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My Good Sleeper Now Wakes Crying Hysterically

Dear Heather,

My toddler used to sleep through the night but lately has been waking up every three hours hysterically crying. I don't know what to do and, since it's the middle of the night, I bring him into bed because it's the only way he'll sleep.

What's going on? And what should I do?


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Dear Victoria,

Is your son falling asleep with you in the room or is he very drowsy when he gets into the crib/bed. Does he have a pacifier that falls out? Is there anything that changes even slightly between when he falls asleep at bedtime and when he wakes in the night?

It sounds like you don't want him in bed with you, which means, if you're sure he's not in pain (usually true teething pain only last a short few days), you'd want to check on him without taking him out of the crib. In our book, "The Happy Sleeper," we call this the Sleep Wave. It's our research-based approach for turning around a sleep habit, which is what it sounds like to me (just a new habit). Make sure he is fully conscious and awake at when you are putting him down at bedtime though.

Sleep happy,


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Sleep expert Heather Turgeon, co-author of "The Happy Sleeper: The Science-Backed Guide to Helping Your Baby Get a Good Night's Sleep—Newborn to School Age," will fix your family's sleep problems in this space as she does in her home consultations. Turgeon's solutions are nonjudgmental, kind and—best of all—based on science.

No situation is too challenging. Leave your sleep problem in the comments. Let's all get a good night's sleep, finally.

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