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Bonnie, Psychologist
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 2189
Experience:  and pediatric nurse practitioner with 30 years of experience counseling parents.
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My 2 year old has been happily going to bed in her crib and

Customer Question

My 2 year old has been happily going to bed in her crib and sleeping through the night for almost a year. About 2 months ago she started waking up every 2 hours and I would comfort her and she would go back to sleep in her crib, usually without any tears. About a month ago she refused to go in her crib and is acting scared of it to the point of hysterics and throwing up. Help!

I should also include that we do have an established bedtime routine and we have been to the doctor and she is 100% healthy.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  proexpert37 replied 6 years ago.
A few questions for you...Has anything traumatic happened in her life or your family recently? What are the family relationships like in the home? Does she attend day care or pre school?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
No, nothing traumatic. I am a SAHM so she doesn't attend day care or pre school. I am expecting baby #2 in 5 weeks though.
Expert:  proexpert37 replied 6 years ago.

This is very typical behavior for a child of 2 years old. The new baby's arrival will probably create a few more difficulties as well but just take one step at a time.


First of all, your daughter needs to be retrained as to how to fall asleep on her own and stay in the bed. Ask yourself these question: Is she afraid of the dark? Is she experiencing separation anxiety?


Maybe she needs a comforting object to sleep with like a bear or a favorite blanket.


Make sure that she has a consistent bedtime and a routine which may consist of a bedtime story.


Do not reinforce her behavior of waking up, screaming, and throwing up She justs wants attention..REALLY. Do not yell and scream at her. Without talking, just put her back into the bed. Do this as many times as it takes for her to stay in the bed. You or your husband may need to begin by staying in her room until she falls asleep. You may end up falling asleep first though.


Or, if she is staying in the bed when awake...check on her every 5 minutes...then 10...then 20. She will know that you are not far away and that you still care. She must be told that Mommy and Daddy have their bed to sleep in and that she has her big girl bed to sleep in. Maybe even put glow in the dark stars on the ceiling or other stickers on her bed. She must develop an inward desire to want to stay in the bed.


On the other hand, if she seems to be waking up having a nightmare/night terror, then you may want to speak to your child's pediatrician.


Nonetheless, this process of retraining your daughter to return and remain in her bed takes patience and dedication. I would not recommend just giving in and letting her sleep with you and her husband. Some parents advocate co sleeping. That would be your personal decision though.


I hope that this has helped. If so, please ACCEPT so that I may be paid for my efforts. Have a great day. If you do need further assistance, please let me know.



Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Relist: Answer quality.
Expert:  Bonnie replied 6 years ago.
Hello, I will just add a comment:

It is possible that she is already sensing the new baby and I am sure you have a bed set up for new baby already. I would recommend that you get her a big girl bed now with fancy sheets and comforter. Each night for the next 6 months, let her decide on whether she wants to sleep in big girl bed or crib. Hopefully, she will choose big girl bed all the time by end of six months. But I feel that she will regress to crib after baby is born for a while until she adjusts to new baby (several months).

I hope this gives some new insight into this problem.

Good luck.