17 answers

1 Year Old Waking up at Night and Crying for an Hour or More

My one year old was sleeping through the night and actually was a great sleeper for a long time. However this past week he’s woken up in the middle of the night crying (3 times) and won’t go back to sleep. I’ve given in and gave him a bottle (8oz) which he’s drank all of (all three nights…I let him cry it out for about an hour but he wasn’t stopping and was screaming by that point). So my question is, what is going on??? Could it be a growth spurt since he chugs the whole thing down or he just started walking and is that why he’s waking up b/c of that big milestone. Either way, I can’t let him scream for 2 hours b/c I don’t want him waking up his brother. Not sure what to do…I don’t want to make eating in the middle of the night a habit either.


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I would like to say a big thank you to all those who actually tried to help! I do belive in the cry it out method and not feeding at night as I have a right too.
I'm taking him to the dr to check for an ear infection.
Again, thank to you all those helped! Those who critized, not so much.

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I don't understand where the idea that feeding babies when they're hungry creates bad habits. Hungry, eat. Not hungry, don't eat. Seems pretty simple. He's hungry.... feed him.

5 moms found this helpful

It could be his teeth. My daughters had this problem as well. My son never did but the girls did. I would give them tylenol and then they would go back to sleep.

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I don't understand where the idea that feeding babies when they're hungry creates bad habits. Hungry, eat. Not hungry, don't eat. Seems pretty simple. He's hungry.... feed him.

5 moms found this helpful

There is no reason to use CIO right now (well, ever). This is extremely typical behavior for a 1 year old. My champ sleeper started doing exactly the same thing and with quick internet research I found that this age is a time of growth spurt *and* they also become very aware of the outside world and sometimes when they wake they want to see what's going on and not miss out.

Sounds like baby is hungry and also needs some gentle help to get back to sleep. Leaving him to scream for an hour really doesn't accomplish either of those goals.

By meeting your child's needs you are not creating a habit. You are providing love, care and showing your child that you will always meet their needs and this creates a secure, confident child. That's pretty much our job as parents.

Feed your baby when he is hungry and gently soothe him back to sleep. This will pass just like every other bump in the baby/childhood road you will experience.

5 moms found this helpful

My son did this about a week ago - but cried for three hours nonstop and nothing we did soothed him. I eventually took him to the ER and it turned out he just had a really bad cold (which I knew) and basically that was all they told me. In my opinion, my 16 month son (who usually wakes maybe 1x a night) wakes up for one of these reasons:

1. Now that he's getting older, he wakes up and wants to play. Because he and his sister share a room and she doesn't like the door shut at night, I think he wakes up, can see the nightlight in the hallway and assumes it's time to get up.

2. A cold - this could be a cough, runny nose that cause post nasal drip, runny eyes which itch and wake him up or a stuffy nose that he can't breath out of

3. PAIN - from an ear infection, growing pains, hitting the side of the crib, etc.

4. Full diaper - if he won't go back to sleep I change his diaper and he'll usually fall back asleep.

5. Hunger - we have fed him a few times when he woke up but this was only about an hour after he fell asleep. Since stopping nighttime breastfeeding at 9 months we've never given him a sippie or bottle in the middle of the night.

6. Teething. Tylenol or Motrin will help.

Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful

I'm not sure - my little one is just a year old too - but my guess would be a growth spurt or teething. If he has been a good sleeper and still goes down well - I wouldn't worry about how you comfort him when he wakes. My guess would be that whenever this has passed (teeth or growth spurt) he will return to his normal pattern. Around 10 months my little one did something similar. She had always been a good sleeper, so it was really odd. I nursed her both nights and then she was back to normal. I was hesitant to do so as I didn't want to create bad habits, but it seemed to be what she needed at the time.

PS - Sorry you got some critical answers. It is disappointing that the vibe at this site seems to becoming increasingly hostile. :(

2 moms found this helpful

Babies learn not to trust adults who don't come when they are cried for, that's why a lot of parents don't do the cry it out method. Of course it is your choice to let your baby cry until they are screaming. The baby was probably really thirsty after screaming for, what did you say, an hour.

All kids start at about 1 year of age to wake in the middle of the night. They are having growth spurts and mental development so fast that their calorie needs/intake goes up drastically. This usually last about 2 months. They need food about every 3 hours. This can be 3 meals and 3 snacks or several more smaller meals to maintain a better balance of blood sugar. Not so many ups and downs.

Just make sure he gets enough substantial food and that he has his last food is pretty close to bed time then just be prepared. He is going to be starving in about 3-4 hours again. It will stop once his little body does it's thing.

2 moms found this helpful

I woudl worry about an ear infection - have the doctor check his ears. My kids never had ANY other symptoms other than night waking. Being upright helped and dirinking a bottle helped, but within a coupel hours of laying down again, thery would wake screaming.

1 mom found this helpful

My DD did that right about the same time. With her it was a growth spurt. She was extremely hungry. I would try and give him a snack or feed him right before bed. This is one of those things that will pass. My DD did it for about 2 weeks and then went right back to sleeping through the night.

1 mom found this helpful

Could he be teething? Does he have his molars yet? He could be growing, could have had a bad dream, hard to tell really. I doubt he's hungry. If he's a year and he's been sleeping through the night regularly and he's eating a normal amount each day, I really doubt he's hungry. He probably chugged it down b/c he was upset and you offered it to him.

I would probably make sure he isn't teething or doesn't have a stuffy nose or something else and maybe let him CIO. Go in the first night and reassure him that you're there, but don't pick him up and then stop going in, etc. I'm sure it will only take him a few days to get the hang of it. Sometimes they just wake up and want to party but that is not going to work, so you have to let him know that it's not play time.

1 mom found this helpful

To your point, I don't think this has anything to do with "cry it out" or not. My guess is those nasty molars (and possibly the canines, too). When my daughter (now 17 mos) was just about 12 months, her 12-month molars started coming in at the same time as a couple of her pointy canines and all that totally messed with her sleeping, napping, eating and her general attitude. I found that a dose of infant ibuprofen at bedtime seemed to help her the best--most of the time letting her sleep through most of the night with only a little bit of waking/whining. This lasted less than 2 weeks and then she was back to her normal self. And as the rest of her molars and canines are coming in, we're having to do the same thing.

I hope you're all able to get some rest soon!!

1 mom found this helpful

You can't let him scream for two hours -- GOOD --
but, for some strange reason, you can let him scream for one hour?
Poor thing.
If he has two naps during the day, change to one.
If he has one, make it shorter.
Put him to bed later.
Poor kid.

1 mom found this helpful

have you checked for an ear infection ... my son did the same thing, he processes pain VERY differently ... I would call the doc and get it checked out just to make sure.

1 mom found this helpful

The first two years or so are highly changeable for many babies, probably most. Growth spurts do often make babies hungrier, and I've known babies who are also so preoccupied by all their new developmental abilities during the day (speech, standing or walking, connecting with what's happening around them, etc.), they may not eat as well during daytime feedings and need to make it up at night.

In my informal research, this is virtually always a temporary situation, lasting perhaps a week or a month, and then the pattern changes again. Just when you think you've got it figured out. Sigh. (I would like to add: night waking or reluctance to fall asleep also seems more prevalent in families whose babies are allowed to watch TV, in case you want to evaluate this from another direction.)

I'm guessing that because a big growth spurt often happens right around a year, he is truly hungry. For the past several years, I tend to wake up with hunger cramps, and though I don't lay there and cry, I do lay there and feel miserable and sleepless for a few hours. (Because I have early type 2 diabetes, my blood glucose situation is pretty volatile, but I don't want to eat at night for health reasons.)

Babies don't will themselves to wake at night – like parents, they would prefer to sleep if they can. Chances are good that in a week or three, your son's nighttime hunger will fade, and he'll be sleeping through again. I don't think you'll create a new habit by feeding him when he expresses hunger – I have yet to see that happen. And I've inquired with open-minded curiosity into the experiences of many, many families with young children.

One last thought – this doesn't sound like night terrors, because you are able to interact with your son and he accepts and is comforted by the bottle. If it were classic night terrors, he'd be acting dustressed but dazed or unaware of your presence, inconsolable, and not at all interested in eating.

1 mom found this helpful

Does he recognize you are there? Are you able to calm him at all? If not, it could also be night terrors. My daughter had those when she was younger. She would cry and cry and cry. I couldn't get her to stop. She wouldn't talk to me. She acted like she was in a daze. When she would wake in the morning, I would ask what was wrong. She would be like "What are you talking about?" I asked the doctor and they told me night terrors. They said the best thing to do is to let them cry it out and ignore them. You can try to comfort them, but that can make it worse sometimes. I am not sure if this is his problem, but thought I would try to help! If it continues, check with the doctor!

1 mom found this helpful

I have found with my babies that unusual waking in the night may be due to teething. My 9 month old boy has 5 teeth already and last week woke me up twice in the middle of night because he is getting in #6. I ended up putting orajel on the area and feeding him a bottle also. Maybe just check your little guy's mouth, to see if he has any teeth ready to sprout. Sometimes the way they behave with one tooth is not how they act with others that come in. Or perhaps he is too hot or cold? Also with us running the heater now, babies little noses can get dried out and/or cause conjestion, just like with adults. Maybe put some vaseline with a q-tip in his nose before bed if you think that is a problem. BTW, even if he does wake up his brother, his sibling will get used to it and learn to ignore it. My 2 yr old and 3 yr old daughters share a room and have adapted to the 'other' waking up and crying. You will always know your baby best! :)

1 mom found this helpful

probably in severe pain from his molars. poor kid

It could be his teeth. My daughters had this problem as well. My son never did but the girls did. I would give them tylenol and then they would go back to sleep.

It is so hard to tell with little ones. You may want to switch to water instead of formula. The only reason is formula has sugars in it and your little one's teeth will be exposed to it.

Take care

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