Waking up earlier and earlier: What to do?

iRonJanuary 3, 2003


Our 19 months young son used to sleep from 7:30pm to 5:00 the next morning for a while. A month ago he started to wake up at 4:45am, then, 4:30am... Last week he woke up at 4:15am and today at 3:50am... He calls for Mommy and he WON'T stop.

The plan is to let him cry himself to sleep again, but we believe he is smarter than that (and us).

This morning we let him cry and call for mommy for 2.5 hours!!! and ONLY when mommy picked him up he stopped crying on the spot. It was pretty much time for breakfast.

We pretty much tried every idea we could find and read about. From placing books and toys in his bed, going to sleep a bit later so he can sleep longer (yeah right... we pulled him up until 9:00pm... he woke up at 4:30am), he has a cup of water in his bed (which he uses). When he had a cold, he asked for medication, and when he needs a clean diaper he knows how to ask for that too. But the mornings are NOT for any of that, it is pure manipulation.... We don't let him win, but we (the parents) are at loss here at this point.

So far NOTHING worked for us. Mommy is due for delivery of our second child in five weeks and is close to a nerves breakdown. She is a full-time mom/educator and aside from the great job she does with him during the day, she is just a wreck.... We go to sleep when he does (7:30pm) so we can expect the early wake up cry.

Can anyone give us a new idea for: How to keep a 19 months young male sleeping pass 5:00am???

Thank you in advance in mommy's name as well.

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Is your child possibly teething again? I think my ds got his back teeth around that age. If his waking up could possibly be related to teething, you might try giving him some Motrin or Tylenol.

Have you tried laying back down with him in his bed to get him to sleep? I do that sometimes. (It's a way of developing another bad habit.) At least you and your wife would be getting more sleep. If you were the one to do it, it might make it easier on your wife when you have that second baby here in a few weeks.

Just another thought, kids are very perceptive. Your DS may be behaving this way because he knows that something big is about to happen. My then 23 mo DS started pulling attention getter stunts the week that my second DS was born. Fortunately, I had his Papaw to fall back on when I needed help.

Good Luck.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2003 at 4:45PM
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My son did this, luckily, he stopped after a while. We would tell him it's not time to wake up. It's not nice to wake up everybody before they are supposed to get up, he needs to put his head back down on the pillow and try to go back to sleep. He isn't missing anything and were are not waking up right now for him. If he yelled louder, we would tell him that "one more time and there won't be any Barney, Bob the builder, "fill in his fav thing". The first few times you follow through with your punishment, he'll get the picture. That what we did, and the first few time that he didn't wake us early, we commended him on his good decision and he liked that.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2003 at 4:24PM
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Sounds to me like the poor little guy is hungry. I'd give him a bottle of milk. After all he is only a year and a half old....still a baby. maybe he's going through a growth spurt and needs a little more to eat. Does he get a snack before bed?
Linda C

    Bookmark   January 12, 2003 at 12:31AM
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Good point! My DD went thru that at various stages, and it was always a little rumbly in the tummy causing her not to sleep through.

A little extra bedtime snack or milk should test that theory out!

    Bookmark   January 13, 2003 at 7:26AM
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Thank you all for the ideas.
The little guy eats dinner at 6:30pm (with us as a family), then runs around for 10 minutes.... does his heavy load, takes a bath and is in bed at 7:30pm. He has a cup of water in bed, and we do know that he wakes up and drinks at night.

In the morning, when he calls for mommy, he wants to continue sleeping in our bed... simple. He sleeps until 7:00am with no problem, and does not request anything. Waking up at 5:00am is like a pit-stop rather than anything else.

It might be teething, it might be growth... who knows. It is good to read that we're not the only ones...


    Bookmark   January 13, 2003 at 10:46AM
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You might have been almost there with the 2.5 hours of crying. He has tested your limits and ultimately got what he wanted.

"In the morning, when he calls for mommy, he wants to continue sleeping in our bed... simple. He sleeps until 7:00am with no problem, and does not request anything."

DD did this for a while. I think an hour and a half was the maximum time she cried. Then of course she tested us for a few days after that, but it was halfhearted crying.

If you have gone back to taking him out of bed when he calls it will be extra tough to try to leave him in again. Expect 2.5 hours or more of crying, because he knows he can do it. If you think you can put up with this for a week or so he should stop.

I hope I don't sound heard-hearted. I really just think it will be easier to tolerate, deal with , and stop his waking and hollering now, than trying to control it when you also have a new baby that is waking and crying.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   January 24, 2003 at 3:22PM
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