My 13 month old keeps me up all night

by Beth K
(Newport, RI)

Question: My daughter was a great sleeper from 5 months on but since she turned 11 months she wakes up and screams till i go in and pick her up. I have left her 10 mins to 2 hours one time. She wants to sleep in our bed. We broke down and is now letting her sleep in with us but she awakes 5 to 6 times a night. Clenching her muscles and screaming, when she knows I'm there she relaxes but this goes on all night...please help me.
Beth x

Heidi's Answer: Hi Beth, From the info you give I am suspecting she is going through a phase of separation anxiety. There are a series of things you can do on my baby separation anxiety page.

It is important to not only work on it at night, but also - and mainly - during the day to help build her confidence. Once she feels more confident, that will also give better nights.

If you are OK with having her in your bed, then do this consistently as a way to help reassure her. You can then wean again in a couple of months.

If you do not want her in your bed at all, then it is best not to allow it, and again be consistent. The consistency might seem tough but it will actually make it easier on her to accept things. And that again will help reassure her.

If you keep her in her own bed, then pay extra attention to the "Keep your promises ..." tip on the separation anxiety page I mentioned. When putting her down, or when putting her back after an awakening at night, always tell her you will be back, and then also do it. This is a very efficient technique. It asks extra effort from you at first, but pays off very well.

Good luck,

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Singing songs helps reassure your baby
by: Reine


A midwife once advised me to sing songs for my baby: once she "knows" them, you can also sing them while leaving the room. That way, the baby will start to learn that you're never really gone when she can't see you, because she can still hear you singing. I tried it (singing on the toilet, while picking up the mail in the hallway, etc ;-)) and it does seem to work.

Good luck!

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