2Yr Old Always Asking to Be Picked up All Day and into the Night!

Updated on March 05, 2009
T.D. asks from Lewes, DE
11 answers

My 2 yr old son has been waking up every couple of hours throughout the night crying. He won't stop either unless I pick him up and rock him back to sleep. or just rock him for a bit and put him down. He had always slept through the night.
It started when he had been sick so I went in their room to tend to him. But I think now it is a bad habit. He sleeps in the same room as his twin sister. I used to go in to rock him every time, to avoid him waking her up too. But then he started waking up more often.
I even put my daughter in a pack n play in my room, so he could "cry it out" alone. I would go in when he first cries, make sure he is not wet or w/ a temp, then rub his back and leave.
He throws a fit b/c he wants me to pick him up. So I thought that I would just let him cry himself to sleep. ok, an hour later, w/ no voice left, he still is screaming for me.
so at that point I go in and rock him. But I always wait an hour. (I always make sure he is ok first, and don't pick him up) He gets congested sometimes and won't sleep propped up on a pillow, like my daughter will.

He wakes up less frequently now, but I am still working on it and haven't given it enough time. Just 3 days so far. I would love any comments or any other advice or ideas if this doesn't work. it kills me to let him cry that long, but then he will just keep waking up and more frequently. Plus, I am exhausted.
Now my daughter loves the fact that "her bed" is in my room. Not looking forward to breaking that either. But she does still take naps in her crib in their room, so it might not be that bad.

What can I do next?

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So What Happened?

I want to thank all of you wonderful moms who cared enough about someone else to give your great advice. Later after typing my request, I read in the book, "healthy sleep habits Happy child," all of the things that you all suggested. For ex: the doctor suggested that I can rock him to sleep as long as I felt like it, but once I put him back down for the night, I could not go in at all. B/c he would know that if he cries for an hour I will eventually come in. It did say that If I had to go in (he wet himself) to be very unemotional and robotic without saying anything, change and leave.,
So I tried this for 2 nights. He cried an hour and a half the first night, then only 15 min the next. Yeah, It might be working. I agree with putting my daughter back in the room so she doesn't get attached to sleeping with us. (I don't need another issue to deal with, haha)
For those of you who suggested bringing him in bed with me, sounds great, but he refuses, hates it. I guess that could be a good thing. lol
I am hoping it won't take long for him to realize that there will be no "night time entertainment" and fall asleep again. Thanks again, and I will keep you all posted. Keep your fingers crossed.

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answers from Erie on

Stick to it. The EXACT same thing happened to one of my twins when he got sick at about two years of age. The little guy who was once a wonderful sleeper started to wake up because he had a fever and felt miserable. However, it took me a while to realize that he was feeling better but was now spoiled - he knew I'd come in to make it all better :) It was really tough for a couple of weeks, but I knew that crying it out was the way to go because he had previously been a good sleeper and there wasn't anything else wrong with him. By the way, his brother became an excellent sleeper through this debacle - I left him in the same room, so nothing wakes him still . . .

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answers from Philadelphia on

After my 2 year old was sick he started doing the samething. So I had my husband go in and tell him to go back to sleep. This way he saw someone come it but it is not mommy who he has trained to pick him up. You could try this on the weekend so your husband then could sleep in.

Good luck. Those two year olds are smart.


answers from Williamsport on

You've done a great job making an effort in a very hard exhausting situation. Unfortunately, you've trained him to cry for an hour! Cry it out only works if you don't give in, and they have to sooth themselves to sleep. If you give in eventually, they have learned how long they need to cry before you'll come in! This will be very hard to break now, because you know he will cry for at least an hour, and he goes until his cords are raw. But your only alternative to letting him cry for...two hours until he falls asleep,?, is to sooth him, which makes your life sleep deprived and doesn't enable him to learn to sleep securely on his own. I would personally let him cry it out, with a very definite new message that he must sleep all by himself. Maybe a new set of sheets or super special bedtime routine with the advance warning all day that "tonight, you will sleep all by yourself like a big big boy". Now matter how hard the night is, let him cry, and give him big praises in the morning for getting through the night by himself. This could go on a week or so, but probably not longer. If you can't do it, and you're going to sooth him, sooth him sooner, don't teach him to cry that long to get his way. Good luck!



answers from Philadelphia on

You know, I think the boy has you pegged! He knows that you are coming in to get him so he just keeps on getting up. Even if you wait an hour, he knows your coming. You just have to let him go until he goes back to sleep on his own. I understand your concern about him waking up his sister though. Were you going to consider seperating them anyway in the future? Now might be the time to do it.
My oldest son and infant son share a room and recently after being sick the baby went through this and luckily I was able to send my oldest to Mom Mom's for a weekend and by the time he came back the wake up's weren't enough to wake him as well. Good Luck to you.



answers from Erie on

I'm sure you'll get lots of advice on this one. I can't tell you what to do. But i will admit what i did. I couldn't stand the CIO and my daughter was a vomiter. Cry so hard she puked, so not only was i exhausted, upset and now cleaning up vomit. And then if she woke up her brother i was really screwed.
I took a sleeping bag into her room and slept on her floor. I think i probably had to hold her hand at first and then moved on to just laying on the floor next to her and eventually like a week at a time inched my way out the door. sometimes i would wake up and go back to my own bed, sometimes she would wake up and it would set us back if she found me gone.
They do go in spurts where they get sick and regress. since she was about 3yrs she has been sleeping fine. So while it seems like things will never change, keep in mind that you will survive this stage.
I'm sure this won't work for everyone, but thought I would offer it as a suggestion for you if you are desperate.
Also you might want to make sure you have a consistent wake time and try adjusting bed time either forward or backwards by 15 mins at a time.



answers from Pittsburgh on

Unfortunately, I think he's just about got you trained! :-)
Any chance that you can send your daughter to a grandparent's house for a few nights so you can at least eliminate the "wake up factor" while you deal with this? Plan it in advance.
You could try (with her not in the room) going in & patting, comforting but NO talking or picking him up. Do it 10 minutes, then wait 20 min, etc and keep repeating. I could never really stand it like for the O. hour super snot and no voice phase.
Do you platy music in their room at night for them? I always used a lullaby CD on "repeat" all night and I think it was comforting to my son if he would wake up in the middle of the night. That might help.
Why do you think he is waking up? Is it a certain noise? The furnace maybe? A garage door at a certain time? Can you see any patterns.
Make sure his tummy is full before bedtime.
Good luck.



answers from Harrisburg on


He is old enough that this shouldn't be happening. Have you tried reasoning with him? Not at night...but at a calm time during the day. Can you give him a special treat in the morning if he makes it through the night? (maybe some extra time with you or something else he might enjoy...a sticker...small toy etc.) Maybe you could create some type of sticker chart that after a certain number of "good nights" he would earn a trip to the toy store? You know what motivates him. If he has some type of incentive not to do this at night and he knows what he can earn...maybe it would help?

Good luck!


answers from Allentown on

Hi T.,

What resources have you used to discovery why your baby is crying so much?

Have you contacted his pediatrician?

Don't let him cry so long. He needs to be soothed when he is crying.

Get some baby massage oil from young living at www.youngliving.org gentle baby

Give him an infant massage. http://www.infantmassageusa.org

I know you are exhausted but get help.

Good luck. All the Best. D.



answers from Philadelphia on

I think it is just a stage and will pass. My 2yr old is doing the same thing after being sick now wakes a few times during the night, cries i console him and he goes back to sleep. It can be frustrating for us but remember he is still a baby. I though maybe it could be night terrors too my daughter had those around this age.



answers from Sharon on

You're doing beautifully, my only advise would be to STICK TO IT! :D



answers from Erie on

I would put your daughter back in her crib, and start your son to bed there as well. When he cries at night, let him come and sleep between you and your husband. He'll feel warm and safe, and you guys can get some sleep. When he starts sleeping longer, he'll stay in his own bed longer again.

I have always been a fan of sleep. So it doesn't bother me to have a child in the middle of the bed unless we end up almost falling out. It means WAY more to me to have a chance at sleeping -- and eventually they stay in their own beds of their own free will. Why stay up rocking half the night? Or listening to him cry?

So, for very selfish reasons, we always let the kids join us in bed. The older they get, the less they join you, but it DOES mean that when there are nightmares, they end up getting up and coming to you, and you don't even have to get out of bed to cuddle and comfort them. ahhhhhhhhhhh

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