Why suddenly is my 18 month old having trouble sleeping?

Dawn - posted on 01/02/2010 ( 33 moms have responded )

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My 18 month old daugther has always been a good sleeper now all of a sudden she is having trouble, she wakes in the middle of the night screaming and it takes me 20 mins to calm her. After she does not want to go back to sleep I've tried everything. I think she may be having nightmares but I don't know what to do to help her.

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Alex - posted on 09/22/2012

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My 17 m/o son won't go to bed, even though he takes naps fine. He will scream and scream until he pukes and we have to get him up and give him a bath again and all. We have kept a strict 8 oclock bedtime since he started sleeping regularly. We have also recently moved, and it started around the time we moved in. My finacee is at her wits end, and so am I. What do we do?

Jennifer - posted on 01/12/2010

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my 18 month old has started having trouble sleeping as well, i have been wondering if part of it is he spends 7 days at my house and 7 days at his dads house. but sometimes he just wakes up screaming like hes really really hurt. sometimes he crys and within 10 mins falls back asleep but other times he wont go back to sleep until i go in and try to calm him down. when he does wake during the night i feel like theres nothing i can do to help him. i hope he is going to out grow this, and i hope he isnt having night terrors or nightmares.

Amber - posted on 01/21/2010

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My 19 month old daughter started doing the same thing recently. I think she is having bad dreams. It usually takes me an hour to calm her down and, then she doesn't want to go back in her bed. Any advise would be helpful since it seems lots of us moms have the same issue.

Megan - posted on 01/21/2010

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Since your 18 month old is having trouble sleeping you should try laying down with her when she wakes up with no lights on... And tell her to go back night night. Don't let her get her way... I did this with my daughter and it works. I wasnt mean just made sure she listened and knew when it was time for bed not play time.

Jennifer - posted on 01/18/2010

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My son started doing this too last week. Turns out he had an ear infection and I think he is teething. I sat with him in the rocker and just talked to him (my singing voice is not fun for anyone to hear), telling him nice things about the previous day or the day ahead. Anything really, as long as it's happy words he recognizes. I guess if he was having a nightmare I was able to help him get happier thoughts into his head. Good luck with your 18 month old having trouble sleeping!

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Jameria - posted on 03/17/2014

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My 16 month old son is still on bottles and wakes up in the middle of once or twice and wont go back to sleep until he has milk in a bottle.My other 3 children were off bottles when they turned 12 months Is this normal? How can i break it?

Amanda - posted on 09/22/2012

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Alex:



Do you have any items that he can have in his crib to remind him of the place you moved from? Also, she can try to the "Nanny" suggestion. She recommends your wife (or you) sit down at the corner of the crib, back towards the crib, and sit there until he falls asleep. That way he feels comfortable knowing you're within range. Don't move away from the crib, don't turn around and talk to him or anything until he falls asleep. If you start moving, he'll think you're leaving him. It may take an hour or two or three the first night, but then it should start dwendling down and he should start going to sleep on his own. This way, he won't get so upset and vomit! I have a vomitter too.

Sharon - posted on 08/21/2012

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My 15 month old won't sleep he screams when I put him in cot he wonts me to stand up and he sleeps on me . It's at night and day he was a great sleeper it's been 4 days don't know what to do ((

Rachel - posted on 01/20/2010

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my 18 month old is having trouble sleeping too. i was told on here that docter can give tablets to help settle them if it is nightmares but i think my boy is to young i have been going through it for about 13 months now. so the docter has decided to send him to a sleep specilast. best of luck to you and your little one i hope she grows out of it

Yvonne - posted on 01/20/2010

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Sleep regression is very common at 18 months. I think my daughter has nightmares at night sometimes too. She wakes up totally terrified at times.

Sarah - posted on 01/19/2010

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If your 18 month old is having trouble sleeping try putting her to bed with some classical music

Megan - posted on 01/19/2010

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My daughter is almost 19 months old and has always been a good sleeper also. I guess its just a stage they go through cause she wakes up in the middle of the night now or has been for the past month last night was her first night sleeping through in a while. I lay down with her and she sometimes goes back to sleep. Ive got to where she isnt getting her way anymore with waking up in the middle of the night wanting to play. I lay in the dark with her till she falls asleep. takes time but it works.

Nitha - posted on 01/18/2010

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give her a big bear hug n cuddle her to reinsure her that u are always there for her! Talk to her....she will be fine as it happens to my son at times and above works well!

Giavonni - posted on 01/13/2010

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My 18 month old has been having trouble sleeping as well, he just wakes up screaming like hes really hurt. sometimes he cries and falls back asleep. other times he wont go back to sleep until i go in and try to calm him.I always thought maybe he was having bad dreams but quickly thought otherwise thinking babies don't have bad dreams now that I am reading other moms post I feel so bad for my son.I hope he is going to out grow this.

Jolene - posted on 01/12/2010

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My 19 month old daughter does this also. Maily when she is unwell, like a cold, or ear infection (which they can have up to 10 a year) so the doctor told me. Or when she has teeth coming threw. Sometimes she just cries out for no reason (I think for no reason anyway) but we usually give her some milk and panadol (if shes not well) and comfort her and she goes back to sleep. But it is hard when they just wake up for no reason that you can tell and they have really got worked up.

Mariana - posted on 01/12/2010

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My 18 month old has trouble sleeping too, and it all has to do with how they are experiencing the world: sounds, loud bangs, things they are impacted by such as tv scenes, horrible news, these are all new things for them! when they go to bed, their brain strart making connections between these things, some of them nice (that's when you see them smile or even laugh in the middle of the night) and some of them frightening. Yes it is something that they will eventually grow out of, when they have finally settled in their environments, but they will need your comfort to be reassured that everything is alright. This can involve hugging them, cuddling with them, etc. But make sure that they know that you are there for them. :)

Charlene - posted on 01/12/2010

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my daughter is 19 months old she crys and screams in her sleep she fast asleep and she will start screamin she been doin this since she was 6months old i have told health vistor but they just said she will grown out of it but i was wonderin wot the doctor would say if i took her to see 1?

Rebecca - posted on 01/12/2010

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My son has been doing the same thing. I thought for a while it was teeth and then it was the excitment of bringing home a new baby!! Now I don't know what to think...We give him mommy and daddy time any suggestions??

Nikki - posted on 01/12/2010

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My daughter did the same and I realised that she was cold. I put her in a fleecy sleepsuit and added an extra blanket and that did the trick!

Amanda - posted on 01/11/2010

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My 18 month old daughter started having trouble sleeping a few months ago as well, and now is used to waking up around 11 o'clock at night (3-4 hours after they fall asleep is the prime time to have nightmares). So, now she wakes around 11 o'clock religiously and cries out even if she's not having a nightmare. It's a pain, but we just let her cry (usually only one or two cry outs if it's not a nightmare) then she's back to snoring. There have been many nights when I've had to go and sit by her crib so she knows I'm there and then I sneak out when she falls back to sleep. I just hope it gets better soon. This has been going on for about 4 months now!

Melody - posted on 01/11/2010

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My son has been doing this for months. I assume it is nightmares. It isreally awful to have him cry like that out of no where. I pick him up and rock him back to sleep. It doesn't take long, but it happens at least 1-2 times a week.

Jennifer - posted on 01/11/2010

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My daughter is doing the same thing i dont know why.. i put her in a toddler bed hopin it would help.. she just sits up in her bed and cries till i go in there and lay with her for a few.. she is due for tubes this month.. wondering if that might be her problem.. idk!

Terri-ann - posted on 01/11/2010

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i think its nightmares... my daughter started doing this at 18 months but not every night... some nights it would be a form of cry in her sleep and she wouldnt move from her bed... before you know it she is snoring again... but other nights she will wake up screaming and come in to me and my husband.... most of the time she goes round to my husband and he just puts her on the bed which i just hate!!!! never liked it! ill pick her up give her a cuddle, and kiss to sooth her and put her back to bed. usually she will just go back off to sleep. Came as a culture shock for me as my daughter was a perfect sleeper!!

Adin - posted on 01/10/2010

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We have never let our son cry it out. If he has had a nightmare or pain or anything we want him to know that we are there for him. He has been crying lots with his eyes closed so we really wake him out of it and relax and calm him down. Yes, it does SOMETIMES take him a little time to go back to sleep but when he does go back to sleep he feels secure and loved.

Michelle - posted on 01/09/2010

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My son is doing this also, but I think sometimes he gets out of the bed & wakes himself up. Also I think he's getting his last teeth...2 year old molars. Just hoping they cut in the next 8 weeks before our next bub is due, too tiring. I have heard that their sleep cycles change at around this time too, causing them to wake from a deeper sleep?

[deleted account]

my 18 month old son does the same thing he wakes up inconsolable yet not really awake. I believe it is night tears. Sometimes if I turn the light on it helps wake him out of it. I am thinking of you you are not alone.

Tracey - posted on 01/06/2010

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My daughter does the same thing. I give her a bottle and make sure that her nummy is right beside her. She usually falls back to sleep.

Leila - posted on 01/06/2010

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definetly night terrors my daughter has had them too but I find she is sleeping better now and later in the morning - yipppeee

Hillary - posted on 01/06/2010

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My daughter has been doing the same thing,except she doesn't want to sleep without me!!I She was sleeping fine in her crib without any problems and all of a sudden she started teething.Now that she's not in any pain,she won't go to sleep unless I sing to her,which is fine until she realizes I've put her back into her crib.I stay at home with her so I believe it's something with separation anxiety

Melinda - posted on 01/05/2010

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It could be something simple. Is she getting new teeth? Molars maybe? Ear infection possibly? I would mention it to the doctor. My daughter started having trouble sleeping at about 18 months old too and it turned out she was having night terrors. For her she would wake up really suddenlt and scream and cry like no tomorrow. Sometimes she would shake from being scared. All I could do to was comfort her until she settled down. Your daughter may just be going through a phase but if it is nightmares you can't really do anything. She will outgrow it. A lot of times they don't want to go back to sleep if they are scared but it should get better. If it's any consolation night terrors are not usually every night sometimes my daughter would have them 3 days in a row, then not for another week. If it does turn out to be nightmares it's really up to you how to handle it, at least that is what the doctor told me. I always felt like I needed to comfort her but they say you really cannot soothe a child with night terrors. So it's not a bad thing to let them cry it out either. Good luck!

Jenni - posted on 01/04/2010

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my daughter has been doing the same thing! I have to go sit right by her bed and just tell her, "it's ok baby, mommy is right here. i promise everything is fine." then she thinks i need to hold her but me "being mean" says no that she needs to lay back down with her princesses (she has a princess pillow case) but it seems to be happening more and more. if you find something that help, please share! maybe my method isnt so great and thats why it keeps happening, idk.

Marcie - posted on 01/03/2010

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We've had a couple of nights where my son has awakened screaming in the middle of the night. Very unusual for him, too, but it hasn't been very consistent. I do suspect that it is nightmares. Unfortunately for us, if we try to go in and comfort him, it just takes him longer to get back to sleep. It kills me to listen to him cry, but it's the only way to get him to go back to sleep. :( I feel like I can't do anything to help him.

Amy - posted on 01/03/2010

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My daughter did the same thing all of a sudden last night. She is a great sleeper, but last night wanted to get up and play. When I thought it was nightmares, a little rocking in the glider was all it took to put her back to sleep. Last night, it was playtime. Up up mama. I hope tonight is better.

Rachel - posted on 01/20/2010

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my 18 month old is having trouble sleeping too. i was told on here that docter can give tablets to help settle them if it is nightmares but i think my boy is to young i have been going through it for about 13 months now. so the docter has decided to send him to a sleep specilast. best of luck to you and your little one i hope she grows out of it

Sarah - posted on 01/19/2010

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If your 18 month old is having trouble sleeping try putting her to bed with some classical music

Megan - posted on 01/19/2010

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My daughter is almost 19 months old and has always been a good sleeper also. I guess its just a stage they go through cause she wakes up in the middle of the night now or has been for the past month last night was her first night sleeping through in a while. I lay down with her and she sometimes goes back to sleep. Ive got to where she isnt getting her way anymore with waking up in the middle of the night wanting to play. I lay in the dark with her till she falls asleep. takes time but it works.

Giavonni - posted on 01/13/2010

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My 18 month old has been having trouble sleeping as well, he just wakes up screaming like hes really hurt. sometimes he cries and falls back asleep. other times he wont go back to sleep until i go in and try to calm him.I always thought maybe he was having bad dreams but quickly thought otherwise thinking babies don't have bad dreams now that I am reading other moms post I feel so bad for my son.I hope he is going to out grow this.

Mariana - posted on 01/12/2010

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My 18 month old has trouble sleeping too, and it all has to do with how they are experiencing the world: sounds, loud bangs, things they are impacted by such as tv scenes, horrible news, these are all new things for them! when they go to bed, their brain strart making connections between these things, some of them nice (that's when you see them smile or even laugh in the middle of the night) and some of them frightening. Yes it is something that they will eventually grow out of, when they have finally settled in their environments, but they will need your comfort to be reassured that everything is alright. This can involve hugging them, cuddling with them, etc. But make sure that they know that you are there for them. :)

Charlene - posted on 01/12/2010

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my daughter is 19 months old she crys and screams in her sleep she fast asleep and she will start screamin she been doin this since she was 6months old i have told health vistor but they just said she will grown out of it but i was wonderin wot the doctor would say if i took her to see 1?

Amanda - posted on 01/11/2010

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My 18 month old daughter started having trouble sleeping a few months ago as well, and now is used to waking up around 11 o'clock at night (3-4 hours after they fall asleep is the prime time to have nightmares). So, now she wakes around 11 o'clock religiously and cries out even if she's not having a nightmare. It's a pain, but we just let her cry (usually only one or two cry outs if it's not a nightmare) then she's back to snoring. There have been many nights when I've had to go and sit by her crib so she knows I'm there and then I sneak out when she falls back to sleep. I just hope it gets better soon. This has been going on for about 4 months now!

Melinda - posted on 01/05/2010

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It could be something simple. Is she getting new teeth? Molars maybe? Ear infection possibly? I would mention it to the doctor. My daughter started having trouble sleeping at about 18 months old too and it turned out she was having night terrors. For her she would wake up really suddenlt and scream and cry like no tomorrow. Sometimes she would shake from being scared. All I could do to was comfort her until she settled down. Your daughter may just be going through a phase but if it is nightmares you can't really do anything. She will outgrow it. A lot of times they don't want to go back to sleep if they are scared but it should get better. If it's any consolation night terrors are not usually every night sometimes my daughter would have them 3 days in a row, then not for another week. If it does turn out to be nightmares it's really up to you how to handle it, at least that is what the doctor told me. I always felt like I needed to comfort her but they say you really cannot soothe a child with night terrors. So it's not a bad thing to let them cry it out either. Good luck!

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