Baby Nighttime Crying

My 6-month-old won't sleep at night. Help!

Question

My 6-month-old won't sleep at night. Help!

Answer

When babies are learning how to pull themselves upright and wanting to learn to walk is usually the worst time of sleep in all of childhood -- even if they were great sleepers before. When babies this age wake up in the middle of the night, they will pull upright, refuse to lie back down, and cry. They want to be up and they want to sleep. This is also the peak age of separation anxiety, so babies can become frightened at night. Once they have been walking on their own for about two weeks, it usually gets better. Pulling to upright is no longer so urgent and they tire themselves out more during the day.

In the meantime, there are a variety of ways to handle this. My favorite is to go to kids when they pull up in the crib crying, lay them back down and stand there, gently pinning their hips so they cannot get back up, then rub their backs. Sing to them, tell them you love them, but don't feed them, lie down with them, or pick them up. They will usually cry for hours, but not feel alone or afraid. When this is done for several nights in a row, most kids will have much shorter episodes within three or four nights, and the episodes will often disappear soon after.

 

The information on this Web site is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your pediatrician or family doctor. Please consult a doctor with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your or your child's condition.

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