31 answers

One Year Old Waking WAY Too Early!

I'm at a loss as to what to do. My (just turned) one year old is waking up WAY to early in the morning. I have been following the tips in "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Baby" since she was born, but I don't really feel like it is working. According to that book, you should try moving their bedtime up a little earlier each night until you hit the time that lets them sleep the longest (Weisbluth says they should be going to bed somewhere between 6 & 8). We did that, and when we hit 7:15, she started sleeping until 7am...it was the best week of my life! But it only lasted a week, then she gradully started waking up earlier and earlier, even though she is still going to bed at the same time (her naps have also gotten shorter during the day). The past few mornings, she has been waking at 4am. I do not go in there, and after 10-20min of crying, she will fall back asleep, but for only about 1/2 an hour. By 5am she is awake and NOT going back to sleep. I refuse to go in there until at least 5:30 to give her a chance to go back to sleep, but she doesn't (I have tried letting her cry for up to an hour...which was horrible, and of course no one is sleeping at that point!) So, we've been getting up around 5:30, but she still seems tired (fussy, rubbing her eyes, yawning). I don't feed her breakfast until around 7am, even when she wakes up early. I've tried everything to not reinforce this early waking, but it is still happening.
Not sure what other info might help...she still takes two naps a day (9ish and 2ish). She sleeps 1-1/2 hours in the AM, and 30 min-1 hour in the PM. She eats 3 times a day, plus 1-2 snacks. She eats dinner around 6pm.
*I also just recently bought Ferber's book "Solving your child's sleep problems". He says that kids this age only sleep 9-10 hours a night (even though most of my friends kids this age sleep about 12hrs a night), so you have to move their bedtime later, to get them to sleep later. So now I'm also confused...one book says move their bedtime earlier, and one says move it later. I don't know what to do, but we need to get some sleep in my house! Any advice will be greatly appreciated...thanks Mamas!

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

i didn't read what everybody else said, but my two cents is to try putting her down later (if earlier isn't working). 8:00 has always worked best for my girls. Also i know this isn't ideal but Have you tried to give her some milk to comfort her and then put her down again? (just don't leave the milk in the bed with her)

Put her to bed at 8:00 pm. A lot of times the "experts" ie "authors" of these "special books" do not have children of their own. Give her a bath, read a story, and then lights out. Hang in there.

My experience - you want them to sleep later, put them to bed later. I've never heard of putting them to bed earlier to make them sleep later.

Good Luck!

More Answers

sometimes the books work, sometimes they don't. Take suggestions from the book and try them out. Just find what works for your child. Many kids are just not wanting to sleep that much at that age. Some kids sleep a lot. Find what works for your family. My thoughts would be to make the bed time a little later again to encourage sleeping in some in the morning. It's so hard to think you had something down and then boom the kids mess it up! That's what my sweetie does, anyway. It can drive me crazy, but I try to keep it in perspective that she is just 18 months and is still figuring out this world.

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My oldest did the same thing for awhile when she was about that age. We found it to be a phase. When I asked the pediatrician about it, she said that their sleep cycles get shorter in the morning. Around 5 was a light sleep time for my little one and she just woke herself up to play - even though it wasn't time for her to play. Once she got more active during the day, she quit doing it. Good luck. We are now fighting with my 8 month old on the same thing. No sleep is NO fun!

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Each book contradicts itself because they are written according to different theories. 12 hours of sleep is fine, but it doesn't have to all be at night. Night and naptime sleep should equal to about 12 hours for the day.

When I studied infant and toddler development in college, we looked at the different theories and decided that the one that worked best, is what works for the child.

For my children, I find that putting them to bed a bit later gets them to sleep longer. They go to bed around 7:30pm to 8:30pm (sometimes later) and sleep anywhere from 8am to 9am.

They also only take one nap a day. Well, my 3 year old refuses to nap at all, but I will put him in his room for "quiet" time to play or hopefully fall asleep if not.

My just turned 1 year old takes one nap a day, right after lunch usually around 1. Sometimes, he will need a before lunch nap, but it is very rare.

Also, early waking is a phase. When a child has discovered something new or hit a new milestone, like pulling up, walking, talking... it is typical for them to lose sleep over excitement/anxiety/frustration to practice the new skill. Once they have it mastered, the sleep cycle usually returns to normal.

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Around the time my son turned 1, he started taking 1 nap a day, instead of 2. He started sleeping better at night, and waking up later in the mornings. His bedtime isn't until about 8-8:30, and sleeps about 12 hours. If he goes to bed before 8, he wakes extremely early and won't sleep well at night. Maybe try pushng her bedtime a little later each night, and shifting to 1 nap instead of 2. I think babies go through phases, also. I hope you get some rest soon!

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Throw out the books and figure out a schedule that fits your daughter. Both my children went through a period when they woke up really early like your daughter and we just had to start our day earlier for a few weeks. It won't last forever and it is better to just let nature take it's course than try to fight it. If you aren't against TV then put her in your bed and turn on PBS or Noggin. You can get at least one show worth of sleep. Good luck!

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I wish I could remember when we started this with my daughter (I know she was less than 2), but we employ the "good morning light." It started when she began getting up earlier and earlier every morning. I think it was a 4:30 morning when I had enough. I found a very quiet lamp timer and quiet night light. I set the light to go off about 30 minutes after laying her down and to come on around 7 am. I think I set it to stay on for 2 hours. The rule was if the light was off, it was sleep time. If it was on, it was time for play. It took a few nights of going in before the light, and laying on her floor while she stayed in her crib. She was not happy with the arrangement, but she didn't get frantic if I was there. It also did not eliminate all wakings. It just communicated to her that we would be going back to sleep until the light was on. Eventually, she would settle herself if it was still dark in her room. She is almost 5 and we still use the technique. She is beginning to tell time so it won't be needed much longer, but she stays in bed until 7:30 without any hassles.

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Right now, my 15 month old sleeps for about 15 a day. 2 hours for nap, and 12 hours at night. She was waking up early, so I moved her bedtime to 8pm, and she now sleeps until 7-8am. Every child is different. Yours may just need less sleep than others. Is there a chance that she's teething? Try moving her bedtime to a little later, and give her some milk when she wakes up, then lay her back down. That way, her belly is full, and she can go back to sleep. Good luck! I know that 5am is NO fun!

1 mom found this helpful

How about making the morning nap shorter or cut it out. Take the afternoon nap. Once the child is up, take her outside in the fresh air for a good hour and let her play and you get some walking exercise with a stroller. Baby should go to sleep after a routine in the evening.

As said earlier every child is different. I didn't have all the books you guys have now days and went on instinct. Child hungry at 5am or 6am get up change and feed. Play with baby and got to nap at X hour. You are going to have less sleep until the child is 18 years old and now is the time to learn to adjust. Display or showrooms in a home are over until the last child is in school. The days of the supermom are over (it's a wonder any of us ever survived the demands we put on ourselves) But this time will be over shortly. The other S.

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