My 9 month old daughter is giving mommy & daddy the sense she's fighting her sleep.

This is causing us to lose sleep. My daughter wakes up, or at least moves and makes noises in her sleep. She will do any of the following or a combination of all: moan, cries, whines, throws her head from one location to another, rolls her entire body from one location to another.

I need help! Why is this happening and should I be concerned? Keep in mind she was a premi. Should I discuss this with her pediatrician?

  • My 11 months old daughter behaves like that when she's hungry. And she becomes hungry about 5-6 times a night.
    – baldrs
    Oct 30, 2014 at 13:53

4 Answers 4


Many of the things you describe sound to me like the opposite of fighting sleep. Whining, throwing head from side to side, rolling her body are (seemingly strange) things that many babies do to try to self sooth, i.e. perhaps she is coming into light sleep and does these things to try to resettle and not wake up. So you could see this as a good thing as hopefully she'll learn to stay asleep by herself. You said that she's still asleep so that also make me think she doesn't want to get up. She may cry if she wants to stay asleep but it's not working.

I also have a nine month old baby and he does all these things too so I think it's fairly normal. At least when I've searched online there are plenty of people with the same thing. My baby can also do some very odd things trying to go to sleep at night. Sometimes he babbles very loudly, sometimes he crawls around. I comfort him if he cries but if he seems happy I let him get on with it. I'm afraid I can't tell you how long it will happen for as we haven't got that far yet.

I would say in general, there's no need to call your doctor. However, if you find that sometimes it's worse than normal, she cries more and really can't settle then she could be feeling unwell. Things such as ear infections can cause the baby to be more uncomfortable when laying down. You will probably know if something's unusual, if she seems much worse for just a few nights and usually there would be other symptoms like a raised temperature, runny nose and cough. In this case I would suggest you take her to the doctor.


I think moaning , crying, whining are pretty normal when babies wake up from a nap. While babies love to sleep, there are some who just dont like it . One of my twins is always sleeping, whereas the other us just.not interested and with great difficulty would sleep for a few hours.

But if you are worried, its better to take them to HV/ pediatrician.


In the absence of other symptoms such as a raised temperature or difficulty breathing, this sounds like the normal process of a baby learning how to sleep and to self-settle.

All humans go through cycles of lighter and deeper sleep in the night, often waking briefly several times. As adults we've mostly learnt to quietly go back to sleep, usually without even remembering waking. So it's surprising to us that this is a skill which has to be learned. Your daughter is learning this, and, if in most cases she's able to get herself back to sleep without your help, she's doing better than my daughter did! There may be occasions when she bumps her head on the side of the cot and wakes properly and needs some comfort. You may recognise the more urgent wail that signals real distress.

Being caring parents you are waking up concerned about your child. To help with your tiredness, mommy and daddy can take it in turns to be "on-duty" or "off-duty". The person off-duty should aim to get as much sleep as possible, preferably in another room to the baby, only to be called on in emergencies. I find simply knowing that I'm off-duty means I sleep a lot better! Swap roles for the next night or sooner if exhaustion/frustration/anger sets in.

  • Thank you. This about the best explanation to the situation. Very informative & helpful Oct 30, 2014 at 15:41
  • Glad to help. Welcome to parenting.SE, btw! If you feel that this, or another answer, fully answers your question, consider clicking the tick/checkmark next to it to "accept" the answer. Oct 30, 2014 at 17:05

Young kids, and babies in particular, may often not have consistent sleep patterns (they are, after all, growing and changing so quickly and so constantly; plus, there's that teething thing...). Good sleepers can turn into sleep fighters, and bad sleepers can all of a sudden start snoozing through the night, and that can all change again and again. I think that it may not hurt to ask the pediatrician (it's always possible that there's something bugging your baby that could be a mild medical problem), but I wouldn't be too concerned about your baby. I'd be more concerned with your own sanity, especially if you're not used to inconvenient sleep patterns.

If you can, try taking turns soothing your baby to sleep if she needs it. There's no hard and fast answer as far as what you need to do. Some babies need cuddles. Some babies need water or milk (especially those who nurse). Some fuss and creak even though they aren't truly awake, and go back to sleep after a little bit. Do what feels right, and, well, it's unavoidable that while your own sleep is interrupted, you'll feel a little worse for the wear.

Something that's helped me to get through my son's sleep troubles was telling myself "it will not last forever!" and mentally taking it one day at a time. He woke up every 1.5-2 hours until he was 18 months old, and I was the only one who could put him back to sleep. He would absolutely not go back to sleep on his own (at least not in a way that I was okay with, I couldn't stand the idea of him crying for a long time); fussing lead to waking up, and he would get more and more wound up until he was fully awake and very unhappy, and need very active soothing. Nothing was wrong with him, it's just how he was wired--he hated falling asleep, feeling sleepy, and waking up. I've received all kinds of well-intended advice that essentially came down to telling me I was doing it wrong, but the reality of it was, all was to come in its due time. It got better one day.

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