11 answers

21 Month Old That Just Started Waking up at Night

My baby has always been a good sleeper, at least since he was 2 months old and when he isn't sick. For about 10 days now, he has been waking up around 3:30am crying for him Mommy or Daddy. I am guessing he is having nightmares. Daddy will usually get him, take him to the couch and fall asleep together for about an hour (because Daddy can sleep through anythign and Mommy is a very light sleeper!) I hate to hear him upset at night however I am concerned this is becoming a habit. Last night I tried to console him by patting his back and that did not work. I then let him cry it out which took over an hour... and just broke my heart.

Any advice on how to handle this new problem?

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

He may have molars coming in also that are bothering him. My 28 month old s getting his final two molars in right now and has been a bit extra cranky and will wake up more often. He has always been a light sleeper though. Good luck.

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My daughter is 20 months and was doing the same thing. It started when she was sick so we would put her in bed with us...big mistake. It became a habit so we had to go back to the cry it out method for a few nights. It sounds like he is enjoying the time with dad and it's becoming a habit now.

My son started having night terrors about this time when he was little. He would scream and wouldn't even recognize me at first when I would pick him up and he would panic. All you can do is hold him and walk with him or hold him sitting until he gets through it enough to feel safe enough to crash back out. This should be pretty temporary, maybe a few weeks (months?) and has something to do with neurological development (their becoming more aware of their not being the center of the world and it apparently is a hard adjustment psychologically sometimes. Just ride it out as best you can.

Hi J.,

Little ones waking up crying is hard. It could be nightmares. Have you had him checked for an ear infection? When my little girl woke up crying it was usually an ear infection. She never had fever and was not a big eater on a good day so it was hard to tell sometimes. Also, my oldest child would wake up crying. She had night terrors. She would sit up in bed and cry with a wide eyed glare. We could not console her. She was still asleep. We helped her lay down and told her it was just a dream and rubbed her back until she went to sleep.

Hope this helps.

Try putting an article of clothing close to him, he will smell your sent and assume you are there with him.

My now 3yr old did that too. She was a perfect sleeper at birth, then at about 16 months old, woke up and cried. We would just get her back to sleep (which was pretty easy) then she was fine. She didn't stop doing this until almost 3 yrs old. Sorry to say that--I hope yours doesn't do this that long. I do think it's normal for some kids and they go through little phases. Good Luck!!

Have you checked to see if he might be teething? Try giving a little Tylenol or teething tablets before bedtime. He might be gettin his two year molars early.

Mine is the same age and has also started doing this recently. His dad will also go in there and calm him down. They are at a phase of change and excitement, sleeping often becomes disrupted during times of developmental milestones. It will pass.

I am having the same problem. My sweet baby boy is 20 months and waking up around 3:00am every night. Last night he was in the corner of his crib sitting up just screaming like he was frightened. I am looking for a solution too!

He may have molars coming in also that are bothering him. My 28 month old s getting his final two molars in right now and has been a bit extra cranky and will wake up more often. He has always been a light sleeper though. Good luck.

My little girl just turned 2, & we are still having that problem. Once she started sleeping through the night, she did great. Then around 18-20 months, she started waking up crying. She would not be hungry, dirty, or sick. As soon as my husband or I walk into her room, she is fine. She still does this 2-3 nights a week. We have tried letting her cry it out...that rarely works. Sorry I don't have much advice. Just wanted to let you know that we are dealing with it too.

My 23 month old just started waking up in the middle of the night as well. He has always been a very good sleeper as well, so it was very strange. We assumed it had to do with him switching from his crib to his toddler bed. He would wake up, come to our room ready to play or just confused. My husband would just turn him around and he would run to his room, crawl into bed. However, my husband would just lay on the floor and fall asleep, so then my son got used to waking up to him every morning. That became a habit for about a month, we then decided to just shut his door. This was very difficult for me. the first night he cried off and on for about 45 minutes, I could hear him at his door, then he'd go back to his bed, back to the door and so on. The first night, my husband went in to his room, put him back in bed and closed the door. My son went back to bed, would wake up every now and then and give a little cry, but not for long. Each night has gotten easier. We've been doing this for a week now. He is still waking up, but he just gives a little cry for about 10 seconds and he's back to sleep. So, as long as we are sticking to our guns, it seems to be working. Hope this helps!

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