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Sunday, November 29, 2009

3 am

It seems that 3am is the new 4am. Personally, I think 6am should be the new 4am but no one seems to listen to me.

The boy has been consistently getting up at 4 am the last few weeks and we have been coping. Going to bed earlier. Trying to take turns in the morning (really, though the husband has been bearing the brunt of it). Attempting anything and everything to get him to go back to sleep. All to no avail.

This morning, or should I say night, he decided that 3am was the perfect time to start the day. Thankfully by the time we had abandoned all our attempts to get him back to sleep it was 5 am and my mother-in-law kindly took him so we could both go back to bed. And sleep until the girl got up. Don't think I don't see the humour in the fact that she slept a solid twelve hours last night. Ha ha.

As I lay in bed trying to get back to sleep in those few hours before I got up with the girl I decided on a new plan. Most days the boy has been having two naps. He has his regular nap in the early afternoon and he often falls asleep at some point during the morning school run. But no more! From now on I am going all hard core on the boy and limiting him to one nap a day. If he falls asleep in the stroller while we are walking the girl to school at 8 am then that is it. No more naps for you.

I think this new plan has the possibility of driving me completely insane and leaving me in tears by the end of the day, but it is the only option I can think of. I am convinced that he is getting up too early in the morning because he is sleeping too much during the day.

What do you think? Has this happened to you? Ideas? Strategies?


  1. Our son sometimes naps twice a day, but sometimes naps once a day. The days he naps once are very very hard on me (Tuesday this week was awful). At daycare he often sleeps for one big long nap, whenever he needs it.

    But we know he will only consistently sleep 10 hours max a night, so we put him to bed later (8pmish). He is nearly 15 months old and this works best.

    Although due to teething horrors he has been getting up in the night for about an hour or so, but then sleeps until 7ish. Today he was up at 6am, a rarity.

  2. When our son was the same age I remember putting him in the car at 3:30 in the morning to drive him around for a bit, hoping he'd fall asleep. Desperate times call for desperate measures. Even if he did fall asleep, the next challenge was to transport him back to bed without waking him.

    Eventually he just grew out of the phase. He would still wake up, but not for such long periods.

  3. It definitely sounds like he is getting too much sleep during the day.

    It is always hard transitioning out of nap(s). Good luck!

  4. Bree, augh.

    I think limiting his naptime will work well, timing will be everything though. If he needs at short catnap after dinner, let him - but wake him up after 30 mins or so and then put him to bed so he can get his 'normal' amount of nightly sleep.

    Transitioning is a yucky time. You need to reset his clock and that is work.

    I'll be thinking of you.

  5. Nap changes take a bit of time to get adjusted to but I'd say your decision makes total sense. Stick to your guns and give him a week to adjust to the new 1 nap a day rule.

  6. Oh hon - sleeping, or not sleeping has been the bane of our existance since my daughter was born.
    When she was younger she would not sleep for me AT ALL. No matter what I did. She would cry and scream and grump her way through a day with no naps unless she collapsed in exhaustion and then when her Dad got home, he had to walk her to sleep, try to put her down too soon (often after 3 hrs of walking) and she would wake up. And this has continued. Dad must read to her, she will get up a minimum of three times a night and wakes up massively early (5 am most days) But, and this is the big bit, I stopped feeling like shuch a rubbish Mum when I had my second and he slept (so there you go, your daughter is sleeping - it isn't you - it's them), when I realised that it was just her personality, stubborn plus interested in everything makes it hard to sleep. Plus the whole shift idea - I'd take her every second night and if she didn't sleep, she didn't. She would sleep when she was exhausted enough, and we had reasearched and asked and finally worked out that while it is miserable children don't die of not sleeping.
    BUT. It was horrible, and misery making, and made those first two years of her life such a struggle, so try to sleep when he does, try to use relatives and friends as babysitters so the two of you can get some sleep together at least once a week, try and find out if there is an underlying cause like reflux or bedroom setup (I know ,never worked for bub1, but I have hope as bub 2 slept constantly and slept because he was with me), and remember that this too shall change, that this will pass, and try to enjoy the good bits through the haze of exhaustion and remember that soon he will be settled or old enough for Phenergan once a week (sleepy hay fever medicine - tired it with bub 1 - makes her hyperactive, every other child it knocks out for 12 hrs)and know you are not alone, very much not alone. And one Mum for Australia is very impressed by the fact you are together enough to write this when your child wakes up that early and sends many hugs. (apologies for waaay to long comment)

  7. Ooooh I have no advice but I definitely feel your pain. The Boy was an awful sleeper for the first 18 months.


  8. wow, i won't complain about the 5am wake calls. maybe it is a little too much sleep during the day. it makes pretty good sense. we tried the "put him to bed earlier and he'll sleep more" theory. didn't work for us. he is just an early bird. but 3am is completely unacceptable. the jellybean does have some early mornings, but we just refuse to let him into our room or go to his bed. i'll tuck him in again, but that's about it. he seems to have gotten used to it.

    good luck. sending you lots of sleeping vibes.

  9. Oh I am sorry! I think your plan sounnds good. I realized quickly with my first that she was not a two nap girl - ever. Only when she was tiny did she take a morning 20 min cat nap. Then my son was born and I knew pretty quickly he was the same way. One nap in the afternoon is the only break I have ever had. And Sophia gave this up befoe she was 2! I did have a sort of quiet time ritual for both in the morning where we would lay on the floor and "talk" or listen to music. Some mornings they still wake up early (NOT 3 am) but we have instutited a play quietly unless you need to poop policy until it is light out. When they were little I would put a book or two in the crib. Now i let them get up and play - just not with me. Though I admit - sometimes they are so cute sounding I just get up!

    Good luck! If he starts sleeping later you will have much better luck NOT having him fall asleep in the stroller? Is there a neighbor who could watch him (keep him awake) while you walk to school? We did this a few times as strollers = sleep every time!

  10. We transitioned to one afternoon nap at ten months. If our son had two naps, he would not sleep at night. It was great when we finally got on the rythmn. Last night our son though, woke up at 2 and went back to sleep at 4 (ugh). Likely because he had his 2nd half H1N1. I was writing until 1:30 (yes I know I am silly) so I did not get any sleep at all.

    Have you thought of putting him to be a bit later? We were putting our son to bed at 7:30 and finding he woke up much to early. If we tried 8:30, he slept until our normal wake up time (usually).

  11. I don't know when Biscuit dropped a nap but he's 18 months old this week and down to one a day. The hard thing for him is getting him down for that one nap if we're at home. Out in the car he conks out and at daycare he just gets put in the crib and ta dah! (grr) His sister was exactly the same way so I don't know if it's nature or nurture.

    3 am though, is far, far too early. I think if I'd tried to get him back down for an hour I'd be tempted to just put him down in his crib and say "good luck with that" and leave the room. It's easy for me to say that, though, when I've never been faced with the situation.