Monday, August 26, 2013

Sleep question for the moms

In the past couple of weeks, AJ has gone from being our excellent sleeper to being our challenge.  Historically, AJ has always needed a little more sleep than MJ.  From the time they came home from the hospital, he would sleep a little longer at naptime than MJ and wouldn't wake in the mornings after MJ (usually being awakened by MJ, or by us because MJ had been up for a while).

Starting about two weeks ago, AJ has been waking up first. . . and early!  He has gone from sleeping until 6:15-6:45 or so to waking between 5:15-5:30 most mornings.  This change in wake-up time has come without any change in bedtime or change in nap duration, and I'm not quite sure what is causing it.

Now AJ is up before MJ every day, and unlike MJ, AJ is not content to babble contentedly in his crib for a little while when he wakes up before someone comes to get him up.  No, AJ wakes up crying and insisting to be taken out of the crib THIS INSTANT.  This means that someone--OK, *I*--have to get up at 5:15, or whatever ungodly hour he has awakened, and get him up.  And because MJ is a light sleeper, I also have to get him up, too, because invariably AJ's crying wakes MJ up, no matter how quickly I go in to snatch AJ out of his crib.

I'm not sure if this is our "new normal" or a phase or if there is something that can be done to change this pattern.  I know that AJ is probably due to get some more teeth--at 19 months, he still only has four teeth, though several more are visible right under the gums--so maybe teething pain is a factor in these early wakings.  Additionally, he has had a ravenous appetite lately.  The amount he is eating has increased 50-75% from his usual amounts over the past few days; some days, he eats almost as much as I do. . . and that's saying something, considering that he weighs under 23 lbs to my (ahem) 200-ish lbs.

This morning AJ woke at 4:00 a.m. (GAH!), and fortunately I was able to quickly retrieve him from his crib before he woke his brother.  He slept in the guest room bed with me for a little more than an hour more (we generally don't co-sleep, but desperate times call for desperate measures), until he awoke at 5:10 signing and asking for "cracker."  (Dude has a serious graham cracker addiction lately; he eats several a day on top of his usual meals and snacks.)

I tried to put him off by telling him it was too early.  His response was to slide down off the bed and toddle out to the kitchen on his own.  

Fellow moms, any thoughts on what may have caused this change in AJ's sleep habits and what we can do to get him to sleep a little later?  I'd like him to sleep in not only so that I can get a bit more sleep--I'm usually up at 5:30 anyway--but also because he seems pretty tired all morning these days when he gets up this early, so I'm concerned that he isn't getting enough rest.  Plus I feel bad for MJ for getting woken up every morning.



  1. Someone once told me that sleep pattern disturbances tend to occur at the half-year marks (18 months, 2.5 years, 3.5 years, etc.). I've found that with my daughter it did seem to follow that pattern, so hopefully this is just a phase for you as well.

    Barring anything else, I'd assume it's just a phase. Do what you can to stick to the routine, and he should grow out of it soon enough. Hang in there!

  2. I'm going to go with "it's a phase" also. Possibly teething, possibly a growth spurt, possibly a developmental spurt.

    If you think he's waking up hungry, try a snack just before bed. Unfortunately giving him motrin probably will wear off before the times he's waking up, so not much to do for teething. Honestly, we have always pulled the "ignore them" tactic as much as possible, but even though the twins share a room, they both could sleep through a freight train rolling through.

  3. It could be teething, it sounds like a growth spurt (given his appetite), it could be one milestone or another. And, yes, it could even be sleep regression (given the length, two weeks, might be that). My 8 month old is an early riser so I empathize.

    I 'like' the Baby Sleep Site on Facebook and there is a lot of free useful information about infant and toddler sleep.

  4. Could you try reducing his nap time a little? Is he still taking two naps a day or is he down to one? I agree with the others that it's just a phase - my son, who is 2.5 is just (please, G*d) coming out of one of these phases where he was getting up at 5am. We did reduce his nap a bit and occasionally, recently, he's gone without a nap altogether - not looking forward to the days of no naps!

  5. I think it's a phase. We just went through a similar one. We set up a pack and play in another room and let the non-sleeper go through the 3-week phase and just merged them back together. My twins are 18-mos old too.

  6. My vote is also for "it's a phase" - we've had our share as well. It seems like when H goes through a big growth spurt, his little brain is also working overtime and his sleep is disrupted.

    And, the hunger. OMG, how does a person so little eat so much?


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