My 14-month old daughter started sleeping through the night about five months ago. She sleeps from 7:30 p.m. to around 7 a.m. A few times a week I hear her making small cries or even little shrieky sounds in the middle of the night (she quiets down really quickly though). I’m just stumped about when I should go in to her room. She's not hungry, as she quit nursing at night months ago. Sometimes I’ll go in, and it seems like I wake her up more and make it harder for her to fall back to sleep. But I don’t want to let her cry.
As if dealing with sleep problems weren’t hard enough, many parents wonder when to go into their child’s room at night. They especially struggle with when not to go in. It’s not an easy decision to make when you’re groggy and sleep-deprived yourself.
Rushing into your child’s room at every tiny peep will derail your hard-wrought sleep progress. But compassionate sleep support entails being there for your child when she needs you. Here’s how to make the call:
When to go in to your child’s room:
- When you suspect any type of safety problem.
- When she cries with intensity.
- When she has a toileting or diapering issue that needs addressing.
- When she has a nightmare and is scared.
- When an infant needs feeding.
- Any time you genuinely feel she needs you.
Here's when not to go in:
- When she is babbling or talking to herself, either at bedtime or in the middle of the night. It can be frustrating; you want her sleeping, so you can go back to sleep! But please, let her be. If this happens regularly, she may not be tired enough at bedtime, and she may need an adjusted bedtime or shorter nap.
- When she mumbles or talks in her sleep.
- When she grinds her teeth at night. (She is not aware he is doing it; waking her will just confuse her.)
- When she briefly cries or shrieks out, then quiets down. (She’s probably still asleep. If you go in, you’ll just wake her.)
- When she grumbles, whimpers, or generally makes discontented sounds. This may be her way of falling asleep. Maybe she had a rough day and needs to talk it out. Just don’t disturb her. If the whimpering turns into a cry, then you’ll know that she needs you.
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