I am wondering if anyone out there has any brilliant advice for me. If not, it's okay--but I thought I would ask.
Noah wakes up between 5:15 and 5:45 every morning, and he wakes up grumpy. I thought maybe it was a phase, but this has been the norm for several months now. I have gotten kind of used to the early hour (though it's still not ideal), but I have not gotten used to how incredibly fussy he is at that time. He generally wakes up screaming, and he continues to whine, fuss, and scream until his morning nap several hours later. He doesn't take long naps either. He's still taking two, but I am lucky if they are an hour-long, and he wakes up screaming from those as well. I've read in some sleep books and I've heard from some moms that if a baby wakes up crying/screaming, then he/she hasn't gotten the sleep he/she needs yet. Some of my friends have told me that they never go to their babies (once they are about 9 months old) if they wake up crying because they just need to fall back asleep and get the sleep that they need. Supposedly, when they are actually ready to get up, they will wake up content and talking to themselves. I've tried that with Noah, but his crying just escalates and he doesn't fall back asleep. And I can count on one hand the number of times that he's woken up happy and babbling (from either a nap or nighttime sleep). I have tried to leave him alone until at least 6:00 a.m. (as suggested by Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child), but he just gets more and more angry--he doesn't fall back asleep. I've also tried briefly going to him and changing his diaper and giving him a bottle...that doesn't seem to work either. I've tried putting him to bed earlier; I've tried putting him to bed later. He already goes to bed exceptionally early, so I really can't push it any more that direction. And when I put him to bed later, he still wakes up at the same super early hour, and he is even grumpier than usual. I wish he would stay up a little later in the evenings, but it's not worth dealing with his crabbiness the next day. He is very good at falling asleep on his own without much fussing after a bedtime routine, so he should be able to go back to sleep without our assistance in the wee hours of the morning--but he doesn't, so maybe he is just an early riser and will always be a little crabby after he wakes up (I know I am). We've made his bedroom as dark as possible, and he's always slept with white noise, so we can't do much else to alter his sleeping environment, I don't think. My sister recently suggested that we start putting a sippy cup of water and a few toys in his crib after he falls asleep, so when we wakes up, he will be excited and distracted and able to soothe himself back to sleep, or at least entertain himself a few minutes instead of immediately getting upset. We are trying this technique now...the verdict is still out.
Katie's mom (who is a nurse) told me that our bodies wake us up at least 30 minutes before they think we need to eat. So if we are always feeding him immediately when he wakes up, he will continue to wake up at that time. Apparently with some of the geriatric patients she's worked with, they've helped them readjust their wakeup time by adjusting their breakfast time. So we've pushed back his first bottle until a little later, but unfortunately, it doesn't seem to make a difference for Noah (but it seems like a great idea for others who might face this problem).
Can you tell we've tried everything?? :) I've read several sleep books and talked to lots of friends, and I honestly think this might just be Noah's active, energetic, and stubborn personality, but I thought I would go ahead and see if anyone out there has faced this type of situation and has any additional ideas. If he was happy in the morning, I wouldn't be concerned about it, but since he is so fussy for several hours, I honestly don't know if he's getting the sleep he needs. It was worth asking for ideas and thoughts.
A related story: A few months ago, I woke up to Noah crying, and I looked around the room and noticed it was lighter than usual. I groggily said to Ryan, "What time is it?" He looked at his phone and answered, "6:23." I pumped my fist in the air and shouted, "Go Noah!!" I then had to laugh because, in my former life, I never dreamed I would be rejoicing to be woken up at 6:20! Oh how motherhood changes your life! :)