9 answers

20 Month Old Cries in His Sleep

My 20 month old son will occassionally cry in his sleep. Sometimes it's just a whimper, but other times he will be crying hard. He's not awake and if I go to his room and rub his back, or put his pacifier in his mouth, he stops. We are going to be breaking the "binky" habit in the next month or so, so I want to find other ways to help him through the night crying. It doesn't happen every night. Sometimes, after a really busy/eventful day, he'll wake up crying at night. I've attributed that to being over-stimulated. But the crying when he's not awake...Has anyone else had experience with this? Is he having nightmares? He quiets down quickly, and I definitely wouldn't call it night terrors - I just want to make sure it's not anything serious.

What can I do next?

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My sister had a son who did this and was described as night terrors. I agree with the other mom who responded, night terrors come in all different levels. He is now 10 and stopped doing this several years ago.

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All my kids have done the little whimpering in their sleep when they were babies. I think it's very normal for all babies to do this.
My friend and I were just talking about how both our girls ages 2 & 3 used to wake up with what I believe were "Night Terrors". They would scream and when you tried to console them they would'nt let you touch them and push you away.I would have to just let her roll around in her crib. It's was a horrible feeling for my husband and I to not be able to help her.
This would last for sometimes a half hour and for now reason what so ever. She was to young to be afraid of anything is this world,so I have no idea what brought it on.
She has not screamed out like this for nearly a year. Neither has my friends baby, so it must be something they outgrow.
It doesnt sound like your child is having night terrors.

My sister had a son who did this and was described as night terrors. I agree with the other mom who responded, night terrors come in all different levels. He is now 10 and stopped doing this several years ago.

My son (now 36 months old) went through that. It is a phase (bad dreams), and will eventually pass. All I could do was console him (i rocked him back to sleep) and we talked about happy things before going to bed. Exhaustion DOES make it worse, but it's a natural part of their development.

Hi D.,
My 2 1/2 year old just did this last night! She has done this about 3 times before. The most recent I remember were after very active days. I just had a baby shower yesterday with a bunch of family, friends & kids, then afterwards had a bunch of family over at the house. The time before was a few months ago, we were staying at my in-laws house, and she had an extremely eventful day. She literally ran around for about 4-5 hours with her cousins!
I try to wake her up, calm her down & then lay her back in her bed. As I said, it has only happened to me a few times, but if it was a nightly event I'd probably let her soothe herself.
I know this doesn't help much, but just wanted to let you know that it has happened in our household also.
~ V.

Hi D.,

Babies can subconsciously recall everything they've ever experienced, even from the womb. You could try taking him to someone experience in EFT (www.emofree.com) or Kinesiology and try to reprogram his subconscious to let go of the negative experiences that may be causing him to recall them when he sleeps. If this seems odd to you, I recommend you do some research on it. Both modalities are very powerful and very effective.

Best of luck to you!

Warm Regards,
G. Van Luven

Hi D.,

I would talk to your pediatrician and see what he/she thinks. My daughter talks/whispers/whines in her sleep but doesn't really cry. Sorry I couldn't be more help!

I wouldn't say that they aren't night terrors. Night terrors come in all different levels. My daughter has them and usually all she does is scream, but she is not awake. Does your child still take naps? On your busy/eventful days, is he getting only a short nap? My daughter's night terrors are directly related to her naps. If she doesn't have a nap, I know she is going to have at least one that night. My older daughter used to have them too, but at the time I didn't know that was what they were. I would just watch and make sure you don't have too many eventful days. Some kids just can't handle the over-stimulation. I know that is hard to do, and sometimes impossible, but just make sure you limit those days.

I would also highly recommend that you read the book, "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child". It's a very easy read and it will teach you about the sleep a child needs at each stage of life.

My son is 4 now, but and still cries out in his sleep. He has done this since he was little. We usually would just let him resettle himself (and usually he wasn't awake). We also would talk about happy and positive things before bedtime and then we played some soft music on a CD for him to fall asleep to. He doesn't do it near as much as he got older.

I havent had this experience but for my son who is 7 now i have a church music cd playing in his room every night it seems to keep him calm. its just nice and soft music sung but kids.
i hope someonething and someone can help you.
good luck

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