Why is my baby screaming himself to sleep?

Heidi - posted on 07/11/2011 ( 4 moms have responded )

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I am really struggling with my son who has just turn one years old. He used to go to sleep just fine and had a really good routine going, but has recently taken to screaming his lungs out when he knows we are going to put him to sleep. He gives us all the normal tired signs and is definitely tired, but is fighting his sleep all the way. I tried doing the controlled crying, but going into the room and passifying him seems to have the opposite effect. His screams become louder and more feverous when I then go to put him down again, so I have now stopped going in to pacify him. I can however not stand to hear him scream himself to sleep as it is distressing for both him and myself. Not only does he struggle to go to sleep now, but he is also waking up screaming in the middle of the night... Why is it happening? Is he scared? I know he is not hungry, thirsty or in need of a change as all of these are catered for before he goes off to bed at 7pm. I want my baby to be happy to go to sleep and to feel comfortable? Any suggestions or questions welcome! PLEASE HELP!

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Jennifer - posted on 07/11/2011

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CIO is the opposite of controlled crying, I guess....stands for Cry It Out....basically what you said, not going in and pacifying him, you have started to let him CIO.

Jennifer - posted on 07/11/2011

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CIO is the opposite of controlled crying, I guess....stands for Cry It Out....basically what you said, not going in and pacifying him, you have started to let him CIO.

Heidi - posted on 07/11/2011

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Thank you for your reply. Please can you explain to me what CIO is? Sorry, new to the acronyms. Thank you again!

Jennifer - posted on 07/11/2011

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My first thought was that it sounded like he doesn't want to sleep (is tired, but fighting sleep) since he knows what is coming. I did CIO with both my children since, like you, with my firstborn when she started fighting sleep, it seemed like every time I went there without there being anything really wrong, she would start crying as soon as I was trying to put her back down without her being asleep and there was no way I was going to get her used to being rocked or carried to sleep. It was harder to hear her crying about it, but now she'll be six soon and has been sleeping great for years. Once down, however, she stayed down for the night, unless she was in pain, sick/fever, too hot or too cold. My younger daughter is nearly 22 months and I had her "sleep trained" earlier since I had experienced with my firstborn what happens when you wait (it took longer). If I know she's tired and doesn't need anything, I can put her in the toddler bed next to my bed, walk out and close the door and even if she starts to cry because she doesn't want to go to sleep (there are nights she doesn't cry at all) it doesn't even usually last a minute anymore.
The only thing(s) I can think of to cause screaming in the middle of the night is if they're in pain (due to teething or even gas build up), possibly growth pains, or maybe even having bad dreams. If it is bad dreams, you could consider putting a shirt that you wore that day or something with your scent on it with him when he goes to bed at night.
Babies are also sensitive to their surroundings. Are there any new problems in the home, any kind of stress?
Hopefully it's nothing more than these aforementioned things.

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