Q & A: Waking up too early

Hi Rosemary!

I saw your new blog on Oh Baby and thought I’d see what you think! I have an 18 month old who has never been a great sleeper. He goes down REALLY well – we never have battles at bedtime and he’s generally in bed and asleep by about 7pm.  The troubles have always been his wake-up time, which range from 4am-6am.  Half the time he wakes up and he’s soaked through his diaper, the other times he’s just awake. Sometimes we can get him to go back to sleep if one of us lays down in his room (he’s still in a crib).  But he’s NOTICEABLY happier when he sleeps until closer to 6.

He started sleeping through the night around 7 months after sleep training.  He’s in day care during the day and has a regular nap from about 12 :15-2 :15pm.

We’ve tried letting him cry in his bed, but now that he’s bigger it’s harder because he SCREAMS or alternates with calling our names and crying.

We’re obviously exhausted and I am at a loss. I asked his doctor at one of his check ups (when he was generally waking up between 5-5:30) and she said that was probably just his morning time, which we got used to and were okay with. But anything that starts with a 4 is just too hard to take!

Any suggestions would be great!


Hi Catherine,

I agree- 5:00- 5-30 is a bit early, but 4:00 is unmanageable! Here are a few things to consider which might help:

Try limiting your son’s liquid intake after 6:00 PM. He may be waking up wet because he is drinking too much too close to bedtime.

If he wakes at 4:00, go in, reassure him, but then leave the room. Staying with him in the room is a distraction. I know the crying is hard to listen to, but after a few rounds of this, he will start to get the message. (I’m assuming that when you put him down at night, you kiss him and leave the room.) As you mentioned, you’ve done the sleep training thing once before, so I’m sure you know what you’ve got ahead of you. Stick with it and I’m sure you will see results!


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