Tuesday, November 20, 2012

When does this sleep issue end? Help a mama out!

I've been blessed with an awesome sleeper. Sort of. See, since the day Elliott was brought home from the NICU, he has thrived on a schedule. He was on an "eat every 3 hours on the dot, diaper change, swaddle, sleep" schedule there and it really worked well for him. We continued it when we got home and as he grew and got older, that schedule slowly morphed into an extension of the original. 

Up until this week, he would sleep for 11 hours straight, no problems. Almost on the dot. Unfortunately, he was pretty insistent at going to sleep at exactly 6 p.m., which means a 5:03 a.m. wakeup call for me. On the dot. Weird. Still, I couldn't complain too much, since I had approximately 4 hours to myself every night before it was time for me to go to sleep and I really don't mind getting up early in the mornings anyways. Productivity for the win!

This week, however, is a whole other story. He has been waking up at 3:50. As in, 3:50 in the morning, hours before the birds are even awake. He's smily, ready to eat and play until around 8 when he wants his first nap. I've tried pushing bedtime back and he was definitely not having it. I've tried just feeding him and laying him right back down without talking to him, changing his diaper, or anything. No go. I have no idea what to do. 

I've even tried pushing his naps back too, but he's just very set in his ways and I'm not sure how to break him of it. He likes to sleep from 1-3 or 12:30-3 each afternoon. If I attempt to move him to 2, he will still wake up at 3. Then he's cranky from lack of a good nap and still wants to go to sleep at 6. Help a mama out please!

Another reason, even if it's a lame one, for this being such a problem, is the lack of sound barriers in our house. For whatever reason, sound travels really well in our split-level home, so even if I'm trying to play with him quietly in his room, my husband can still hear us pretty loud and clear in our bedroom downstairs. Considering he has to work all day for our government, that's not a good thing. 

Suggestions, tips, things I'm doing wrong?? I can handle one or two days of this, but pretty soon, I'm going to go crazy. Though really, with this face, it's hard to be annoyed:

Still, we all need more sleep around here and I would love to hear what you have to say about this!


Megan D. Neal said...

That's rough! My daughters all did that at some point. It's usually a sign of a growth spurt where they need some extra food to fuel it. Does he still nurse or take a bottle? Try just feeding him with the lights off, doing whatever you do for your night-night routine of settling him down, except verbally. Try not to say much, and if you have to, keep it to a minimum in a gentle whisper, to teach him that this is nighttime and time for sleeping. (Turning lights on and speaking triggers the brain to wake up fully.) If that doesn't work, don't stress too much. It's a phase that will pass.
The only other thing I'd advise is getting a floor fan for your bedroom that will produce white noise and drown out your noises to allow your husband to sleep better while E. transitions.

Amy said...

After you feed him, I'd lay him back down and leave him alone in his room. He may stay awake, and he might even cry, but eventually he should settle back down to sleep.

I also highly recommend white noise. We have a sound machine that plays in Emily's room, and we also leave the bathroom fan on in the room next to hers. It helps us both sleep better.

My go-to for sleep advice is the book Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth, MD. I don't do everything he suggests, but so far I've found his advice sound and it works well for us. Good luck!

Amanda said...

Thank you ladies! We have used a white noise machine since he was born (and for us for several years), so we're already doing that. The last couple of nights I've walked in without saying anything or even making eye contact and just fed him and laid him back down. He doesn't go back to sleep :( He will, however, play for the next hour or so in his crib until I get up with him, occasionally yelling his annoyance at being left along. He doesn't cry though, so I leave him...though I don't really get anymore sleep either! Hopefully it will pass!

Sarah said...

I wish I could help. All I know is he is one cute kid!

RAnn said...

Are you nursing or bottle feeding? If nursing, I'd pull him into bed with you in a dark, quiet room and nurse and doze. I know you have to wake up more with bottles to make sure he doesn't choke, the bottle is the right temp etc. but like everyone else said, treat it like its the middle of the night, and he is supposed to be sleeping. No talking, no TV; as few lights as possible.

Ami said...

Yep, I agree with the growth spurt theory, and that it will (probably) pass. His body knows what he needs and when he needs it, although that doesn't help much when you want to sleep! My 16mo still wakes up every night at exactly 11:28 and needs to be picked up. The time change threw him off for a bit, but now it's exactly 11:28 again. Weird! Not much help, I'm afraid:)

Lisa said...

I agree with the person who said growth spurt, or mental leap of some sort. Mostly likely he'll get over it. I would pick one course of action and stick with it though, he'll find it interesting if you do something different every day.