Don't know what could it be but my daughter keeps on crying every night. She's sleeping and suddenly she starts crying.
Hungry ? (She drinks her last bottle of milk around 8pm.)
Maybe teething? (every night, don't think so)
Miss being in mommy's and daddy's bed? (she cries even if she's in our bed)
I'm out of ideas, and we are kind of exhausted!
Any ideas what might be the reason for her to cry every night?

  • 2
    Does she wake up at about the same time every night? Did this start recently? (And my sympathies.)
    – Kit Z. Fox
    Sep 7, 2012 at 19:59
  • It's almost at the same time. And sometimes is more than once. She's started a couple a week's ago.
    – Alex
    Sep 8, 2012 at 0:44
  • 1
    Does she calm down when held? did you try giving her something to eat? (she may be growth spurting). My 15 month old has NEVER slept through the night at wakes at least once, to be held or fed. He always cries, but stops as soon as we are there - it is just his way of letting us know he is awake.
    – Ida
    Sep 4, 2014 at 16:54
  • Have you taken her to the doctor and had her checked for possible physical causes?
    – A E
    Nov 10, 2014 at 14:47

5 Answers 5


From my experience, it seems like every parent I know (including myself) has this exact same problem sometime around their child's first birthday. Their kid goes from being a stellar sleeper to suddenly waking up in the middle of the night. Sometimes their child is upset; sometimes they just want to wake up and play. Sometimes approaching new milestones can cause this; sometimes a growth spurt. Lots of things are going on in your little girl's body and any one of those things could be waking her up, and she doesn't really know how to get herself back to sleep. And she's probably disoriented. I agree with Jaysker. Check to see if she's comfortable. Your body temperature goes down when you sleep, so while she might be perfectly comfortable in her summer jammies at bedtime, after she's slept for a few hours she might wake up cold--especially since the weather is starting to get cooler (and, if she's anything like either of my children, she kicks the blanket off of her). The solution might be as simple as putting on a pair of socks for the time being. If it's a growth spurt, she might be waking up hungry or thirsty.

It could be teething--especially if her back molars are coming in. Every time one of them flared up in my daughter, she was miserable until it either subsided or finally came through (it was so bad that she'd wake up bleeding from her gums, but I've been told this is exceptionally rare and is not something I experienced with my older son). Tylenol helped, but it takes about 15 minutes to kick in.

If you don't think she's sick or that she has any food allergies that could be aggravating her, give it a few more weeks and see if it sorts itself out. I know that's not the solution you want to hear, but it really does seem like it's a phase most kids go through. You can find various methods for teaching her to self-sooth and working through those (this website discusses various methods for sleep training your child and dealing with night wakings). It may take awhile for your daughter to figure this all out. My son was about three before he finally got to the point where he could put himself to sleep and stay asleep in his bed all night, and he still occasionally comes to our room in the middle of the night wanting to get in bed with us, but that's a different story.


Excellent answers so far! I want to offer another idea:

Has she had leaps in development (mental, motor, etc.) in the last couple of weeks? At her age, she is rapidly learning new things and discovering whole new topics in herself and her surroundings. That's a lot for a young mind to handle, and while she sleeps her brain tries to make sense of it all and sort it into mental bins. That is a lot of hard work for the brain, and this might upset her just enough that she wakes up without being able to give you any exact reason. She can't really say my brain is too busy.

Ideas for "cures:"

  • It might help to have a longer quiet period before going to sleep, especially if she doesn't sleep for long before she starts crying.

  • If you're introducing many new things or activities, you might want to slow down a little so that she has a little bit less to mentally process at night.

  • Did her surroundings change? It is suddenly much darker outside than it used to be (seasonally)? See if a night light would help, or some white noise, or less light or less noise if possible.

  • When she's in bed, she relaxes with her favorite toy, then falls asleep by herself most of the time. She's going to daycare now, maybe and I guess she's learning new stuff just like other kids. Where I live, temperature changed to a little cooler but don't think that might be it. I did noticed she's sleeping better from night to night and my guess is because we dress her more warmly. (maybe in summer she couldn't bear the heat!?). Thank you for all your suggestions!
    – Alex
    Sep 9, 2012 at 21:35

I would suggest talking to your doctor. Is it possible she is having stomach pains? How easily does she soothe when you are up with her? Is the temperature comfortable for her?

So here are my suggestions: evaluate what she is eating/drinking? For example lactose intolerance may be showing up like this. experiment with what she wears to bed. Perhaps her pjs are too warm or too cool for her.

We all wake up many times in the night, but mostly we put ourselves back to sleep. Children are not born with that skill however, and so often when they awake it is distressing to them. If it does not appear that there are other physical factors, such as lactose intolerance or some discomfort, just reassure her that you are there and tuck her back in. Do this in the least interactive manner possible, preferably just talking to her but not touching her except to give back a soother or cover her up. Good luck - it will pass eventually.

  • Don't think she's lactose intolerant, she's been drinking cows milk for 6 months now and her crying started couple a week's ago. We calm her down each time and falls back to sleep. We are new parents and I find it hard to know if she's cold or hot but we do our best. Her next doctor appointment is due for December. Thank you for your suggestions
    – Alex
    Sep 8, 2012 at 0:43

I had the same problem, I tried many ways but fail and loose many sleepless night for a month. But one day while trying all the ways I gave her Gripe water thinking she may be crying due to Gripe and that night she slept well. Actually this idea struck me as I observing her cry is like colic cry. Hope! this help, I know what you are going through.

  • I think I'll give it a try.Thanks for the advice.
    – Alex
    Oct 30, 2012 at 12:14

Hungry ? (She drinks her last bottle of milk around 8pm.)

Could well be hungry. Offer her more milk (when she cries in the night) and see if it helps.

Maybe teething? (every night, don't think so)

Could be every night.

Tried teething gel?

Tried baby painkiller e.g. Calpol Infant?

On a scale of 1 to 10 (where "1" is "I am mildly concerned about the world economy" and 10 is "My toes are being eaten by a wolf"), how distressed is the crying? How long does it go on for?

You're checking her nappy (diaper) each time, right? Any nappy rash?

It could be worth trying carrying her in a sling for a few hours during the day or in the evening:

Sling babies cry less. Parents in my practice commonly report, “As long as I wear her, she’s content!” Parents of fussy babies who try babywearing relate that their babies seem to forget to fuss. This is more than just my own impression. In 1986, a team of pediatricians in Montreal reported on a study of ninety-nine mother-infant pairs. The first group of parents were provided with a baby carrier and assigned to carry their babies for at least three extra hours a day. They were encouraged to carry their infants throughout the day, regardless of the state of the infant, not just in response to crying or fussing. In the control, or noncarried group, parents were not given any specific instructions about carrying. After six weeks, the infants who received supplemental carrying cried and fussed 43 percent less than the noncarried group.


(I understand that the problem is at night not during the day, but getting them more comfort during the day can help them to sleep better).

Have there been any recent changes in your baby's life or your family's life?

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