I need help establishing an earlier bedtime - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 01-17-2010, 05:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My daughter has ALWAYS gone to bed for the night LATE. As she was gradually getting her days and nights straightened out in the first 6-8 weeks, her longest stretch of sleep would be from 3AM to 7 or 8AM. She was fussy at night and had a really hard time letting go and falling asleep in the evenings, even if she had easily fallen asleep for 3 or so naps during the day. The hours between 8 PM and 3AM would be fraught with short short bursts of sleep, broken up by longer bouts of fussing. I would be nursing practically non-stop during that time sometimes, bouncing on the ball or rocking. At 3-5 months, she would fall asleep around 1AM and sleep straight until 8AM, then nurse and go back to sleep until around 11 or 12. This was fine for me because I was staying home and have always been more of a late night person myself. It's harder on my husband. Between then and now (10 months old) we have gone through a few stretches of going to sleep as early as 9:30 or 10, but it always somehow gets pushed back later again. And typically, during those times of earlier initial bedtimes, she is up for 1-2.5 hours in the middle of the night sometime between 11PM and 3AM, whereas if she goes to bed later, she only wakes up to nurse and then falls back asleep quickly. So, most of the time we haven't actually been pushing super hard for an earlier bedtime. Often in the past, I would put her in the ERGO (around or after midnight) and bounce and sing for 10-15 minutes and she'd be out for the night.

Over the last 3-4 weeks sleep has been really difficult in general. She has had a hard time falling asleep and a hard time staying asleep. She had 2 colds in a row, got a new tooth, and is now learning to walk (took her first independent steps last week). So, I know these are typically times of more challenging sleep, but I feel like we're almost through those things and as we get back into a more regular routine I want to set an earlier bedtime. I will start substitute teaching soon and really need to get to sleep before 1AM.

Our typical bedtime routine currently includes a bath, nursing, and then bouncing in the ERGO while listening to sleepy-time music. We try to start around 10:30/11, and she usually takes an hour-long evening nap, sometime between 5 and 9PM. We get her fully asleep in the ERGO, then transfer her to a crib. If she wakes in the night, she comes to our bed to nurse and we both fall back asleep, maybe nurse 1-2 more times throughout the rest of the night and get up. She spends the hours of 12 or 1AM to 10 or 11AM in bed, most of it sleeping. She takes 1-3 naps per day, depending on how long they are, but I try to get her 3 hours of sleep during the day. She hasn't been a big napper since about 3 months old, so this is a goal that often isn't met. We used to nurse to sleep, or bounce on the ball, or take a walk, but now none of those things work (nursing sometimes), only the ERGO and music.

She used to fully co-sleep with us 100% of the night. We moved her to her crib about 6+ weeks ago and it was great at first - she was sleeping 7-8 hours straight about 75% of the time the first couple of weeks. Then she got sick and it all fell apart.

So, how do I get our bedtime moved earlier? I have tried waking up earlier (9ish) and she still won't take a first nap until at least 1PM, then her same second nap happens at 5 or later, and late to bed again (tonight for example - I have been actively trying to get her to sleep since 11Pm and it is now 12:45). So it seems like an earlier waking is just leading to less total sleep. I won't do cry it out. What other options do I have? Sorry for the extremely long post, but I wanted to make sure there was enough details and background. Thanks for any ideas at all!!

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#2 of 6 Old 01-17-2010, 11:01 AM
 
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How long did you try waking her up earlier for? I find my DD takes at least a week to adjust to even the one hour shift from daylight savings time. For that week, yes she lost sleep, but then made it up later. Why the desire to have her sleep three hours during the day? At that age I could only get my daughter to sleep for an hour and a half during the day (two naps), three hours could easily be too much and I think you've got to help her push through not napping at night, after 5pm is definitely way late. Some kids go to bed at 6:30 at this age! (not mine though).

Can you 'force' a nap by say taking a walk outside in the stroller or in the car? Using tricks that like to get her to nap earlier to shift the schedule may also help. This is a really tough time with sleep though too, it will pass!

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#3 of 6 Old 01-17-2010, 04:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the advice!

This week we will try getting up at 9 every day, and try really forcing an earlier nap. Yesterday she napped from 1-2 and then we tried again at 4ish - she fell asleep but then woke up WIDE awake when we tried to lay her down. Then at 8 she was exhausted, fussy, rubbing her eyes, and clumsy. So, we gave in and put her in the ERGO, she fell asleep easily at 8:15, slept until 9:15, then woke up WIDE awake again, and didn't go back to sleep until 2AM. We got up at 11 today. Sigh.

So, today if she naps from 1-2 again, should I try for a second nap at 4 or 5, or just try to keep her up until....? Remember every time we try for an 8, 9, or 10 bedtime, she is awake for a couple of hours in the middle of the night.

Definitely getting up at 9 (or 9:30 ) all week this week from now on though. I only have a few weeks until my first scheduled subbing date! Yikes!

Mama to my sweet pea:, can't believe how fast she's growing!
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#4 of 6 Old 01-17-2010, 05:14 PM
 
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I would wake her up earlier (like 8-8:30) and wake her up from her nap by 3 pm at the latest. Then try for a 8:00 bedtime. It will probably take a little while to stick, but if you consinstently wake her up by those times it should. My DS dropped his afternoon nap around that age, so she may only need one nap a day to go to bed earlier.

ETA: when my DS first dropped his afternoon nap, he was really grumpy/tired by 5 pm, so we started getting out of the house in the afternoons and for a little while he was going to bed for the night by 6 pm. It has gradually shifted to 7 pm.

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#5 of 6 Old 01-18-2010, 01:40 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow, our baby has NEVER EVER EVER gone to bed anywhere near 8PM. In our previous life (before baby), we were usually up until 11PM most nights. Does your baby stay asleep even as you are doing stuff around the house? We have a very small house, like you can clearly hear the dishwasher from the bedrooms. Should I expect her to be able to sleep through household noises? Since about 6 months or so she doesn't fall asleep unless it is quiet and dim (before that we could be at a concert or restaurant and she could sleep fine) so lately we have been really quiet during naps and after she falls asleep... 8PM might be quite a challenge for us, especially since my husband doesn't get home from work until around 6:30 or 7.

I was basing the 3 hours of napping on the fact that she only sleeps 9-11 hours at night usually, and I had read that 10 mos. should sleep 14-16 hours total per day. Is that more than normal in others' experience? It has only been occasional for us to acheive 14 hours of sleep in a 24 hour period.

I guess a part of me is really scared that I will have a couple of weeks of 5.5 hours of sleep per night if I start waking her up at 8 or 8:30, but I know I need to to get her on an earlier schedule... It seems pretty likely that she will continue to not fall asleep for the night until 12, 1, or 2 AM and then wake 1-2 times at least, for a little while. How do you deal with the lack of sleep while having a crankier baby? Is there a way around that?

Thanks for the support!

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#6 of 6 Old 01-18-2010, 09:59 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newmomrose View Post
Wow, our baby has NEVER EVER EVER gone to bed anywhere near 8PM. In our previous life (before baby), we were usually up until 11PM most nights. Does your baby stay asleep even as you are doing stuff around the house? We have a very small house, like you can clearly hear the dishwasher from the bedrooms. Should I expect her to be able to sleep through household noises? Since about 6 months or so she doesn't fall asleep unless it is quiet and dim (before that we could be at a concert or restaurant and she could sleep fine) so lately we have been really quiet during naps and after she falls asleep... 8PM might be quite a challenge for us, especially since my husband doesn't get home from work until around 6:30 or 7.

I was basing the 3 hours of napping on the fact that she only sleeps 9-11 hours at night usually, and I had read that 10 mos. should sleep 14-16 hours total per day. Is that more than normal in others' experience? It has only been occasional for us to acheive 14 hours of sleep in a 24 hour period.

I guess a part of me is really scared that I will have a couple of weeks of 5.5 hours of sleep per night if I start waking her up at 8 or 8:30, but I know I need to to get her on an earlier schedule... It seems pretty likely that she will continue to not fall asleep for the night until 12, 1, or 2 AM and then wake 1-2 times at least, for a little while. How do you deal with the lack of sleep while having a crankier baby? Is there a way around that?

Thanks for the support!

We have to have a fan for white noise, and keep the door shut or DS will wake up with all of the sounds as well. He is a light sleeper and we also have a small house. With the fan going, he can barely hear what is going on out here. And we have a moniter so we can hear him when he wakes up.

Maybe you could work toward a 9 PM bedtime then, rather than 8.. if you think 8 is too early. But, if you drop her second nap she may be tired by 8 PM for the night. My DS has never needed 14-16 hours of sleep per day. More like 11-13. Some babies just don't need quite as much sleep.

It probably will totally suck for a couple days, but I think if you are really commited it could work and be worth it. I would focus on setting up a daily routine, and for a week stick to it really well. During "awake" times, get outside, go to the mall, run errands, etc. During times you want her to nap, do WHATEVER it takes, go for a walk, drive, keep things dark/quiet. If you are waking her up earlier and keeping her up from her second nap, you probably won't have any trouble getting her to sleep.

Obviously you could just keep going with the flow and staying up late, etc. but you seem like you really want to change things. Good luck!

Catie belly.gif- Happy wife to Aaron stillheart.gif(01.05), mama to Liambikenew.gif(08.08), and Ian jammin.gif (11.10)! homebirth.jpgnocirc.giffamilybed1.gif and joy.gif due Feb 2013 with blessing #3!

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