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I have a 2 years old toddler who cries constantly in the early morning (typically 2am-4am) for a long period of time (over 1 hour) if not longer. This consistently happens 3-4xs a week!

When my husband and I try to calm him down it seems to only get worse. The crying becomes louder and angrier & he would even scratch us. He eventually cries himself back to sleep. This has been happening ever since he turned 1. We noticed it wasn't as bad then.

We have not brought this up to his pediatrician's attention yet. We were hoping that it will eventually go away. He was also born with hernia so my husband and I always thought that it could just be him experiencing pain from that. Also, he's a very picky eater.

Do any parents have this problem with their child?

  • Are you sure he's actually awake? My 4yo cries in his sleep pretty regularly. Sometimes it lasts for a long time, but we have found, like you describe, that if we attempt to soothe him it only makes it worse. We've figured out its because by soothing him we actually woke him up which makes him really grumpy at best or frightens him at worst (which results in hysterics including thrashing and attempts to pinch or hit us). He's been crying like this for about 2 years now, but it's getting less frequent and shorter as time goes by. – Jax Jun 21 '16 at 0:54
  • When he cries he doesn't open his eyes. My husband and I even turned the light on to check if he's awake. Lately, we haven't picked him. He eventually just falls back to sleep & that's what we been doing.. but now you mentioned it when he was a newborn he would sniff cry but since he turned one it's just loud cries and screams like he has a bad dream or something.. Hopefully, it will become less frequent. We will have to bring this up in his next appointment with his pediatrician. – Julia Jun 21 '16 at 2:50
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I recommend discussing this problem with your paediatrician. If he is crying due to pain, this needs to be checked. If it's simply a habit he has got himself in to, your paediatrician should be able to advise you how to help him self-soothe without crying for long periods.

In my experience, kids cry at night because they are tired (and don't want to go to sleep), are hungry/thirsty, or else simply want attention. None of these sounds like what is going on (as far as I can tell from your description), which to me suggests that talking to a professional is a good idea.

Good luck! I hope the three of you can get back to satisfying nights' sleep soon.

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