Daughter suddenly needs attention in middle of night

Maria - posted on 12/17/2010 ( 3 moms have responded )

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My daughter has always been a great sleeper at night. I need to wake her up many mornings to get to work. Suddenly, she is waking up around 1 a.m. and cries for attention. She will cry for hours unless you stand next to her crib or hold her which is what she wants. I have tried to just lay down next to the crib and now, that is not even good enough. She will not relax unless you are hovering over her. It has been taken several hours for her to go back to sleep. I think the problem might be that she has recently moved to the toddler room and is not getting enough attention and now wants attention at night. Any advice?

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Maria - posted on 12/17/2010

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To clarify, she is in the new toddler room at daycare but she is still in her same old crib/room at home. I would never take her to my bed - i'd never sleep/not safe, etc. I have tried to let her cry and she gets hysterical and continues (we've allowed it to occur over 45 minutes w/o her stopping) until we go in. I think she is just adjusting but I don't want this sleeplessness to turn into a habit.

Louise - posted on 12/17/2010

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I disagree putting a child into bed with you is a bad habit to start and you will have the same problem when you try and put them back into their bed. Breaking a child from not sleeping in mums bed is much harder. If this is a new thing then just give it time until she is happy in her new surroundings, if this is dragging on a bit then try the ignore technique. Go in check nappy and look around for any reasons for her to wake then settle her down without rocking and leave. Go back in when she is crying but do not give her any eye contact, lie her down and leave. She has learnt that if she cries mummy comes in and rocks her this is fun. Now you have to break the habit mum is coming in but mum is not happy about it. This is not a quick fix and will take about three nights for your daughter to get the idea that it is not worth waking mum up for no attention. Good luck it is worth a try!

Laura - posted on 12/17/2010

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You may very well be right--moving to a new room can be a very scary change for a small child. I don't think it has much to do with lack of attention though but rather change of surroundings. Everyone, including children, wake periodically through the night. Most adults roll over and usually go right back to sleep. Kids that are good sleepers have learned to do the same as long as their surroundings are familiar. Your daughter seems to be waking up, which is natural, but becoming frightened at the unfamiliar surroundings. By you going in where she can see you, you are providing something familiar for her to focus on, thus calming her fear. The best parenting tool you can use right now will be patience. As she becomes used to her surroundings at night, the crying should begin to stop as she adjusts and comforts herself back to sleep. In the meantime, you have a couple of options as you move through this adjustment period: You can opt for the CIO method and let her be--she'll get tired and cry herself to sleep; you can continue going in to provide some comfort by silently rubbing her tummy to coax her back to sleep; or you can bring her into bed with you. Personally, option # 2 is your best bet! You may need to do this for a bit until she is really comfortable in her new surroundings, but this should be a phase that passes. Hope this helps and good luck!

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