time. 

 

DS is a teen now, so my memory is a little fuzzy, but I suspect it was because he had difficulties with the transition between being awake and asleep. I think our bodies feel a little heavy; a little different right when we wake. Perhaps you can have some comforting items in his bed like a cup of water, favorite toy, etc. Or you could set him up on the couch or in your bed with a tv show he likes and a blankie so he can zone out without anyone bothering him. Maybe he's just not a morning person and doesn't know how to tell you not to talk to him until he's had whatever the substitute for coffee is with toddlers. If he's being wakened before he'd prefer by a noisy household, maybe some blackout curtains and a sound machine would help. 

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Another idea from the habit angle is maybe he needs more structure to get going again. Right now it's the fussy cuddly thing, but maybe you could start a new routine. Every time he wakes up, you read 3 books, get a drink, color a picture, and then go for a short walk. I'm just making up things. Maybe he needs to know exactly what to expect to ease into being awake, and find his place in the commotion of everything else going on.

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It's not a boy thing.  Two of my kids were very cranky and whiney when they first woke up in the mornings.  (A girl and a boy.)  I let my ds keep his bottle until he was three or so!   And my dd still hates waking up in the morning.  It has not gotten easier for her, but she has learned to keep her crankiness to herself.   :)  She allows herself about 30 minutes just to wake up.  I do think it's something genetic.

 

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The bottles are genuinely bad for their teeth. Supposedly even thumb sucking is better.

 

I get that bottles are bad for the teeth if the kid is constantly sucking on one or going to bed with one, but my kids used to just suck them down in a few minutes and be done with it.  How is that any different than using a cup?

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Another of mine seemed like this, like it was just the routine to be upset when they woke up. I started to feel like I was making it worse by trying to fix it. So, I decided to change the habit. I started putting them back in bed, and telling them they must not be done sleeping because they were so grumpy and could get up when they were ready to be happy. Maybe that was mean of me, but after a few days, they stopped being so disagreeable.

 

Not mean at all...IMHO, at least.

 

There have been a lot of times where I've been convinced that my kids have total control over their behavior when the standard wisdom would be to be "understanding" about the "fact" that they couldn't control themselves.  The most notable time was when my then 11 year old son started wetting the bed after years of being dry at night.  I was convinced that he was being lazy (I had reasons for thinking this that were particular to the situation).  I rather forcefully informed him that he needed to stop it, and he did.  He told me years later that I was right.

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Perhaps cuddling with a sippy would be just as calming as cuddling with a bottle.

 

Mine have never had this issue in the morning, but often after nap.  Different things worked for different kids. 

 

Right now, when Audrey wakes from her nap I walk in very quietly, open her curtain, hand her a sippy of water, hand her some of her favorite books, start a recording I made of myself reading those books, and then rub her head for a minute and walk out promising to be back when the books are done.  I leave the door to her room ajar so that she can hear her brothers' activities even if she isn't quite ready to join in. Twenty minutes later when the stories are over Audrey calls me to come get her and she is bright eyed and bushy tailed.

 

Wendy

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this isn't a 'boy' thing.   some kids just have a harder time with transitioning.

 

let him lay in his bed while he wakes up.  give him something to snuggle something.  put him in front of a calm child's tv show.

 

2years old isn't "old" for weaning from a bottle.   I promise - if you let him have one as long as he wants - he would eventually give it up on his own.

 

 

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My thought was low blood sugar as well.  I'd try having a cup of milk and a little snack that he loves ready.  I might even try waking him up (which goes against what I normally do), cheerfully, and sitting with him on my lap while giving him the snack, maybe even turning on whatever it is little guys watch these days.  Distract him, cuddle him, and give him some nutrients.  

Honestly, if that didn't work, I'd consider going hard line on him.  I'd talk to him before he went to sleep, and tell him when he woke up he didn't need to cry, and if he did, he'd have to stay in his room until he was done.  Of course, you know him best and this might be an awful idea.

When ds18 was a toddler, he'd sit on my lap, watch Clifford, and drink some milk.  Ds14 used to wake up and thump down each stair on his bottom and demand milk with every thump "Mommy!  Milk!  I want milk!" (thump) "Milk!  Mommy!".  

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All 3 of mine did this. All 3 for at least 30 minutes to an hour after waking from every single nap or morning. When they were nurslings they nursed til they were happy, but after they weaned it was miserable. I settled for a sippy of milk and sesame street or thomas tbe train. Maybe not the best advice, but it gets us through. When my kids went from nursing through the night and first thing in the morning they woke up Hungry, but never ready to eat so the milk was really the only solution.

Edited by Elizabeth86
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Another of mine seemed like this, like it was just the routine to be upset when they woke up. I started to feel like I was making it worse by trying to fix it. So, I decided to change the habit. I started putting them back in bed, and telling them they must not be done sleeping because they were so grumpy and could get up when they were ready to be happy. Maybe that was mean of me, but after a few days, they stopped being so disagreeable.

I've thought about this, and would definitely do it if he were a bit older. I'm just not sure he would get what was going on yet.

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I get that bottles are bad for the teeth if the kid is constantly sucking on one or going to bed with one, but my kids used to just suck them down in a few minutes and be done with it. How is that any different than using a cup?

I don't understand it either. The pediatrician told me his teeth would rot.

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He refuses to drink any milk since I took away the bottle. He also often refuses to eat anything.

 

Does he drink juice?  If so, would he drink that?  I'm sorry he's giving you such a rough go.  

 

FWIW, I had a few who wouldn't drink milk, but they'd drink "chocolate" milk.  I only put a tiny amount in--they liked it when my Mom visited and made it for them because she made brown chocolate milk as opposed to my white chocolate milk :lol: .

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My understanding of the bottle thing is that if they're constantly sucking on it, it's bad for their tooth enamel. However, even drinking from it for a little while is supposed to be bad for their palates and how their teeth come in after a certain age.

 

Of course, I'm just repeating what I've read... I'm sure there are many exceptions. And we all have to pick our battles and all that.

 

I'd also try juice. My kids wouldn't drink milk either. But they'd down watered down juice every morning.

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He refuses to drink any milk since I took away the bottle. He also often refuses to eat anything.

 

Which can be a vicious circle.  Not drinking or eating anything can lead to hypoglycemia, which can lead to not feeling well, which can lead to being nauseated and not wanting to eat, which leads (or at least doesn't alleviate) the hypoglycemia. 

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I've had a few like this. Mine seemed to do a lot better if I gave them a snack immediately. Even better if I anticipated them waking up, so they didn't get worked up. I think maybe their blood sugar was a little low.

 

This.  I bet the bottle helped because it got the blood sugar up. 

 

Offer a cup of juice or cookie or whatever 

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I was like this as a child. My mom absolutely dreaded life if I fell asleep. They were the weird “No, Do Not let the toddler nap!†people.

 

I don’t know if anything ever helped, or if I just outgrew it. I’n still not, and probably never will be a chipper person upon waking, but I don’t cry and whine too much about it now. ;)

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Which can be a vicious circle. Not drinking or eating anything can lead to hypoglycemia, which can lead to not feeling well, which can lead to being nauseated and not wanting to eat, which leads (or at least doesn't alleviate) the hypoglycemia.

Have any suggestions for making the toddler eat? 😆 😆😆. There are plenty of times he won't eat anything at all, no matter what it is. I do try to serve healthy foods but I make lots of allowances for him I didn't for the sisters. With them it was eat or starve. I've never done that with him. He just won't eat anything lots of the time. Or not much of anything. My girls ATE! And one still fell off the growth chart for weight.

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Is he waking naturally or do you wake him up? Perhaps he is waking in the middle of a sleep cycle? There are easier times to wake up if you don't want him to sleep a whole cycle (90 mins is the average whole cycle). Waking up after 30 mins is supposedly quite difficult on the body. 

 

Maybe a combo of factors? Habit, sleep cycle interruption, and low blood sugar? I kept a banana in dd's crib for the morning. 

 

 

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Is he waking naturally or do you wake him up? Perhaps he is waking in the middle of a sleep cycle? There are easier times to wake up if you don't want him to sleep a whole cycle (90 mins is the average whole cycle). Waking up after 30 mins is supposedly quite difficult on the body.

 

Maybe a combo of factors? Habit, sleep cycle interruption, and low blood sugar? I kept a banana in dd's crib for the morning.

He wakes naturally.

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That sounds bizarre. Basically this is it: He sleeps well, goes down for naps fine, sleeps all night. Sleeps enough hours. Behaves normally. Behaves beautifully in preschool. When he wakes up in the morning or from a nap he is just very grouchy. Crying to the point of tears, wants to be held, wants to be put down, doesn't know what he wants. I posted a couple of weeks ago about him having to give up the bottle and I realize that I kept him on the bottle so long (he's over 2) because if I held him and gave him a bottle he would calm down a good bit. When he was younger I would wear him in a baby carrier and that would help. He's heavy, and I just can't carry him around for 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes after his nap (or more) till he calms down. I often take him outside for a bit after he awakens, and that will sometimes reset things (for sure while we are outside although I usually still have to carry him) but often he will go back to crying when we come inside. After 30 minutes of grouchiness, he generally gets over it although I never know.

 

My girls were so different--they woke up happy, played in the crib, and were ready for the day. He's normally developmentally, and I do not think he has any special needs/spectrum issues etc. Any advice? Is this a needy boy thing?

Any chance it's a blood sugar thing? I feel crud when I wake up till I eat and drink.

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Have any suggestions for making the toddler eat? [emoji38] [emoji38][emoji38]. There are plenty of times he won't eat anything at all, no matter what it is. I do try to serve healthy foods but I make lots of allowances for him I didn't for the sisters. With them it was eat or starve. I've never done that with him. He just won't eat anything lots of the time. Or not much of anything. My girls ATE! And one still fell off the growth chart for weight.

I think that’s hard to answer for someone else. Would he like warm milk? Could you coax him to eat by giving a bite to a stuffie and then him? Edited by Jean in Newcastle
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Have any suggestions for making the toddler eat? 😆 😆😆. There are plenty of times he won't eat anything at all, no matter what it is. I do try to serve healthy foods but I make lots of allowances for him I didn't for the sisters. With them it was eat or starve. I've never done that with him. He just won't eat anything lots of the time. Or not much of anything. My girls ATE! And one still fell off the growth chart for weight.

 

Will he eat if you're holding him in your lap and cuddling him and giving him some warm milk? What if he gets to drink from a mug like mommy? Does he like straws? Will he eat food that dances up to him and begs him, whatever he does, not to eat it? Will he eat if as soon as he wakes up, you snuggle in bed next to him and both nibble on a few animal crackers?

 

Two of my kids were like this. Both girls. Both very sensitive to low blood sugar. One thing I had to do was to ensure that they always ate good meals before falling asleep, with a good balance of protein/fat/carbs. So we instituted bedtime snacks, and pre-nap snacks, and just kept trying things to make it work. Let them smear their own peanut butter on toast, or squirt honey into their own warm milk, because that made them more willing to eat. I would read to them or (what they preferred) tell a silly story while they ate (preferably with puppets and singing).

 

If it helps, they are older now, eat without me having to pull out the puppets, and only occasionally wake up on the wrong side of bed, at which point I order them to "EAT SOMETHING" in a most unpleasant manner, and they scream, "I'm not hungry!" with similar unpleasantness and burst into tears, and then are much better after eating.

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Bottles are bad for teeth if they constantly suck on one. But if they just drink from it for as long as it takes to drink a bottle? I don’t buy it. And my oldest used a bottle while listening to books before bed until she was almost EIGHT. Never had a cavity. Did need braces, but we knew that as soon as teeth came in. Younger kid still uses a pacifier a lot and honestly I think always will. No need for braces. I’d rather they met oral motor needs this way than overeating or smoking.

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