September 13, 2006,
R.D. asks from Pittsburgh, PA on September 06, 2006
Six Month Old Wakes up Screaming, a LOT!!
My son, actually closer to 7 mos. at this point, has started waking up screaming at the top of his lungs, usually crying big tears at the same time. If it's at night, he can be easily soothed back to sleep without nursing, and if it's during the day, then it usually ends naptime. It's not teething or gas--I know what those tears are like. My husband hypothesizes that he's having nightmares. He is an otherwise happy and delightful boy, so this is freaking me out a bit. Has anybody else gone through this? Is this normal? Thanks.
So What Happened?™
Thanks so much for all the kind words! And it is a RELIEF to hear that other moms have been through it, so it's "normal". We are going to go see the pediatrician next week, but I am less terrifed that it signifies some horrible illness now. Thanks!
S.P. answers from Erie on September 06, 2006
First things first keep as calm as a butterfly when you tend the baby because you two were practically one for nine months and he can still clearly sense your stress and you don't want to make him feel fear or stress evert time he wakes up.
The description is somewhat vague but my first thought is not to jump to conclusions. Nightmares? I'm reading a book on sleep problems in children and nightmares don't occur that regularly. It's highly unlikely. But here is something real to consider: After deep dreaming the brain goes into a preparatory slow waking period where you still have dreams but the body has become fully connected to thought whereas during dream time it has been intentionally seperated partially for safety reasons amongst others. The slow waking period is likely to reorient the person to the real world and this is probably where your little one begins to cry. Don't ever forget for the next several years that the younger the child the more crying will be the form of expression. Of course your discription was vague. As babies bodies get stronger so do thier voices. A child can never be presumed to be doing something like crying for the same reasons as an adult. And also it is truely logical course of action to determine what if anything has changed in the bay's life like your time with him or introducing foods. So then, if it's not that and nothing else is obvious you have no reason to assume a problem. The description was vague but it does not sound like there is any reason to be alarmed in the least even despite the sudden oncome of the waking crying.
I know it would be worth it for you and help you feel better if you researched "brain activity in infants" or even just sleep. Don't let people make you worry.
J. answers from Philadelphia on September 07, 2006
When my 10 year old was a baby he used to wake up screaming and kicking. But he was not totally awake. They call these night terrors. I am sure that they can have them any time during the day, so your husband may not be far off. When it happened to my son, one of my coworkers suggested putting a radio in his room with soft music on and a nighlight. And it worked like a charm. Give it a try, can't hurt. And remember they can be totally happy all day and still have something that scares them at night. The world is all new territory to them. Good Luck.
B.E. answers from Portland on September 07, 2006
Hey there my name is B. and I am a mother of a soon to be two year old boy and he used to do the same thing and still does. With him it was nightmares. His father used to do the same thing when he was little. His mother said sometimes it was so bad that he wouldnt even wake up during the nightmare she would just have to hold him to get him back to sleep. With my son it was the same way i would rock and sooth him back to sleep and there is this same old song I sing to him everytime. At one point his room was really crowed or there was things in the way of his nightlight that would make shadows that also gave him nightmares. I do recommend that you have a nightlight in his room to help. Also talk to him and wish him sweet dreams everynight or nap time before he goes to sleep it helps relax his brain functions for a good night sleep. I wish you luck and lots of patience. GOD BLESS
S.F. answers from Rochester on September 13, 2006
I am the mother of a two and a half year old girl. Her night terrors started around the same age as your son's. The first few times this scared me to death! Everything runs through your head... "What has happened to cause this" was a major thought. First you need to know this is normal, second, it will pass (both he will be ok when it stops and most children outgrow these). Read..Read..Read look up sleep disorders.
I have learned that my instinctive thing was to talk to her or hold her or sing to her to calm her. (She would end up fighting me then making her terror worse!) Sooo hard not to, but if you do these most likely it will prolong his screaming,fighting,kicking etc. What I do is sit on the floor next to her just to be there then I can hold her right when he comes out. Another thing is make sure he is getting enough rest because if he is tired or stressed then they will be more often. Basically fulfill every need before he goes to sleep, food etc. I have seen her night terrors become less frequent and less disturbing when all is well in her surroundings. Like I said READ as much as you can about it then do what works for him. But overall it does sound like Night Terrors and mostly know that like with all parenting it will work itself out with patience and time. Good Luck!
K. answers from Allentown on September 13, 2006
my son starting having "Night Terrors" just after his 1st birthday. He would wake up screaming over and over and crying. He would not seem to realize I was there when I would try to soothe him. As it turns out Night Terrors are different from nightmares. The baby is in a state somewhere between sleep and awake. Once the terror stops they will not recall what scared them. You should try not to interact with them too much when they do this because it can prolong the episode. Just let them go until its over and they wake up enough to calm themselves down they you can soothe them and put them back to sleep. Trust me they don't last too long if you just stop yourself from stepping in.
K.M. answers from Philadelphia on September 07, 2006
My son is 11 months old and has done this once in a while for the past few months. He only does it at nighttime now, but his breathing can get so hysterical that it's hard to get him to go back to sleep right away. It is kind of freaky & my husband has convinced me also that it's nightmares. I plan to discuss w/ the doctor at his 1 yr appt., but have been assured by my friends that it's nightmares.
G.W. answers from Philadelphia on September 07, 2006
nightmares are possiable
D. answers from New York on September 07, 2006
I know that this isn't going to help much but, My son went through the same thing when he was about that age. My doc gave me some info on it. It's called night terrors, and it's just a phase. The only real thing you can do is go in an comfort him, this lets him know Mommy is there and then he can go back to sleep. I honestly totally forget about this phase in my son's life until I read your problem. It didn't last very long, a couple weeks or so. It is somewhat normal, lots of babys experience this. Just like everything else, this to shall pass.
M. answers from Providence on September 07, 2006
I have an eight month old, and she went through the same thing. It lasted about a month, and all she really needed was to be comforted, and she would go back to sleep. It would end day naps for her too.
It still happens occasionally, but it didn't last very long, maybe three weeks or so.
K.P. answers from Philadelphia on September 07, 2006
Hi R., A friend of mine went through this with her 10 month old and she ended up having an ear infection. If he gets a fever, I would take him to the Dr. and get his ears checked out just in case.
A. answers from Washington DC on September 07, 2006
Both my boys and I had those when we were young. Your little boy might be having night terrors. It freaks you out at first. The best thing as you have done is comfort him. My 3 year old is still having them, usually when he is over tired at night. As soon as he starts my 2 cats and dog run to him now. The can soothe him better than I can!! The night terrors usually go away by the time they are five.
L. answers from Pittsburgh on September 07, 2006
It does not sound like "night terrors" to me. If they were he would be shaking and not easily lulled back to sleep. (night terrors run in my family). It sounds to me like my daughter. Get him to the peditrician and have his ears checked out. It took us months to figure out why my daughter would scream like a banshee then on one of her visits the ped. said, she has fluid built up behind both her ear drums. We had tubes put in, and not only did the screaming stop, but (she was a year old at the time) she started talking.
A.D. answers from Washington DC on September 07, 2006
My son does the very same thing. It is heart breaking I know! The doctor told me that I do not burp him enough after meals and the air trapped is very painful. I do try to do it better, however it has not disappear totally.