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3 year old wakes up at the crack of dawn

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  • 3 year old wakes up at the crack of dawn

    I co-sleep as well as still nurse my almost 3 year old.
    I'm okay with this although I do miss sleeping with my husband - he's sleeping nearby. The problem is that he has been waking up at around 5 in the morning way before I've had enough sleep. I can't nurse and sleep at the same time. I've got it so that he rarely tries to nurse during the night but he's waking up way too early.
    He'll cry loudly to nurse, turn the lights on, take the covers off of me...I try telling him that I need sleep and I'll nurse later but he insists on it being when he wakes up.

    I am not getting enough sleep nor is my husband or our 5 year old.

    Any ideas?
    Thank you -

  • #2
    What time does he go to bed at night? Does he still nap?


    • #3
      is your room dark? can you get darkening shades? do you have water or food nearby that he can get? he may truly be hungry or thirsty.


      • #4
        He goes to bed between 7:30 and 8:30 and often does nap - usually before 2:00pm.
        The room is super dark - we actually have foil on the windows and curtains and usually we have the door closed. The light does seem to wake him if the door is open.

        The food and something to drink is a very good idea. I'll try that for this coming morning and see how it works.
        Thanks so much.


        • #5
          Hi Nancy,
          I just asked my fellow leaders a similar question as I am working on a bit of night weaning. The lack of sleep is making me a bit edgy and blurry.

          I have been working on talking him back to sleep the times he wakes up in the middle of the night and when he gets up early for now, I give him toys and books to play with next to us while I try to rest a bit more.

          I have been working on getting us adults to bed earlier as summer is here and we do need to get up early to tend to our garden and other chores, but for now all I can think is please let me sleep.

          I am using the water like the mamas suggested to me and you... and have been feeding Ronnie a banana every night before bed... A friend told me to try it s it would balance his potassium levels and help with his thirst level.

          I am so happy to find another nursing mama with a 3 year old. Mine is 3.5 years.

          Peace & Blessings,



          • #6
            Before I forget, we also got a salt lamp, we have several and I have noticed a change if he wake up early and I put it on, it calms him and he reads quietly by it.


            • #7
              We had a similar problem to but I think DS was closer to 2 1/2 then 3. I think part of it was hunger. He would get really hungry in the morning. The strange part though, was that he wanted food (buttered cracker specifically) but he usually wouldn't eat it. Just hold it in his hand. And god forbid my husband or I would try and remove it from his hand.

              Many a morning we would all drift back to sleep after the cracker was in place. And sometimes I would notice the cracker was no longer in his clutch and nowhere to be found. I never knew when I started co-sleeping that I would be doing so with a buttered cracker. (And even more surprising, how little I'd care. )

              I think part of the issue was also the whole daylight savings/early morning light issue. The black-out curtains didn't help us much either. My friend has a theory that these LOs know it's summer and time to get up early even if the sun is blocked out. That summer made me a believer in her theory.

              Does he wake up later if he doesn't nap?


              • #8
                I told him last night that there would be little sandwiches on the table with something drink if he got hungry in the morning and just to go eat that but to also let me sleep until I was ready to wake up. He woke up and wanted to nurse but then I reminded him. He didn't go to the kitchen but he did say he was sorry and went back to sleep. I'll see what happens tomorrow! Thank you.


                • #9
                  It's funny because he used to wake up later if he didn't have a nap but at this point it doesn't seem to make a difference.


                  • #10
                    I found with my daughter that she needs pretty much exactly 12 hours sleep. If she has a nap during the day - no matter what time - you can take that off the 12 hours and she'd find it really difficult to go to sleep. So if possible at all I try to cut out the day-naps.
                    We still breastfeed at 21/2 but during the night I try to encourage her to take a bottle which often works (unfortunately it's warm milk so I have to get up, but at least it's quick).
                    Then we tried to make her wait: I told her she could have a bottle after she'd listened to her musical box once (still working on having that near my bed!) and sometimes she'd go to sleep before it was finished.
                    We used a reward chart (very cute pirate ship from, that was a motivator for a while.
                    We also decide to move her into her own bed a couple of months ago as she would always rely on me to go back to sleep and my sleep got too disrupted).
                    Hope any of this might help.
                    If not: hope and pray he'll outgrow SOON!


                    • #11
                      with regard to rewards, API would recommend very careful consideration of them w/older children and only when the child is involved in developing the process. rewards can, and often do, backfire, and more importantly, can detract from the parent/child relationship, which is counterintuitive to AP. i highly recommend Alfie Kohn's Unconditional Parenting which can explain this approach more clearly.


                      • #12
                        Similar Issue

                        I just read through all the responses and I have a similar problem with my 18mos. But I have already tried all the tips offered. The only thing I haven't tried is moving her to her own bed (it is coming soon!). Any other suggestions?

                        If I put her down at 9, she is up by 6. Last night she passed out at 730 and was up by 5 (I guess I can be thankful it wasnt 430!). She does take a 2 hour nap every day.


                        • #13
                          3 year old wakes up at the crack of dawn

                          Oh no LOL I hope thats not the case. I REALLY need that break Lets see...she gets up about 8-830 and I have noticed she will go to sleep easily around 2 ish and sleep about 1 1/2 to 2 hours so that puts her getting up around 330-4. Yep...then its about 9-10 when she will finally go to sleep again. And shes getting about 10-12 hours sleep total. OH MAN I am so not ready for naptimes to be over for her Ill try it tomorrow though and see how it goes. Maybe try to skip the nap and get her to bed around 7-8. Thanks for that.
                          In case tht doesnt work out, any other suggestions are still welcome, PLEASE
                          Let me introduce myself.