She Says… Breakthrough

We had a breakthrough this morning.

Though some may say that waking up at 6am is NOT, in fact, a good thing, I would beg to differ.

For the last two weeks or so, Owen has been wide awake in the 5 o’clock hour. I don’t know what the difference is between 5:50am and 6:00am, but for me, there is one. Prior to that stretch he was doing awesome, waking up at 6:30am, 6:40am, and a few times nearly 7:00am. Then the latest ear infection took hold and I went away to London for a few nights for work and this very early waking started. Luckily (umm… NOT!), this trend began just before the time change. Which means that as I woke at 5:20am I was realizing that in a few days that was going to be 4:20am, which was just not ok. For either of us.

So last week I started moving bedtime a little later by a 10 or so minutes each night, hoping to slowly nudge Owen’s sleep/wake cycle a little later. In the mornings I went to him when he cried and cuddled and rocked and played quietly in the darkened room, trying to convince his little body that it was still night time and use light to help his circadian rhythm reset. As we got closer to the time change I started treating his wakeups like midnight wakeups (going to him, rubbing his back until he was quiet and then leaving the room). Lather, rinse, repeat until an appropriate wakeup time.

Unfortunately what I realized over the course of last week is that Owen came to LOVE these little morning parties with Mama. Instead of sleeping a little later each day, he was progressively waking up earlier and earlier, and as soon as I came in, even to shush him and put him back to sleep, he popped up out of his crib, shouting, “Up! Up! Ree! Boo! Mommy! Doggie!”. Up. Up. Read. Book. Mommy. Doggie. Although I didn’t realize it until a few days later, I think our little pajama parties had the opposite of the intended effect. It seemed like Owen was getting up even earlier so we could have our quiet little giggly playtime in the dark. It’s actually the same thing that happened when Owen was tiny. If I went in to his room when he was crying at night, he was immediately up and wanted to play or eat or snuggle. If I left him alone for a bit, he always went back to sleep much quicker than he did with intervention.

I have to admit, though. No matter what time that clock read, I secretly loved our morning playtimes too. Owen is a hilarious little baby and the way we communicate with words now has opened our playtime up in amazing ways. We talk. We laugh. We make up games. We pretend. We read. We read A LOT. We make silly sounds. We make each other crack up. We were having a little too much fun for 5:00am. It’s no wonder he wants to get up so early.

Since we had changed his schedule around so much last week to work around the time change, I decided to give our same old schedule (now at the “new” time) a shot for a week before changing anything else. No more morning playtimes until 6:00am. I will give him the opportunity to put himself back to sleep like normal, and if that doesn’t work, I’ll go in a shush him and then leave the room again. Just like the old days when we were working on him sleeping through the night. It was a long time ago, but the techniques still work!

This morning he fussed a bit at 5:20am. And just as I was about to go in to pat his back and shhhhhhh for awhile, he was quiet. He had fallen back asleep. Until 6:00am on the dot. Though I loved those morning parties and cuddles, I am happy to have them wait until 6:00am now. Let’s hope the pattern continues. I think all he needed was a little regularity. Maybe in the spring we will try the cold turkey time change. At least that change will give me an extra hour in the morning, when I need it most!

How did your kids handle the time change? What about you?

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13 responses to “She Says… Breakthrough

  1. I’m with you; a 6am wake up is a good day! My son is 7 months, so the time change didn’t affect him as much as other kids. We just adjusted his routine and he did pretty well. He still wakes between 4 and 5:30 and will usually fall back asleep for a bit with a pacifier and bit of rocking. But 5:30 to 6:00 is usually when he wakes for the day. I’m not sure how to delay his early waking to 6:30 or 7:00, but hopefully we’ll get there. My husband is an early riser, so at least he doesn’t mind (too much) getting up with him and having some playtime before work.

  2. Good job! I, too, have definitely noticed that if we go in when we hear chatter she will want to wake up and play, so we generally don’t until it’s an “acceptable” hour although I bet those parties were super-fun! 🙂 Now, they’ll be at a more reasonable hour! The time change hasn’t affected Maya–probably because of her being sick, she’s just sleeping a LOT … STTN, but also a lot during the day — so I don’t think it will really impact her much at this point. She is still asleep by 645 generally and awake by 7, though today I had to gently wake her for school. I walked out and once I went back in, she was standing in her crib 🙂

  3. I can totally understand those early morning parties! Our 8-week-old Maya still wakes twice during the night, usually at 2 and 5, and as much as I would like to get her to eliminate one (or both) of those feedings, and STTN, she is just so stinkin cute when I go in there during the night! She has often broken out of her Velcro swaddle, and greets me with a huge grin, arms flapping about, so excited to see me! I am too tired to play at that point, so it is just nurse, diaper change, and back to bed for her. While the extra sleep will be wonderful (especially going back to work tomorrow!), I’m sure I will miss those night time feedings!
    Let’s hope Owen continues to sleep past 6!

  4. This morning I was awoken to laughter and cooing at 4:45 am on the dot. This week Ella has been waking up around then. I usually get up at 5 so no biggie. I’m loving the time change! She’s now going to be between 6-6:30 and sleeping until about 4:45 am. Now we get some good mommy-baby time in the mornings and I get to breastfeed her rather than pump (ugh). She keeps me company while I get ready for work.

  5. This morning my little dictator actually slept until 6:30am and I was ready to go buy her that pony as a reward.

  6. We went cold turkey and some how we’re getting an extra hour out of him. He’s been sleeping until at least 7 every day this week. He starts waking up around 5 but with a little coaxing will sleep for another couple of hours. My husband and I were in bed at least an hour earlier for the first couple of nights, but I finally felt adjusted last night.

  7. congrats on the breakthrough!

    did you write a post on getting him to sleep through the night? I’d love to read it. I’m always worried R is hungry and that’s why he’s up so I go to him st the first peep, which I hear b/c we’re sleeping in the same room).

  8. @RhodeyGirl, I have written a few along the way. It was around 4 months that he actually started sleeping through the night. I did some things that helped us get there, but I also had a sort of “false start” around 3 1/2 months where I tried to push him into sleeping through the night too early. Here are some of the posts about it:

    https://thisplaceisnowahome.wordpress.com/2010/11/15/she-says-early-morning-wakeup-call/
    https://thisplaceisnowahome.wordpress.com/2010/11/18/she-says-a-must-read/ (where we stopped swaddling our Houdini)
    https://thisplaceisnowahome.wordpress.com/2010/12/13/she-says-zzzzzzz/ (the 1st 11 hour night sleep)

    Good luck!

  9. Time change struck horror in this house. Honestly I thought it would be cake. I won’t lie, I have a pretty horrible sleeper on my hands. He normally sleeps 9 pm – 9 am with a few wakeups [despite lots of sleep training, he has never made it from bedtime until morning without a few wakeups]. So I was like, “oh time change will be easy, he will just sleep 8 pm – 8 am”. Well now he’s back to screaming hyserically for over an hour at 1 AM and getting up WAAAY earlier than normal, thus needing to take a nap in the morning that only will last 20 minutes resulting in him needing a 2nd nap around 3 pm. OMG.

  10. It’s just so nice to read about you and Owen. I may not be a mom yet, but still, I love reading your posts! Just yesterday, a friend of mine mentioned that she wishes her baby girl was walking and talking already. Her baby is turning 1 next week. I told her, when her little angel starts to walk and talk, she will be missing the baby days! How they grow up so fast! And how it takes some people like us so long to even get them!

  11. Victoria just hit the 4 month growth spurt, so that 7 hour stretch is now a 2-4 hour stretch. Of course, we all to to bed around midnight and wake up for good around 11 lol. DH is in between jobs and I’m a sahm. We should really get her on a schedule :-/.

    On another note, my husband may be getting a job offer in Boston. We were looking around NH to live, are there good places?? Texas to Boston in the winter is enough to freak me out…snow, ack!

  12. @Cate, Growth spurts mess everything up 😉 The good news is that as she gets bigger she will probably stretch longer and longer. And hey, if no schedule works for your family, rock it while you can! That’s awesome. Moving from Texas to Boston in the winter IS a big change! Congrats on the possible job offer; that’s really exciting. I don’t know much about NH, but I know there are a lot of places in NH that are so close to the Boston area and the real estate is a better value there. Good luck! Let me know if there’s anything I can do to help you as you think about your move.

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