Toddler Waking up in the Middle of the Night, Screaming and Crying! Ugh!

Updated on October 27, 2006
A.L. asks from Overland Park, KS
5 answers

For the past two weeks, my (17 month old) son has been waking up in the middle of the night. He cries and screams and shakes his crib until my husband or I go to get him. I have tried to let him sooth himself however, that doesn't work. Yes, he is getting tons of teeth in however, I don't think that is the issue. We tried weaning him off of his morning nap to encourage night sleeping however, that backfired. What he wants is to be picked up and carried to our room to sleep. Out of pure exhaustion, I have done that a few times.......but do not want to get into that habit!! I am starting to wonder if he is all the sudden scared of something in his room!? The twist is, he has never really had sleeping problems before. Any feedback would be appreciated!

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So What Happened?

Thank you for all of the feedback. We do have a glider in his room, so we are going to start rocking him in the glider when he wakes up, to calm him. It could be separation anxiety or a bad dream (one wonders what the heck could be bad in his life, to dream about!?). We really want to try to avoid co-sleeping, since he has gone this long without it. I don't want to start a habit that will take forever to break.

More Answers



answers from Oklahoma City on

My two-year old has just started this over the past few nights. She wakes up sreaming. Then when we go in to check on her she doesn't want to be held or anything. All we can do is pat her back and tell her she has to go night night. I have started giving her a glow worm she finds it calming and giggles when it plays. She will hit it two or three times and she is back to sleep. We have it in her crib all the time, but she doesn't seem to find it till one of us goes in and pushes it for her and puts it next to her face. Then she is happy and sleeps the rest of the night.



answers from Joplin on

Keep in mind that he could be having night terrors or an issue that he can't tell you about. I have three kids and used to be so against co-sleeping...but you know what, they grow up and away and they won't want you to cuddle them forever. So take this as a chance to hold him tight and whisper in his ear that you are there. I think around his age many new issues arise with separation anxiety and just an overwhelming feeling of how much he needs you. It will start to wane about the age of two when he can tell you in short sentences how he feels and express his emotions in words rather than crying and smiling. I think a rocking chair or recliner in the baby's room is a good idea because you can rock them for comfort without giving up the serenity of your bed. :-)



answers from St. Louis on

I would take him back to bed with you to sleep. Poor guy, he sounds scared by himself. Having my bed to myself (or me & DH) for the first half of the night is plenty; after that I don't mind company at all. He'll outgrow wanting to sleep with you.



answers from Kansas City on


I have gone through that a first. DO NOT COSLEEP! You will start an addiction and all of a sudden your bed is no longer yours. My bed is my sanctuary! He is cutting teeth! That will wake him up. You can get orajel for night soreness! That should help! He isn't scared of his room. Rock him for a couple of minutes in his room and get him back into a rim sleep and put him to bed and leave him! I promise he will go back to sleep! Good Luck sweetie and I will see you Friday!



answers from Tulsa on

A couple of thoughts ... First, just when you think you know them, they change on you. That doesn't end for a long while! Second, I know you don't want to start a habit, but some kiddos just need to be held until they get to sleep - he'll outgrow it, but if that is what he needs now, well, you have to choose your battles carefully. My toddler decided about that same age that she needed to be held to go to sleep for a nap, and giving into that at naptime (usually takes less than 15 minutes) made her more willing to go to sleep on her own at bedtime. Could you hold him in his room, even sitting on his bed, so you don't have to lug him to bed?

Also, if he's teething, get him some Hyland's Homeopathic Teething Tablets about 15 minutes before bed - I've NEVER known them not to soothe a cranky teether.

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