Posted in Behavior, Sleep, Toddlers

Sudden toddler sleep issues

My son just turned 2 and he has been a rockstar sleeper from the very beginning. He started sleeping through the night on his own by 3 weeks. Now, all of the sudden he cries and cries when put down. First it was just bedtime and now it’s nap too. I think at first he had a bad dream because he woke up screaming and terrified. Ever since though, nap and bedtime are a constant struggle. He cries and screams “mama help!” It’s awful. He’s even woken up a couple times in the middle of the night crying and yelling which he never did before. I have a 2nd on the way, due in August, so I feel pressured to get this under control before hand. Anyone have experience with this? Honestly because he made it so easy on me I never learned good techniques to get him back to sleep.

  • Jade
    Apr 12

    Could he be getting his 2 year old molars? He could be hurting and that’s why he’s crying out?

  • Julie
    Apr 12

    Does he have all his teeth yet?? My daughter is only 20 months but she has lots of nights like this and I think it’s her canines coming in.

  • PK
    Apr 12

    How long has this been going on? Days? Weeks? My son did this around the time he just turned 2 as well... he did it for 2 weeks straight and then we realized that he got a lot taller. So we chalked it up to growing pains. My son also gets night terrors some times. We usually just watch him on camera and give him 5-10 min to calm down before we step in. We also have a white noise machine that helps. When we do have to come in, we hug him and hold him until he calms down and then we turn on a white noise machine. It’s part of his night time and nap routine to press the button to turn it on so we let him and he will usually go back to sleep pretty quickly. Does he have a nightlight?

  • Diana
    Apr 14

    In addition to teething, it could also be an ear infection that bothers him when he’s laying flat. My child went through that where if she sat up (or was picked up) we was fine, but laying down grew uncomfortable - it took me forever to figure out (before she was verbal)

  • Jess
    Apr 15

    He has all of his teeth so I don’t think it’s that, but it could be growing pains. He’s been eating an absurd amount of food for the past couple of days. This has been going on for about 2 weeks so far. We tried putting a nightlight in his room and he freaked out. He doesn’t want ANYTHING unfamiliar in his room. It seems to really scare him. I just don’t know how to handle it. He kept crying one night so I went in there and pet his hair and sang to him and he calmed down. After a bit I walked out and he got so upset. He kept crying “mama hair!” I tried letting him sleep with us one night and no one slept. He has had to just cry himself to sleep but it takes so long. I don’t know if my intervention is helping or just making it worse. The only nights he’s slept through are after days I’ve taken him to the zoo or somehow completely exhausted him during the day, and that’s about 50/50 success rate.

  • PK
    Apr 15

    🙁 I’m sorry. Maybe call the pediatrician and see if they might have suggestions or want to check him out? Maybe something hurts when he lies down? Maybe take him to the store to get a security blanket or doll? My brother gave my son a stuffed dog a while back and during this phase I sat down with my son and told him that dogs are great friends and that this dog here is for him and to protect him at night. It didn’t help us but for a few minutes he did hug the dog tight and I saw him set it up right on the edge of his crib. I also tried explaining to him that we were sleeping in another room but close by that nothing would hurt him. Walked him back and forth from our room to his to show how short of a distance it was. Explained that if he wants to do something fun the next day that we had to sleep. Are you usually the one that goes in to calm him? So my son occasionally has nightmares and my husband and I realized that it’s better for him to actually go in to calm our son. I’m the primary caretaker. When I go in, our son just wants me to stay. He will cry after I leave for a really long time until we have to go in again. When my husband goes in to calm him down and then leave, he will cry for a bit but then settle back down faster.