My 3-year-old child wakes up after about 6-8 hours of sleep which I think is normal. I get up around that time to pick up the house, study for school, and then I head out to work. When he wakes up, his mom is still sleeping, so he climbs up into her bed and tries to wake her up and asks to breastfeed. She tells him:

  1. Feeding is only before you go to sleep.
  2. It's too early, go to sleep.
  3. Raise her voice back at him irritated, and they both have this argument.
  4. Combination of 1, 2, 3.

I'm not sure what to do right now. I always wake up instantly when my child wakes up. I feel horrible sleeping in. I'm always tired too. But when I started exercising, I had a lot more energy, so after I wake up now, I recover faster, and I'm quickly energized.

The question would be how do I approach my wife without offending her? There could be a number of factors making her so tired, but she has always slept in though. Here is what I know:

  1. Breastfeeding drains all her energy
  2. Not exercising for 4 years has put a toll on her, thus her energy level declined
  3. She's under a lot of stress from school that's why she sleeps more
  4. She needs a break that's why she's quick to snap

Every person has a varying threshold for stress. I try to remind myself I'm going to school like her, working at our job, then after I come home, I spend the rest of the day with my child, so she can decompress. It's 12+ hours a day. I'm completely drained, but I remind myself how exciting learning from my child is to keep me going.

I do admit I spend less time with her, but I make sure to spend at least 1-2 hours a day with my wife. I know this helps her know that I care, and I do love her. But maybe this is one of the reasons? I make sure she and I have at least a day to ourselves most of the weeks. She always comes back home looking more energized when she does.

I'm looking into different approaches, but if anyone knows of some practical advice specifically for this, please share your experience. I want to know how to talk to my wife about the situation and not offend her for not waking up early or quick to lash out at our son.

PS: I noticed one thing that helps out a lot is when she and I are reading parenting books. It always refreshes what we don't know and keeps us on our guard. I picked up another parenting book, and I am reading it and explaining to her different ways to go about the situations. I know when I do, I can see her chance dramatically. I know she wants to do the best for our son, that's why when I read about parenting and share what I learned, it reinforces what her and I should be doing and eases everything. Bottom line, I think the frustration stems from not knowing what to do in the given situation and expecting our child to be able to comprehend given his 3 years on earth what had took us over 25 years.

  • 3
    I think you need to decide what question you're asking here. You start off (and in the title) are asking "What do I do when my kid wakes up early", which is a fine question in its own right. Then you move on to asking for relationship advice, which is also a fine question (perhaps more appropriate for [relationships.se], but probably okay here also in my book). But those have entirely different answers. Ask them separately, if you want both answers.
    – Joe
    Commented May 2, 2014 at 16:43
  • Perhaps retitle to "How do I help my wife be more engaged with our child in the mornings?"
    – MJ6
    Commented May 3, 2014 at 13:43
  • I would agree with MJ6's re-titling of the question. It's a compound question and the current title doesn't reflect the actual question. Commented May 5, 2014 at 4:27
  • 1
    Have you tried making her coffee? That always makes me more willing to deal with children in the morning. XD Commented May 3, 2019 at 13:38

3 Answers 3


Your wife seems a little over taxed and just wants to sleep past dawn.

What about a baby gate on the toddler's bedroom door to keep him safely in his room until you two are awake?

Also maybe at three it's a good time to start weaning. The toddler gained all nutritional benefits from breast milk at this point and it would help with your wife's energy levels. Also if your son isn't immediately concerned with nursing when he wakes up he may be more inclined to play in his room until you guys get up.


My advice would be to get an au pair to assist with the childcare and household duties to give your wife a break. Either

  1. pay for an au-pair,
  2. use something like workaway.info to advertise for free room and board in exchange for duties, or
  3. try to encourage more involvement from family.

When we did this it was truly a marriage saver and our child really enjoyed the experience of another (younger) carer.


First off, props for still breastfeeding your 3-year-old.

Regarding early wake-ups, I'm not quite in that boat, yet (my wife and I have an 11-month-old daughter, and as a stay-at-home mom, she does all of the night-time duties).

It sounds like you're both doing your best as far as the research and coping mechanisms for difficulties such as this, but the only real way to address the issue is to have a calm conversation with your wife about your concerns, and what you can both do (as a couple) to address the issue.

It's going to be pretty tough to open without coming off as accusatory, but you will have to trust that your wife is open to discussion and (light) criticism.

If you're really worried about coming off as offensive, you can simply ask her "What do you think we should do about [name of your child] waking up so early and bugging you? I know it's been bothersome for you, and I think we can find a way to handle it."

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