October 09, 2008,
N.S. asks from Marengo, IL on October 08, 2008
14 Month Old Suddenly Waking in the Middle of the Night Wide Awake
My 14 month old daughter was sleeping through the night beautifully from about 8 or 8:30 pm to about 7 to 7:30 am with approximately a 2 hour nap during the day. Suddenly in the past week or two, she is waking up between 2:30 and 3:30 wide awake. She doesn't want a bottle (which I wouldn't give her anyway), she has a dry diaper. As long as she is held or out of her crib, she is happy. As soon as we try to put her back into her crib, she screams. We have done the cry it out bit and when she is tired, will cry for about a minute and go back to sleep. The other morning she was up from 2:30 am to 6:30 am! She isn't getting any teeth that we can see and she is usually pretty crabby when she is teething. But I do not know what could be causing this. She'll sleep through one night and the next night will be bright eyed in the middle of the night. Has anybody been through this and might possibly know what it is? So far, she has not woken my other daughter at night yet which is good but me & my husband are not getting much sleep either. Please help!
C.S. answers from Chicago on October 08, 2008
We went through a similar issue and the doctor said it could be nightmares. She also said Ava had to learn to deal with them on her own. If she woke up in the middle of the night we were to wait 15 minutes before going in to check on her. Most nights before she reached the 15 minute mark she quieted down and fell back to sleep. Rarely she cried beyond that time. I'd go in and hug her, sing to her, or rub her tummy/back...all without lifting her from her bed. It is key that she still was in her sleeping space. I never stayed longer than five minutes. I always said, "it's sleeping time." Then I'd leave and try another 15 minutes. It may take a few nights, but if your daughter was able to sleep through the night before, she can get back in the habit now. Good luck.
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B.Z. answers from Chicago on October 08, 2008
A developmental explanation is that your daughter's separation anxiety is in full effect and her imagination is increasing. She is seeking your security and safety, which is why she is fine until you try to get her back into her crib.
It may be a good time to switch things up. Get her a picture of you for her crib (i.e. a teddy bear that has a space for a picture), play soothing music all night, stay with her until she falls back asleep, take off her socks and massage her feet, whatever. Reinforce that the crib is a pleasant place to be and you want her to sleep in it.
I agree with the previous post about keeping her in her crib. Once she's out, she relies on you 100% for comfort. This isn't entirely a bad thing, but it can be exhausting for you. The sides of a crib are psychologically a security for her. Of course, YOU are more of a security to her, but it sounds like you want to reinforce that the crib be her security.
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R.S. answers from Chicago on October 09, 2008
My son was hungry at that age. I gave him yogurt before going to bed (about an hour before) and that helped. The hunger could be waking her up (even though you said she doesn't want a bottle). Something to try.
Developmentally, she is going through separation anxiety. She thinks you're dead when you're out of sight, so crying it out in a dark room may not help.
Maybe a bed in your room might help.
K.E. answers from Chicago on October 09, 2008
This might be a stupid question but, is she learning to walk? If she is, it could interrupt her sleep. If she's been walking a while, ditto on the previous posts. I'd suggest trying to get her to sleep closer to 7:00. It might seem WAY early to some but in my unscientific observations, I think most toddlers are ready for bed around 7/7:30. Hopefully it's not nightmares. I don't really subscribe to the "let the kid cope with the nightmare on their own" philosophy. They need you to help them through it. Nightmares are very real to 1 year olds!
M.H. answers from Chicago on October 09, 2008
My daugher will be 3 and still does that. For her it is dreams and nightmares.
G.H. answers from Chicago on October 09, 2008
Hopefully it's something simple like she's not requiring as much sleep anymore or not getting enough exercise (activity) during the day. Some may disagree with me but I would try waking her gently from the afternoon nap after an hour. That may make her tired enough to make it thru the night. A nice warm bath before bed also relaxes the muscles and tires the body (for both of you). Good luck.
D.R. answers from Chicago on October 09, 2008
This happened to me when my daughter was 2 1/2 years old. After about a month and a half of this we thought maybe she is getting too much sleep, so we cut out the 2 hr naps during the day...she slept through the night. We kept on the schedule and only gave her naps when she seemed irritable or went to bed late , got up early, etc. It seems 14 months is too little for no nap, but I have heard (and know a few) who have gotten rid of their naps by 18 months. Check with your pediatrician to make sure it is OK, but our daughter was doing the exact same thing - she wasn't tired, she was bored so she would wake us up to "hang out" with us. Good luck!
B.N. answers from Chicago on October 09, 2008
Our son did the same thing at about 15 months! We eventually went to see a pediatric sleep specialist in the Chicago area (Dr. Weissbluth) and he told us that our son was waking because he was overtired. He instructed us to wake our son at 7am in the morning, allow him to nap from 12-2pm, and then put him to bed at 5:30pm!! It took about a month of sticking to the schedule, but it worked!! He stopped waking at night. I know it's the opposite of what you'd think, but an earlier bedtime was the answer for us! Good luck!