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Toddlers Who Moan & Rock During the Night

by Angeliki Coconi, studioD

Moaning and rocking are mysterious, yet common, habits that your infant might adopt in his sleep. Watching him curled up peacefully and getting that much-needed rest can be a heart-warming sight, but somehow, baby sleep always ends up being more complicated. Paying attention to your infant's sleep patterns and being aware of negative signs will allow you to determine what is normal and what should concern you. Ensuring that your baby sleeps peacefully and healthfully will influence your baby's well-being, and your own mood, too.


It's not necessarily a problem when babies moan in their sleep, provided that he’s getting enough rest and is not showing any negative symptoms when awake. Monitor his sleeping to ensure he is not being kept awake by something. If the moaning continues without any visible disturbances, you're still in the range of normal. Most of the time, moaning occurs in the transition period between being awake and asleep.

Potential Problems

If, along with the moaning, you notice that your baby is having trouble breathing, sweating excessively or experiencing an increase in heart rate, your child might be experience night terrors. Terrors mainly occur as a result of fatigue or irregular sleeping patterns. Work to help your baby get a more restful sleep, keeping stress levels down as much as possible. Teething could be the cause of your baby's moaning. If your baby is teething, work to alleviate the pain in his gums and see whether that reduces his moaning in his sleep. In more severe cases, moaning is often associated to sleep apnea. If your baby is also snoring and breathing through his mouth, consulting a medical professional about what your next steps should be.


Often, a baby will subconsciously rock himself to sleep for the same reason as you might cradle him in your arms and sway him from side to side. Babies like the soothing, calming affect it has on them. The movements can range from subtle to extreme rocking, but it rarely needs to be a cause for concern. However, your toddler infant might be suffering from a headache or an ear infection. In this case, your baby's rocking might be accompanied by head-banging, which entails your infant hitting his head against the top of the bed. Bed-time head-banging is usually a benign act, and can help soothe the pain of the teething, headache or ear infection.

What You Should Do

Moaning and rocking normally isn’t reason to get worked up. Babies do all kinds of things in their sleep. If, however, you want to be on the safe side, or you notice something irregular as far as your infant’s sleeping patterns are concerned, talk to your baby's doctor.

About the Author

Angeliki Coconi started writing in 1999 with the theater comedy "Loop," produced in Athens. In 2001 she wrote and produced another comedy, "Modern Cinderella." In 2006 she was awarded a Master of Science in literature from the University of Edinburgh. In 2009 Coconi obtained the Postgraduate Certificate in Screenwriting from Napier University of Edinburgh.

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