Does the early bird catch the worm?; (Not) Coping with an early riser

I’m not so sure the early bird does catch the worm anymore. I think the early bird got up at a ridiculous hour and is going to be in a foul mood by 11am.

Sometimes I think this blog is just a big moan fest. Sorry about that. I mean, three months ago I would have literally killed to have a whole nights sleep. Our tiny two year old always struggled with ‘sleeping through’ and regular dummy runs throughout the night were the norm. We had a phase we had to put her behind bars, and I didn’t even know you could regress from the worst, but hello 18 month sleep regression – nice to meet you.

That said, we have progressed. Just after her second birthday, and shortly after the bedroom imprisonment phase, she did it. We have nailed the whole night sleep (Okay, I realise I just jinxed it right there; there have and always will be the odd night when one of the girls stirs and needs something…). Lets just celebrate this momentous achievement for a moment. This was the holy grail, all we dreamed about, and what we’d have exchanged any other treat or night out for.

But, it wasn’t time to pop the champagne just yet. The frequent night wakings were immediately replaced by a very spritely little girl at 5 am or thereabouts every morning. Given we don’t leave the house for school and work until 8am, it’s taking punctuality to a whole new level.

Quite frankly, it’s a killer. I don’t know what’s worse really? Getting up in the night but getting a decent start time, or solid sleep and a milkman worthy alarm call. In fairness, it is progress, and I probably would take it over the middle of the night nudges and dummy hunts. But it’s out of the frying pan and into the fire isn’t it?

Free stock photo of bird, flying, clouds, cloudy

We were totally in fear of dealing with the dummy situation in terror of making things even worse, but just weeks ago we made steps forward there too, and they have all safely gone to a better place. It didn’t even affect her night sleeping thank goodness…but, it’s made those early shifts even harder, as there is no chance of settling her back down to sleep.

White Gray and Brown Short Beak Bird

So what do we do? Well, firstly, we hit the sack at an embarrassingly early hour, and not for recreational purposes. On a really bad day we’ve been known to be in bed not far behind the kids.

And, we take shifts. It’s luck of the draw what you get when it’s your turn, if you luck out it could be almost six (it has happened), but on a bad day you may see the red alarm clock lights in the dark featuring a number 04:XX.

We’ve tried everything – getting her in our bed, letting her play, being firm. Putting her to bed later, keeping her from napping, a gro clock,  trying to ‘feed her up’ before bed. But ultimately, she just doesn’t seem to be tired, and she creates a huge amount of noise, waking up half the street including her four year old sister who has to be at school in three hours time. She isn’t hungry when she wakes up, she isn’t particularly happy, but she definitely is awake.

So, the current pathetic line is to stumble downstairs in the dark. Stick on Peppa Pig, and cry into your coffee.

Moon during Night Time

I think in all honesty, I know part of the problem here – and that’s her nap. But you try keeping a kid awake who has been up since 5am…she loves a daytime snooze, and whilst I know it’s one of the last baby stages to go – she does seem to rely on it (as do I when we are all exhausted).

Everything is a phase, and it’s all progress. We have achieved so much in the last three months, and I know this is the next bit to tackle. Stripping back that daytime doze to 15 minutes, then nothing. As she starts to increase her physical ability – running or scooting alongside her sister on the school run, her mental development now she’s at nursery, and hopefully her appetite, maybe she’ll get there on her own steam.

Or maybe, she just doesn’t need much sleep. Bad news, because Mummy and Daddy really, REALLY do.


Do your kids wake early? Have you lived this dream? Any tips or advice I’d love to know how you fixed this gem!

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29 thoughts on “Does the early bird catch the worm?; (Not) Coping with an early riser

  1. Nicole Reply

    I feel every inch of your pain Sarah… my LO has never been an awesome sleeper (though things are pretty good atm – hope I’ve not jinxed it right there!!!). However, bedtime – the process of putting him to bed – is terror. As you said: you win some, you lose some and then yes, it is all a passing stage. Till then, yaaaaawn.

  2. beautybabyandme Reply

    My friend is going through similar – regular 5am wake ups! It’s hideous but at least you can get a full nights sleep before hand. When Josh wakes early it’s hideous but once I’ve had a cuppa and put on Hey Dugee (don’t judge me) for half an hour it’s actually not too bad xx #coolmumclub sending coffee

  3. Donna Reply

    I’m so lucky to have good sleepers! Whenever I read anything like this I feel lucky! But, I’m afraid I don’t really any advice, I think mine just like their sleep, we didn’t do anything. good luck, hopefully it will pass soon. #coolmumclub

  4. Laura Beresford Reply

    Our day starts at 6.30 everyday and always has done, both my eldest just naturally wake about 6 but manage to stay in bed for a bit. Zach is teething so I’m awake every hour so he can grump then he goes back to sleep as soon as he’s finished complaining at the world #coolmumclub

  5. Muffintopmummyblog Reply

    Oh dear… my baby is 3 months old and I thought the lack of sleep thing would be over soon. What was I thinking!?! Thank you for tearing off the plaster of denial now so that I’m not going mad 18 months down the line. I feel your pain, and it looks like I’m going to be sharing it for a while (4am dummy emergencies seem to be her routine at the moment). #coolmumclub

  6. rockandrosesmama Reply

    Awwwww we have had a massive regression an two and a half recently… little man wakes during the night and just won’t go back down again… the only thing we can do is to bring him into bed with us and he happily goes back to sleep there. This isn’t every night mind you… like one in three… and we never wanted to get into this habit but its either that or one of us is up from like 2am! <3 #coolmumclub

  7. pamsbakeandbabyblog Reply

    Feel your pain we have early risers too. By 8am some days i feel like it should be lunchtime! It will get better and we can enjoy the lazy teenage years! #coolmumclub

  8. thetaleofmummyhood Reply

    My youngest has been a terrible sleeper from day one. In the early days hubs and I would just wish that she would sleep through and promised we wouldn’t even mind if she got up early. Fast forward a few months and she sleeps through but is up any time after 5 and it’s a killer! We definitely spoke too soon! If you finally figure out how to get them to sleep in, please let me know!! #coolmumclub

  9. Busy Working Mummy Reply

    We get up at 5.45am every morning to get ready for work and then get little man up at 6.30am when I am ready myself. He is usually awake and chatting to himself but stays in his room. Those early mornings are a killer and I am in bed every night by 9pm (asleep by 10pm)….any time you wake up with a 5 at the start of it is far too early!! Keep going though, I’m sure its just a phase! #coolmumclub

  10. franbackwithabump Reply

    I totally feel your pain. We have never felt so tired as we do now. Every night its that race to get the kids packed off to bed, have an hour together and then bed for spooning only as we’re too tired for anything else and teying to grab some sleep before the first dummy run of the night. Sigh! thanks for hosting #coolmumclub

  11. Tubbs Reply

    Grim! I wish you luck and hope it’s a stage as no one wants to see 5am unless they have too! Sadly I’ve no advice or help as the Tubblet sleeps. And sleeps. But she is 13 and that’s what they do! #coolmumclub

  12. motherhoodtherealdeal Reply

    Oh man so feel your pain I remember these days well….the only answer is a massive extended reverse lie in every night! I still do it and don’t even have an early riser. Sending some #coolmumclub lie in karma your way xoxo

  13. anywaytostayathome Reply

    I struggle with L and his 6am wake up time, I do not envy you 5am. On the odd occassion she sleeps later do you automatically panic though? I do with L. I leap straight to him having some kind of horrific accident, silently, during the night if he sleeps in. Poor kid can’t win. #coolmumclub

  14. The Mumatron Reply

    It’s awful isn’t it when you finally think ‘yessssssss, you’re asleep for more than 4 hours at a time and you didn’t need milk to go back to sleep’ but no sooner does that happen than the 5 am wake up call? Waaaaaaaa. Lately we’ve taken to sticking teletubbies on and pinning him down on the sofa. (We’ve both nodded back off before now). Chops has only just started sleeping though at one, and it’s not consistent. I was whining the other day because after about 8 months no one asks anymore, it’s just assumed that they’ll sleep. #coolmumclub

  15. a positive parent Reply

    We have really battled this. We live in spain and in the summer its hot and everyone sleeps (well all the spanish kids do) which means we have 10.30pm bedtime and 6am mornings… argh. But then you realise its the culture but its exhausting but really its 3 months of the year then its another pattern. I suggest you read The Miracle Morning. Embrace the mornings! (oh and get a Gro Clock that tells them if its blue then they should be asleep and helps them start understanding)

  16. Helen @Talking_Mums Reply

    Oh dear, 5am is a tad early! I hate trying to work out the whole sleep thing. We do regular dummy runs too. Roll on decent sleep x

  17. Cheryl @ Tea or Wine Reply

    Ooh I feel your pain. Our youngest has just progressed from waking at 5am and now manages 6am or 6.30am. Hang on in there! It does get easier. I bet you notice the difference when that daytime nap finally goes! #CoolMumClub x

  18. Something About Baby Reply

    I dread this day. Whilst Alfie doesn’t sleep through much in his own bed, we’ll often have to wake him up for nursery at 7am in the morning, and it means most weekends he sleeps in till 8am (but we may have been up with him 2 or 3 times in the night). When he does sleep through, we’ll usually have a 6am wake up call which is bearable on weekdays as I’m up getting ready for work anyway, but not so fun on weekends. I just pray that 6am doesn’t move to 5am! Although mum likes to remind me that my brother used to wake up 4am every day when he was younger and was a full on whirlwind from that moment until he went to bed! So I’ll take my 6am anyday!! #coolmumclub

  19. Kat Reply

    I would love if my daughter was an early riser because I am and I’m totally a morning person, that being said the peace between 5-7am is usually my time where I work. however, Evie is often not ready to sleep until gone 9pm which is exhausting! and getting her out of bed for school is a nightmare. Swings and roundabouts eh?! #coolmumclub

  20. Confessions of a working mum Reply

    This too shall pass. Everything is a phase and I think if you get your head round that then that’s half the battle. At 15 months are still chasing the mythical ‘sleeping through’ but acceptance has made it a less of a frustrating process. Take heart that you are not the only one up in the small hours. We’re there too flicking the kettle on and steeling ourselves for another long day xx #coolmumsclub

    1. MMT Reply

      Ah, such a nice comment – needed to read this today as I’m so exhausted! #InItTogether xxx

  21. Mrs Mummy Harris Reply

    I wont say about Ben’s sleeping habits as I fear you may order a hitman but I do sympathise. It always seems the nights i REALLY need him to stay asleep is the night he wakes up and as I am a lady who loves a weekend 10pm-10am sleep, This parenting malarky has royally screwed this up and nine months in i’m still not adjusted or appreciating it hahah #coolmumclub

  22. Mrs Lighty Reply

    We’re quite lucky on this front (totally jinxed it there!!) but having recently had a spell where Baby Lighty has been waking screaming at 4am, I feel your pain!! I know I would be next to useless if I had to deal with it regularly, so I hope you crack it soon. As you say, all I kept telling myself was “it’s all a phase!!”. #coolmumclub

  23. Helena Reply

    These toddlers sure can be torturous. Hope you can find a way to turn things around. #coolmumclub

  24. Mum in Brum Reply

    Aw I feel your pain! We have been going through this for months now – we do usually have 05.XX on the clock rather than O4.XX, but it very rarely gets past 5.45….it is a killer. We also take shifts, but lets be fair you both end up waking up anyhow. Taylor does take a long afternoon nap, which like your little one, she is well ready for. And to be honest, I do love the fact that she naps well in the day as it means I can get things done (like blog!) We’ve also tried to keep her up late and it made no difference whatsoever. On rare occasions she will fall asleep in our bed again, but it’s unlikely. Like everything with little people, I just feel like it’s another phase we just have to ride out – it will soon be something else! Let me know if you discover any miracle ‘cures’ soon though! 😉 xx

  25. crummymummy1 Reply

    She sounds just like Little B – he’s almost two and a half and worse than our three week old! #coolmumclub

  26. susielhawes Reply

    I find when mine wakes early (6ish) I have to do the same – Peppa Pig and cry into my cup of tea! I’m not sure what the answer is. Unless you can get her to have a shorter nap but that may just back fire – I tend to think that sleep breeds sleep and sometimes when my daughter is more tired in the day she doesn’t sleep as well a I’d hope. Sorry not much help! #coolmumclub

  27. Neil Reply

    This post caught my eye on twitter as I scrolled through this morning. We are in a very similar situation as our Daughter is an early riser too. Sorry to say she’s 6 now and still wakes up anytime between 5am and 6am. BUT through a lot of patience and perseverance with her gro clock, written notes to explain how long she has left before we get up, and encouraging quiet play and reading etc she now very rarely comes into our room. Most of the time I’ll wander in and she’s sitting reading a book. It’s not ideal as I think she does need more sleep but until she learns to settle herself back down it’s working for us. Good luck!

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