15 Month Old Waking at Night

Updated on June 22, 2009
J.A. asks from Sun Prairie, WI
11 answers

My 15 month old son has generally been a pretty good sleeper at night. We did the whole "crying it out" at about 4-5 months and ever since he's been able to put himself to sleep. However, lately he's been waking up at night and just screams. I go in and rock him a little, put him back in his bed thinking he's good to go, but 5 minutes later he's screaming again. I'm worried he's going to "need" me to help him fall back to sleep all the time again. Do I go back to letting him cry it out? Or continue to go and rock him whenever he cries?

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So What Happened?

Thanks for the advice everyone. I did take Peyton to the dr. the other day. Ears looked fine. My guess is he's teething and has a little cold. So we'll just deal with it for now. As a side note... I am a firm believer in letting him cry it out. It worked for us. It's just really hard to do :) (Don't worry, if I know something is wrong I'll snuggle him :))

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answers from St. Cloud on

Probably teething. My kids all did the same at about that age until age 2. I'd give him something to suck on or something to eat and see if that helps. Just know that stages don't last forever.

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answers from La Crosse on

I do believe that is the problem with the 'cry it out method'...the babies do not actually learn to fall asleep on their own with it, rather they learn that there is no reason to cry because nobody cares to respond to their cries after all. So they do not bother crying. Responding to a baby's cries teaches them that the world is a safe place, and that bedtime, whether it be nighttime or naptime, is a safe event and an opportunity for closeness and warmth. However you now are looking at the chance to make a healthy change in your son's sleep practices:) You really need to take this time with your son and teach him that nighttime is a warm and safe time, and by responding to his cries every time he cries, along with some cosleeping, you can undo the damage that the 'cry it out method' caused and with enough reassurance given to him, you can ensure that when he is 4 or 5 years old he will not be crawling into bed with you in the middle of the night every night. Good luck!



answers from Milwaukee on

We started with the cry-it-out method when our son was about 6 months old. This worked well and he did learn to go to sleep on his own.

I can't remember exactly, but somewhere around 18 months our son started waking up again in the middle of the night. We would go in and hold him for a minute and then he'd fall back to sleep --- this was the case for about 6 months (sometimes multiple times a night). My husband and I had a few disagreements about getting up with him, but my rational was that if he went back to sleep then it was better than making a big production and having no one sleep. Also, I think around this age they can start experiencing "night terrors".

Your situation sounds a little different, but I can say from our experience that a little coddeling didn't hurt our son. And he is now 2.5 and RARELY wakes up at night and goes to bed (most nights) without too much fussing.

Good Luck.



answers from Green Bay on

My 16 month old went through this as well a little while back. For a week or two, it definitely seemed to be teething and a dose of Tylonol seemed to do the trick. (Her que on this was the "chewing" on her hand while crying.) Other random times, it seems to be a bad dream and she just needed to be comforted and rocked back to sleep. I generally let her cry for 5 minutes or so before I get up. Most times, she falls back asleep in that time. If not, I check to make sure everything is okay. I figure they are only this age once and I want her to feel secure that mom or dad are here.



answers from Minneapolis on

Could he have an ear infection - that causes pain when he's laying down. If he's stuffed up at all, check the ears for sure.



answers from Madison on

My son, who is 20 months old now, had been doing the same thing. We ended up going to the doctor since he was not sleeping well and acting clingy and found out that he had a sinus infection, which I'm sure was very painful - especially when laying down. Poor guy. My doctor said at this age it is sometimes hard to know when they have these types of infections - but the clingy/cranky baby and waking up constantly sometimes is all you have to go on to know something is wrong. Have you considered that your son might have an ear infection, sinus infection, or some big teeth coming in? Maybe you could try giving him Ibuprofen when he wakes up crying to see if that helps, or if the waking up continues a visit to your doctor might rule out illness.

Good luck, I hope peaceful nights return to your house again soon!



answers from Milwaukee on

Our son is 18 mo and experiencing the same thing. He was sleeping through the night until about 3 weeks ago and is now waking up once or twice. If it's twice usually the first time he just wants a cuddle, but only from mommy-he actually cries until I go in if daddy went in first-which is so rewarding except at 2am right?! If it's only once it's usually around 3-4am and he usually wants a bottle.

At this point we are just going with it-I can't stand to let him cry it out and this way at least everyone is getting sleep.

I say just go with your gut. Sounds like at this age babies seem to start waking up again at night and since they are more aware of their surroundings get scared easier.



answers from Dubuque on

We went through the same thing, but I never used the crying out method. I would go in to make sure nothing was wrong (ex. leaking diaper) and that he had his security items. What we figured out was that he was probably experiencing growing pains or teething and was just uncomfortable and needed some comforting to go back to sleep. I would rub his back and let him know he was ok and after a couple nights, he was fine. My suggestion is to make sure nothing else is wrong that would keep him uncomfortable. Remember that kids also feel pain to some extent and that the only way to express it is to cry. I don't think it will last long:)



answers from Minneapolis on

I agree that this is not happening because you let him cry it out. Crying it out works, and it does not have any long term effects! I have tried the CIO method but personally stuck with responding to my son's cries because listening to him cry was hard on ME, not him. Don't take offense to what people say- there are a lot of people out there who believe their way is the best way ....of course who doesn't think that? ;) Even I think my way is the best way!

Anyway, sounds like he could be teething, could have some kind of infection, could be going through a growth spurt, could have gone through a big development recently, could be having nightmares [doesn't sound like night terrors to me]. I would have him checked out by his doctor to rule out an infection. If you think he could be teething try giving him ibprophen before bed to see if it helps. As far as him crying, I would get up with him and rock him until he stops waking up crying, and whatever is causing this has subsided. Give it a week [assuming this is not due to an infection]. And then let him go back to crying it out



answers from St. Cloud on

Hi J.! I do NOT believe that this is caused by you having your baby cry it out. I get so irritated when people blame the worlds problems on babys sleeping in their own beds.
Most likely your baby has an ear infection or is teething. It's very painful to lay down when these things are happening. You are doing the right thing by comforting him through this time!



answers from Rochester on

I have 2 kids thus far. From my expierance when a tot wakes up crying in the middle of the night it's because they are sick. Take him to the Dr.'s first. If he is just fine then by all means let him cry. He is 15 months old and knows exactly what he is doing. good luck!

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