U.S. doctors online nowAsk doctors free
Bronx, NY
A 26-year-old female asked:

Why some babies at age 12 months don't sleep good and wake up crying every 20 -30 minutes during the night , what problem can they have?

3 doctor answers5 doctors weighed in
Dr. Faysal Saab
Internal Medicine and Pediatrics 9 years experience
Many things: It could be a number of things. Teething, gas, environmental causes, or more serious things like intussusception. The baby should be checked to make sure his/her physical exam is normal.
Dr. Johanna Fricke
Pediatrics - Developmental and Behavioral 50 years experience
Agree. Parents have to know their child is healthy so they can institute sleep hygiene & ignore night crying, which is the only way to " make" it go away. Intermittently reinforcing night-crying with positive or negative attention during the " extinction burst" that occurs before the behavior extinguishes (stops) makes it persist longer than if they continue the current nightly reinforcement
Oct 20, 2014
Dr. Johanna Fricke
Pediatrics - Developmental and Behavioral 50 years experience
If he is healthy, : set a consistent bedtime & routine, Brush his teeth after the last feed. Turn off TV, read, cuddle, then put him to bed in his own room drowsy, but awake, to learn to self-calm for sleep without bottle, pacifier or you. Ignore night-waking consistently. It'll first get louder & longer, then stop. If you can't refrain from going into his room, read tips about graded ignoring on healthychildren.org.
Dr. Johanna Fricke
Pediatrics - Developmental and Behavioral 50 years experience
Provided original answer
At 6 mos. & older, a baby whose " sleep association" is mom's lap, bottle or pacifier becomes anxious if these aren't there when he night-wakes. One who learns at 1-4 mos. to fall asleep on his own in his crib in his room is more likely to self-calm, as everything's as it was when he fell asleep. See web site for weaning by 15 mos., limiting milk to 16 oz./day & 1st dental visit at 1 year.
Oct 20, 2014
Dr. Lois Freisleben-Cook
Pediatrics 41 years experience
Depends: If your baby has never slept through the night there may be a habit behavior that is waking him. For example, if you go to him whenever he wakes he will do so just to get your attention. If this has just started, he may have pain from an ear infection or other medical problem. Have his pediatrician check him and get a good sleep history. Then you will have an answer and a plan.

90,000 U.S. doctors in 147 specialties are here to answer your questions or offer you advice, prescriptions, and more. Get help now:

Ask doctors free
Educational text
Talk to a doctor
24/7 visits - just $39!
50% off with $15/month membership
Last updated Feb 12, 2016


Content on HealthTap (including answers) should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and interactions on HealthTap do not create a doctor-patient relationship. Never disregard or delay professional medical advice in person because of anything on HealthTap. Call your doctor or 911 if you think you may have a medical emergency.