This kid’s sleeping habits are driving me a little batty. First of all, let me say that I got lucky with him. He’s always slept really well and has pretty much from the beginning. He’s always napped well during the day and slept well throughout the night so I can’t really complain too much. I guess he spoiled me.
The last couple months, he started waking up super early. Some of it might have been because of teething, but lately, I don’t think that’s it. When DH was away last week, he slept through from 7 to 6:30am. Prior to that and since, he’s been waking anywhere between 3 and 5:00am. He starts with a coo and a babble and works his way up to standing up in his crib bellowing and crying.
I tried to give him water instead of milk as per the pediatrician’s advice. That worked precisely once. Then he went from drinking the water grudgingly and kept crying until he got the milk. Then he would settle back down and go to sleep. This would often take an hour. Not fun at 3am. At that hour, I’m all business, no eye contact, no talking, just cuddling and not engaging in any sort of play. And of course, he was soaked through and through when it was time to start the day. Now I just get up, give him some watered down milk, rock him a bit, put him down and go back to bed. This seems to work.
However, it occurs to me that this is now a habit. Not sure how bad a habit it is, since he genuinely seems hungry and is satisfied with milk and a cuddle. My question is, am I setting myself up for trouble? If I don’t get my REM sleep, I’m like a bear without coffee, but I don’t see a way out of it, since leaving him to cry and carry on only disturbs the neighbours and keeps us up anyway, so NOBODY is sleeping. Even if I turn the monitor off, you can hear him through the walls and then of course, I imagine him with his leg trapped or something. I always wait a bit to see if he will go back to sleep, but he never does.
I also have tried keeping him up later, but whether he goes to bed around 7, 8 or around 9, this does not change his predawn wake up habit.
This crying it out technique I can do in the day because then I have the stamina. This sudden resistance to not having a nap is more about his development I think – he’d rather play and crawl about than sleep, but then he gets all cranky and whiney anyway. I’ve read that at his age – 10 months – he stills needs his naps and does ensure a good night’s sleep.
Any suggestions? Experiences? Am I just griping for no reason? Should I just ride this out and stop resisting the predawn awakening or do I ignore his early morning yelling?