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Thread: scared of the dark?

  1. #1

    Unhappy scared of the dark?

    My DD has been a star as far as sleeping is concerned but just this last week she is giving us no end of trouble! Usually I give her a bottle, rock her to sleep in my arms then put her in her cot about 5~6 pm and she'll sleep through until 6am. It's been heaven which is why this is such a shock to the system...

    Now I can get her to sleep in my arms but as soon as I go to put her in the cot she cries the most miserable cry but even if I take her out and resettle her to sleep, as soon as I try to put her back in the cot she'll wake up and cry again.She's also very jumpy and really buries herself into me at the slightest noise. It's awful but if I even mention going into the cot to her at night she jumps up and buries in again as if to say 'no!no! not the cot!". My DH has more success getting her into the cot than me but it takes til about 8:30pm. She has also started waking in the middle of the night crying inconsolably until I take her out of the cot. Is wide awake for over an hour and will still not go into the cot even when she has fallen into a deep sleep. Daytime sleeps in the cot are fine though... Got a glowing light for her yesterday (which changes colour constantly!?!) but it proved to be more of a distraction...

    Is she afraid of the dark? Late onset separation anxiety? Time for her own bed? Has anyone had a similar experience with their 1-year-old? She's just starting to walk so is it just a developmental phase thing (Please say "yes"!)? I know we've had it good for so long I hate to complain but I'm afraid I give up...


  2. #2

    Join Date
    May 2004


    I'm thinking still might be a little bit young to be frightened of the dark yet....we're only just starting to go through that now with our 2.5 year old...but I guess it's not entirely out of the question?

    I'm thinking the more likely reason would be separation anxiety at her DD is also a textbook sleeper, has been from birth but I recall we went through this with her between 10 and 12 months.
    I was a phase for her and she did outgrow it, basically we just kept her bedtime routine consistent, kept reassuring her, and rode it out.
    If your little one has always been a good sleeper it's not likely to all go to hell permanently at her age, but she'll have phases like this from time to time. Hang in there I'm sure she'll be better soon.

  3. #3


    Thanks for the reassurance. It would surprise me too if she's scared of the dark. It seems so sudden! It's just that the daytime sleeps were always fine but having said that today's daytime sleeps were the bad too- didn't want to be put down, had to hold her. We'll just persevere and hope it passes quickly!

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Blue Mountains


    I'll say "yes" for you re the developmental stage The first couple of years are full of them, and they really are soaking up so much information to learn and process, I would feel a bit overwhelmed myself I think! and require a few extra cuddles.

    We had this when he was a bit younger, and it turned out to be his teeth - but he was screaming like he was scared and would bury himself into me, and the slightest movement of trying to put him down would start it all up again, so I didn't cotton on that it was his teeth until they were cut through! It was another thing that passed.

    Re the separation anxiety, apparently it can reach a peak between 12 and 18 months, so it could well be that. Is moving the cot into your room an option?

    Edit: thought I'd just add that that was the time we started co-sleeping since he hated the cot so much at night, and he hasn't done it since. Perhaps it was separation anxiety too? *shrug*
    Last edited by Liz; May 5th, 2007 at 07:45 PM.

  5. #5


    Thanks LIz!
    Actually, my MIL also suggested it may be teething when I spoke to her today! Now that I think about it DD has been off her food (spits out lumps of food that she would usually eat happily straight away and will only eat yoghurt) and is unusually grizzly. Wish I'd put all the clues together earlier! She got her front 8 teeth with no trouble so these may be the nasty molars I guess.I put Bonjela on her gums before bed tonight so will see if tonight's any different. Poor things, teething must be really painful to affect them like this! She's like a different person!


  6. #6


    What a week! Have had some small successes but still at a loss about some things.
    She does seem to be teething and she's doing the exact same scared, jumping, burying into me thing that Liz mentioned but Bonjela doesn't seem to relieve her enough to stop that. She has stopped waking in the middle of the night for the last couple of nights which is fantastic but she still won't go down to bed easily. She will still fall asleep in my arms around 6pm but is so sensitive to movement she will wake up when I put her in the cot and cry. I've tried lying down on the floor next to the cot and "talking" her to sleep (says a lot for my conversation cos she drops off right away!) but as soon as I move to get up off the floor she knows and starts crying again. It took two hours of repeating this last night until I gave up and she ended up staying up til 9 pm and my husband then went and put her down to sleep with no problem (>_<)grrr...
    So there certainly seems to be an element of separation anxiety in there. I thought we'd escaped it as I thought it happened earlier, around 6~9 months. Only happening at night though - she's fine through the day. NIght light hasn't helped - just made it easier for her to see me creep out the door! (^-^)
    I'm crossing my fingers that it's just a phase and it'll end before I tear all my hair out. She's such a monkey - after 2 hours of trying to get her to sleep, when I gave up and brought her out of her room she gave me a big giggle and a kiss which just melts all the frustration and I wonder why I went through all the drama when I could have just kept her up later and we'd both have been happier!

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