17 answers

6 Month Old Cries at Every Nap/Bedtime

Okay, I am not a new mom, so I thought I knew how it goes with babies and sleep, but this one is throwing me a curve ball. We use the cry it out method (please, I know there are alternatives, but none of them worked for him), and it worked great. He was going down for naps and bedtime with no crying, sleeping long and well, waking happy. And actually, last night was the first time he only ate once at 2:45 a.m. But for the last few weeks, he cries EVERY time I put him down for sleep, and it's breaking my heart. I am okay with the idea of letting them cry to learn to sleep alone (we check on him every few minutes when he's upset), but with my first son, the crying stopped after about a week. I'm not sure I'm okay with him crying every time (5-30 minutes). Does anyone have any advice? Is this normal? He still takes nice long naps and wakes happy. Other factors: he is definitely teething. I give Motrin as often as recommended. He has a lovey. He is very mobile. We have a good nap and bedtime routine that we always stick to. I watch the clock and his tired signs and do not keep him up too long. He stays home with me. He's not hungry when I put him down. I'm not sure I'm helping him wind down very well. He doesn't really like books, and my 2.5 year old often is rambunctious and crazy while we're trying to wind down at nap time. Don't know what to do about that. Any advice, please!

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Everyone, thank you for all of your responses. I really want to do what is best for him, and I do hate that he cries each time. I think there are a few things going on: 1) he can be awake longer now that he is older, so sometimes I am putting him down too early. 2) he is really teething pretty badly, and I am going to get some tylenol today so I can give something every three hours if needed. I also got some of the Hyland's teething tablets. 3) I bet having a big brother around makes him want to stay up and play. Soon they will be sharing a room--who knows how that will work out!

For those who suggested cosleeping or rocking him to sleep, I used to do both, but at about four months, he just wanted to play in bed with me, and suddenly rocking didn't work anymore. I would hold him, and he would writhe and scream. Very upsetting for both of us. He has always cried a lot; my first baby did not. I think part of it is personality, and I feel like he gets lots of good sleep, so I guess a few tears are worth it. I just want to minimize them if I can, you know?

Featured Answers

My first born cried all the time. Being a new mom I thought I had to get her to sleep in her own room... after all I did just decorate it for her. One night I finally gave up. My husband was deployed and I was exhausted, so I brought her into my bed. I haven't looked back since. I have two girls 4 and 2, and I have co slept with both of them. The 4 year old has transitioned into her own bed just fine, and now the 2 year old is starting to like her bed too. After I made the decision to co sleep everyone slept better, and my girls never cry to go to bed, in fact they like to go to bed now. I know co sleeping is a touchy subject with moms, but I love it and highly suggest doing some research to see if maybe it could work for you too. Dr. Sears has a lot of great information. Good luck!

3 moms found this helpful

My little guy has been "crying it out" for 6 months now. He cries himself to sleep for every nap and occasionly for bed. I spoke with my doc about it and he says that some kids just resist sleep and might cry it out for a long while. My baby always wakes up happy, so I stopped worrying. Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful

More Answers

okey, dokey....here's the deal: if it's bothering you, & since you are in charge of your own child.....do "what" feels best for you & your son. Forget what worked with your other child, forget what everybody recommends, ......just do what feels best. & if this means rocking your baby to sleep & then transferring to the bed....then do it! If you really want him to self-soothe & fall asleep on his own, then do it. As long as he's not harmed & kept emotionally/physically safe, then the method used is your choice....not our opinions.
With my oldest son, he NEVER/EVER fell asleep on his own...for the 1st year or longer! & woke crying as soon as we laid him in his bed...what a challenge! With our youngest, by 10 months, he was on his own & did not require rocking each night. Every child is different...& some children can self-soothe to sleep by 2 months or earlier. We were never that lucky, but it did not harm any of us...it simply meant more one-on-one time! Good Luck.

3 moms found this helpful

My first born cried all the time. Being a new mom I thought I had to get her to sleep in her own room... after all I did just decorate it for her. One night I finally gave up. My husband was deployed and I was exhausted, so I brought her into my bed. I haven't looked back since. I have two girls 4 and 2, and I have co slept with both of them. The 4 year old has transitioned into her own bed just fine, and now the 2 year old is starting to like her bed too. After I made the decision to co sleep everyone slept better, and my girls never cry to go to bed, in fact they like to go to bed now. I know co sleeping is a touchy subject with moms, but I love it and highly suggest doing some research to see if maybe it could work for you too. Dr. Sears has a lot of great information. Good luck!

3 moms found this helpful

My little guy has been "crying it out" for 6 months now. He cries himself to sleep for every nap and occasionly for bed. I spoke with my doc about it and he says that some kids just resist sleep and might cry it out for a long while. My baby always wakes up happy, so I stopped worrying. Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful

My first Grandson is just a bit younger than your little one...he was born Dec 11th...and his Mom is reporting that she is going through the same struggles with him right now. She has told me that he will no longer nap when they are anywhere but at home...and it is very difficult for her to nurse him if there is ANY activity going on around him at all. I think this age is just so durned interesting for them that they don't want to miss a thing. You have the added distraction of big brother in the house, so your baby has another reason not to give up and go to sleep. It is not possible to separate yourself from the toddler long enough to get the baby settled down so you may need to settle them BOTH down with some quiet activities..does your toddler like to be read to??? That would be something quiet that you could use to get everyone simmered down. How would a nice warm bath do....or bedtime right after everyone has eaten?? Good luck...and remember...this too shall pass!!!
R. Ann

2 moms found this helpful

He may just be in pain its why he is waking, you can always try the Hylands Teething Tablets (can be found at walgreens or walmart), they are homepathic and dissolve in the mouth and work wonders.

1 mom found this helpful

Babies are change artists. Just when you think you have something figured out they change. There are many reasons. They go through teething at various ages. They also go through growth spurts where they are legitimately hungry. On top of that they simply go through a stage where even though they may be able to roll or crawl, they still can't just get up and run around and boredom sets in easily. It's a big scary world that they have no personal control over. So they get scared and need comfort or maybe they just love being held by mommy. They can't tell time. So just because it's dark outside they aren't going to just sleep through the night just because they have for a few weeks. Your baby hasn't been alive long enough to have habits or to have learned how things ought to be.

Only you can choose to use the cry out method or get up with them. Obviously, if you go to them every time they open their peepers they will get used to that and have you running to them anytime it suits them. I guess I fall someplace between the 2 extremes. I believe that if there is no doubt they are tired, not hungry, not wet, not sick and they have had plenty of snuggling for the day, then letting them cry it out is ok. But this is a big list of things that need to be carefully monitored. It greatly distresses me to see so many moms.. and I don't mean you in particular... But in general it seems that so many moms are determined to get their own say with their children come hell or high water. But life isn't so black and white. Maybe I give in too much with my children. But it's easy in this world to feel unloved and neglected or just misunderstood and it starts when they are young.

S.

1 mom found this helpful

you said this has lasted the last few WEEKS...that seems to be a long time if he was "testing" you...i think it'd be breaking my heart by now too. you know, it might be that he's just not ready to go to sleep, and after this long, it might just be habit to cry for awhile, maybe. i have no idea lol. you didn't mention what his nap schedule is, but maybe he's getting to a phase where he doesn't need to sleep as much as you think? it might also just be that he loves his brother (the only person close to his size) and doesn't want to miss anything. just some thoughts. good luck, and hang in there. OH you know what you could do, get a video monitor for his sleeping area. it helped ease my mind a lot. good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Is it possible that he has an ear infection? That is generally one of the only ways that we were able to tell with our daughter because she would not give us any other clues. I was hesitant to write this because it seems that once he went to sleep that he did not wake up a lot, but I thought that I would throw it out there.

1 mom found this helpful

It has been a long time for me to have to deal with babies, but after reading your message I just had a feeling that it might be heartburn. I know babies get it too. Have you tried letting him sleep more upright? It might be that you have to rock him to get him halfway there first or he could be too active to sleep upright. I remember at this age with changing foods & such, that this could be a problem. You know your child & will figure out what is best. I just had to respond since no one else had mentioned it yet.

1 mom found this helpful

Give him a bath and children's stories on tape or music. I had a tape I played at bedtime and they both went to sleep to lullbies and stories. Let him skip and nap and see how he does at bedtime. My second daughter would fight nap time but would put herself to be at 8 pm. Had to put a matress on the floor so she wouldn't climb her baby bed. She was my climber. Didn't crawl,but at 9 months she started climbing the bookcases. My oldest wouldn't nap or sleep because she didn't want to miss out on anything so I would lay down with her. If the house was quiet she would nap or go to bed on time,if not she would stay up half the night. I would go to the basement to keep the peace. Got the laundry done,sew then later mop the floors and vacumm after they had been to sleep for a few hours (at night).

1 mom found this helpful

give him tylenol as well, he can have it every 4 hrs and the motrin every 6, so he can have something every 3 hours if you keep them on a schedule. is there something IN his bed that could be bothering him? something in the sheets that's irritating him, maybe? good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

It sounds to me like you are very sensitive to what is going on with your son and all the possibilities that may be causing this issue. I would say this is normal in the sense that sometimes our kids do things that frustrate us to no end and make us feel helpless as parents--especially at this stage when they don't know how to communicate with us in a way we readily understand.

The only clue I might pick out of your description for further exploration is that you said you are not sure you are helping him wind down well. If you don't already have one, maybe a bedtime routine that involves quiet activities such as reading (even if only big brother will listen to stories, it will keep him less rowdy as baby is preparing for bed)dimming the lights, rocking, singing, or cuddling. I have read and seen the evidence that playing active, loud or rough-and-tumble games within a half hour before bed is counteractive to babies settling down to sleep. Physiologically, dimming the lights is another cue for the body to wind down.

After much trial and crying, we finally got our youngest son (now 21 months) to fall asleep on his own in the crib. He still frequently cries for 5-10 minutes (which feels longer than it is) but we have learned that it is part of how he soothes himself to sleep. Often I'll peek in and he'll be crying still, but is already curled up on his tummy ready to snooze.

1 mom found this helpful

Yes. It's normal. It's a personality thing. I had one that did that too. As long as you are sure nothing hurts, don't worry about it, he is just voicing his opinion. He'll do that about a lot of things as he grows up ! LOL !

1 mom found this helpful

Hey A.,

You have a lot of responses and possible suggestions/solutions, but the only thing I can offer is that my baby did that too when she was teething. She was a great sleeper, didn't fuss at all when we put her down and then one day it all changed! She would fuss and cry and everything! (and it is totally heartbreaking!!) She is now back on track and one day she just made the switch back to her "normal" routine. During the teething times I just held her a little longer or gave her meds just before nap/bed time. Someone suggested homeopathic teething tablets and I think they're pretty great too! You can also combine them with the Motrin or Tylenol with no side affects, which came in handy if I needed a double dose of something before the time elapsed for another Motrin. Good luck! Sometimes you just never know what is going on and most likely it will return to normal eventually!

1 mom found this helpful

Remember: babies don't cry for no reason at all. Sometimes, as obvious as it may sound, babies just need their mommies! Try laying down with him and then transferring him to his crib once he's asleep. These phases don't last forever. If his crying is breaking your heart, then there is some instinct within you that is saying "this isn't right." Whatever you choose to do, make sure it is something you can live with and feel good about.

1 mom found this helpful

For us personally Emme went through a "testing" phase where she would occasionally see if we'd give in. We just let her cry it out, and sure, sometimes it took a while, but she got it.

If it's any consolation, we have a 7 week old that can cry for 45 minutes+ sometimes. We just have to let her cry every now and then though...Oh great, here come the mean messages! ;)

I am not sure, but from your letter it sounded like he just started this crying every night at bedtime. You might have his ears checked. It seems like when they get sick, it is always worse at night. My second baby does the following each and every time he teeths: first, his nose runs. That backs up into his sinuses and then down his throat it goes. That causes his tummy to get upset and an onset of really loose stools. Then, if I am not very careful, the fluid builds in his ears and he is screaming at the top of his lungs at bedtime due to the sudden onset of an ear infection. You already sound like you know when he is crying in pain, hunger, exhaustion, and etc (one of the nice perks of the cry it out method - you actually pay attention to the different types of cries your baby has). So, I would have his little ears checked if he sounds in pain. My doctor said that the pressure is more severe when they are laying down and that it is a pain that motrin can't knock out. Just a thought - i hope it isn't the case.

Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.