...because we all have our motley moments!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Okay, ladies, this is a straight-up cry for help. HOW do you get a baby to sleep later? HOW? HOW? HOW? Micah, who is 20 months old, has always been an early riser. Lately it's gotten worse. Instead of waking up at 5 (his usual), he's waking up at 4. He's clearly not ready to be awake, judging by his attitude. Then I have a hard time keeping him awake until 11:30, when we pick Ethan up from preschool. My husband and I have tried lots of things - changing him, giving him a cup of milk, then putting him back to bed (he cries when the milk is gone), letting him just fuss (he wakes his brother, who is really not ready to get up), putting him in bed with us (he thrashes around for a while, then sits up and starts talking and playing), etc. I really don't want to split the boys up, for sentimental as well as practical reasons. But this is getting tough, especially for my husband, who gets up with Micah 90% of the time. In a few weeks the boys and I are going on a trip to the central time zone and I'm terrified I'm going to be up at 3 every day while we're there. So, Motley Moms, and whomever else is reading, HELP!!!
Oh, and to add to the morning problems, Micah is usually soaked when he wakes up. He has literally gotten too big for his britches. He's in #6 diapers and they're too small, especially at night. I've gotten overnight diapers but they only came in size 5 so they didn't really help.
This is not a good morning, as you can tell from my whining. Micah was awake at 4 and I went in and told him, "No. It's too early. Be quiet. Ethan's asleep," and he did lay back down for an hour. I didn't go back to sleep, though, because I was waiting to see if he would. He was awake again at 5, soaked, so I changed him and brought him to bed with Todd and me. He just played, so Todd got up with him. I did go back to sleep for about an hour then, but Todd's been awake since 4 and Ethan woke up too early because Micah was screaming.
I think I'll feel better once I shotgun this cup of coffee. Thanks in advance for all the great tips you're going to give me!
Edited: By the way, we have also tried keeping him awake later and putting him to bed really early, but he still wakes up at the same time.


Bryssy said...

Liz, The only advice I have have is that we put our kids in bed with us. Yes, we are THOSE parents.

My husband and I both have to wake up super early for work (Ryan at 3:30 and me at 4:30 AM). Therefore, we go to bed around 8-ish. And, at least for me, to be a decent teacher to my hoards of high schoolers, I need to sleep! So, the kids sleep with us. I nurse Bryson if he wakes and Tess loves to cuddle up.

They sleep more soundly and longer, too.

jeannine said...

personally, I would just ignore it, and go get him at 5 or whenever you think is an appropriate time for him to get up.

I know you already mentioned the problem of having the younger one in the same room... I don't know, I'd start there and see what happens. My hope would be that if you ignore it, he'll stop doing it.

My opinion is that if you bring him in your bed, or give him milk, or anything to try to "appease" him, you're actually rewarding him for something you don't want him to be doing, and that will just encourage him to do it more.

Pam said...

For the diapers, I would try Huggies nighttime pullups (they are bigger sizes). They work just as well as the goodnights for us. I would consider putting a cloth diaper or rubber pants over the pullup. Experts recommend cutting off liquids a few hours before bedtime, but I have not been strict enough to do this. I think your room is already dark and you run fans, but the only other thing I would try is a noise maker - white noise. Mine can make rain sounds, heartbeat, ocean (my favorite) waterfall, and a soft crying (just kidding - wanted to see if I still had your interest!). I know this stinks, but it really will pass. I can't imagine how hard it is.

Wait - best idea yet - night time at Aunt Seesha"s!!!!!!!

Liz said...

Thanks for the advice, ladies!
Pam, a noise machine might be a good idea. And maybe I'll try the Pull-Ups, too, since I already have some.
Jeannine, I think you're right - he's getting "rewarded" for being a stinker.

Bryssy said...

I get what you girls are saying, I suppose that because I work, I don't have the opportunity for a daytime nap if my kids get up earlier than usual. I wish I did.

The other part of it is, that I actually want my kids in bed with us. It's a nice thing for our family and we all enjoy it for the most part.

Liz said...

I'm glad the family bed works for you, Bryssy. It probably does make it a lot easier since you and Ryan have to get up so early. It wouldn't work with us. Ethan doesn't like to sleep anywhere but his own bed and he sure is a bed hog! I've never slept through the night with Micah, just little cat naps here and there, and the whole time I worry he's going to fall off the bed.

Maria said...

I'm no expert, but I'll give my 2 cents.

Just thinking... maybe he is waking up extra early because he is soaking wet. Maybe try to not give ANY liquids after, say, an early dinner. Even then only water in a small cup half full. He won't dehydrate as long as you can give him lots during the day AND he pees it out way before bedtime.

It could be a habit of maybe both drinking a lot in the evenings and waking up early. Maybe if you take care of one thing, the other will follow.

A friend of mine lets her daughter have only a little water out of a little medicine measuring cup at bedtime.

Lack of sleep is unbearable. It'll get better as he gets older. Hang in there!

Donna said...

Neither of our kids can sleep in a bed with others very nicely. I did it over the summer with KID 2 and it was hard. She wanted me in bed with her (at 7pm!) and she was wakeful and thrashing, constantly aware of me in the bed next to her. KID 1 needed his own sleeping space very early on, which was hard for me because I was very attached to him and loved the idea of having him right there with me for nighttime nursing. It just didn't work out well. Paul is a very light sleeper, so whenever I move, he wakes up. A wiggly, restless kid in the bed spells insomnia for the poor guy!

Liz, you know I'm not much help on the subject of early risers. I think having them in the same room makes it really tough. However, I do agree with Jeannine that it needs to be ignored in the wee hours or handled quickly and as wordlessly as possible. He's discovered that the earlier he wakes up, the longer he gets to enjoy one on one time with Daddy or Mommy, a warm cup of milk, and cuddles. Which is a great thing for kids, but if it's not good for Mom and Dad, eventually everyone in the family suffers.

SO...I say tough it out. It's going to mean several very early wakings for both boys, but once he's trained to go back to sleep on his own, they'll sleep longer and won't disturb one another. You'll get them through this and they can keep sharing their room!

Donna said...

Start tomorrow, since it's Friday, and if Micah wakes Ethan up and they can't go back to sleep, just keep Ethan home from school and lay low. Good luck!

Rachel said...

I am certainly not an expert as we have our own sleeping issues here, but I think Maria may be on to something. I always like to ask, "Why is this happening?" before I start dishing out remedies and punishments. For example, this morning I was awoken at 5am by my fancy electric dustpan that decided to start vacuuming every five minutes for no apparent reason. I was wide awake, but not by choice. It may just be that he's waking up because he's wet and then he's choosing to stay awake because it's fun--I would tackle the wetness issue first, and then once that's handled, if he's still waking up too early then you can try something else.

Karly said...

Liz, my advice is a lot of the same. I have found size 6 overnight diapers. Try to limit liquid intake after dinner. Loud fan or noise maker. Darkout shades. Ignore (although this is very tough with a shared bedroom!)

When I had this trouble with my boys, I started shortening or eliminating their afternoon nap. I found my kids only required about 12 hours of sleep a day. My kids went to bed at 7:00pm. If I wanted them to sleep until 6:30 or 7am, they didn't need to sleep for two hours in the afternoon. After I shortened/eliminated the nap, they started sleeping later and going to bed easier.

I know that the loss of naptime might not be appealing, but it did make them sleep later. It's all a trade off I guess.

Good luck! Sleep deprivation sucks for everybody!!

Liz said...

Wow, thanks, everybody! I see several solutions here:
1. Cut back on the nighttime liquids.
2. Cut daytime naps short (he's sleeping 3 - 3 1/2 hours sometimes).
3. Ignore it/tough it out, etc., even if it means Ethan suffers for a few days.
Thanks again and pray for us!

Donna said...

Yeah, I forgot to mention that we limit nighttime drinks. They get about 1/2 cup of milk before bed, and not even every night. They get water if they have a cold (milk seems to make more mucous...ugh!). I would definitely pair that strategy with whatever else you do. He probably won't want such a long nap once you get him sleeping a bit longer at night.

I think sharing a room can be a really great childhood bonding experience for siblings. I'm sure you can get them through this! Good luck! ;)

Liz said...

Okay. Todd got him up early from his nap today. He's in one of Ethan's overnight Pull-Ups. He only had 1 cup of milk tonight. Fingers crossed!!!

Pam said...

Good luck and keep us posted! One more thought you might not need: we now have a pallet tucked under our bed for Alex in the middle of the night if he needs us. Our bed is so small that we really all can't fit, but I am a super softie when it comes to night time scaredness. It has worked really well, but I think Micah might be too young for this still.

Liz said...

Update: Micah cried out at 5, but didn't wake up until 5:30, which woke Ethan up. Ethan was soaked, so Todd changed him and put him in bed with me and he got up at 6:15. Todd didn't get Micah out of bed until 6. So, there was improvement! We'll continue to cut back the nighttime liquids and daytime naps. Thanks again, everyone! Oh, and Pam, thanks for the Pull-Up idea for Micah - it worked great!

Maria said...


Lindsay said...

Sorry I was without internet.

All 3 of my girls have been great sleepers. I did the CIO method with they were 4 months old and didn't had a problem after that. My advice would be to seprate the boys at least until Micah is sleeping later then you can put them back in the same room. Figure out the diaper situation (I don't allow drinks after dinner). Then put Micah in his own room, and when he wakes up at 4-6 let him cry himself back to sleep (as long as he's not wet). I HATED doing it, but it worked every single time. Once they learn to put themselves back to sleep easily they stopped crying for me (unless they NEED me). I put Capri to bed at 8 p.m. and today she got up at 9 a.m. I heard her about 7:00 when I got Avery up but she went back to sleep. Sleep begets sleep. The more sleep they get the better they will sleep. If you give them what they want, they will ask for it EVERY time. If they stop getting what they want, they will (after time) stop asking for it.

Best of luck! I have on a few occasion did sleep training for my friends kids. I have found success every time, and it keeps working.

Alicia said...

T was never a good sleeper from birth on, he rarely slept through the night. He would wake up and either cry, scream and fuss or as he got mobile he would come into bed with me in the middle of the night. I allowed it for a long time since we were experiencing difficult situations with the divorce. When it became a bad habit, aka: never sleeping through the night even at age 4, I came up with the "night fairy". She left a note on his pillow that had glitter & burned edges that discussed sleeping in his own bed and if he did there may be a surprise under his pillow.

The first two nights he didn't do it and I would remind him of the night fairy and take him back to bed. The third night he slept through the night without getting out of bed. That morning I put a piece of sugarless gum (insert: your own treat) under his pillow. He thought he was hot stuff and I even let him chew it on the way to pre-school, Oh my! He did this for a week or so...after it was a pattern he got a final note from the fairy about being such a great sleeper that now she could go help other kids sleep through the night. I sprinkled his entire bed and him with glitter and put money under his pillow for a Toys R Us shopping trip. He awoke and ran in to show me the money, not realizing he had glitter all over his face, arms and PJs. Once he did he was even more thrilled with the entire experience. Needless to say, after four years of not sleeping through the night...that trip to Toys R Us was the best ever!
I've had a few friends who did this with success.

Thought I'd mention it since several of you may have young'ins who love your bed, steal covers, kick you in the tummy and possibly snore...wait, that's the hubby. Anywho...