Could My One Year Old Be Having Nightmares

Updated on March 10, 2008
J.O. asks from Belpre, OH
9 answers

For the past month my son most nights will wake in the middle of the night crying like he is afraid and we cannot get him to lay back down by himself and sometimes he will wake during his nap as well. Could he be having nightmares this young? My husband and I are stumped on this we have tried turning on his ceiling fan, and also putting one of my shirts that I have warn that day and for a few nights it worked, but the last two nights he is back to waking up screaming. Any ideas on what could be wrong?? And yes we have tried the let him cry himself to sleep but that does not work I know his cries and it is a fearful cry. Help!!

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So What Happened?

Thank you all for the great advice. We found what the problem was my son was uncomfortable. I put him in nice warm sleepers because I thought well it is winter time but he was getting to warm I guess. I put him in a long sleeved onesie and he has slept through the night ever since. I am relieved and well rested. Thanks again!!

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answers from Raleigh on

Hi J.,
It could be that house noise is waking him up, causing him to be startled. I would suggest getting a white noise machine. I post this over and over, but I believe the one we have in my son's room is one of the reasons why he is such a sound sleeper. It drowns out house noise, and the sound is very soothing to all of us. Good luck...

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answers from Nashville on

He may be having what they call night terrors. Our son had them almost daily at night-time and during naps for sevral months from about age one to 2 1/2. Then it stopped for awhile and started up again for a very short time ,then stoppped again for over a year. He is now 4 1/2 and has been having them again nightly for the past 4-5 weeks. I asked the peditrician about it; he said often it comes from being overly tired or sleep deprivation. He gave me a write-up on it. It says very clearly that they are not awake during this time; it is basically like sleep walking. You are not supposed to try to wake him up. It says to try to hold or comfort them, without forcing yourself on them. Offer to hold his hand and reassure him that momma and daddy are right there and that you are all safe together. They can last anywhere from a few minutes to about 40 minutes. Also, they usually occur in the first 2 hours of sleep. Our son has his almost like clockwork...usually within 40-50 minutes after he has fallen asleep. It also says to maybe turn on a low light so that shadows don't scare him...because even though his eyes may be open, he is probably not awake. I know it is upsets me everytime our son has one..because he appears to be petrified each time and he trembles uncontrollably with fear. Sometimes he tries to run thorugh the house screaming NO! NO!. Last night he appeared to be trying to open our bedroom window. Very scary...stuff. Do you have access to a fax? I can fax you the literature our pediatrician gave me, or you can ask your pediatrician about it. Let me know if you would like what our pediatrician gave me on it; it may help you identify the episodes, help you with how to handle them, and give you some relief. Or I couldmail you a copy of you like. Let me know. Good luck and sleep well.



answers from Phoenix on

Yes they have nighmares this young I thought same thing when mine were younger and I asked Dr and they told me yes,not sure what brings them on but they do have nightmares. Not sure of anyways to stop them maybe give him something to go to bed with that makes him feel safe. Good Luck



answers from Parkersburg on

Are you feeding him anything right before you put him to be? Ice cream was the case with mine when little but he was a little older then yours .I have heard stay in his room where he can see you but dont pick him up til he goes to sleep too might help. Might take a few nites but I wish you all the luck! Might just be a phase that wil pass soon lets hope.



answers from Greenville on

Hey J. I have two children my self ages two and one and both of mine will do this specially my one year old son I honestly think that they are just having night scares because my daughter who is two has been known to get up and run to the bedroom still asleep crying but she has no clue what is going on. I have tried to just pick them up and rock them for a little while and that has helped some. if you dont mind me asking what dr here in new bern do u take your baby to?
C. Folsom
New Bern, nc



answers from Lexington on

it sounds like your son is having night terrors. both of my children have them on occasion, my daughter more than my son. they are not awake during these, and sometimes touching them can make it worse. for my daughter we would turn on the light and say her name. she would slowly quiet down and lay back down, still sleeping. for my son, we can just hold him and let him finish. he wakes up when he is done and just wants to be kissed and put back down. my mom told me that i had these when i was little, and my mom still has them. i think they are hereditary. just find a soothing technique that works for you all. hang in their.



answers from Charlotte on

Had he been sleeping through the night before? Rethink the nights and see if anything changed his routine.

If you are rocking him to sleep and them putting him to bed then he's not getting used to falling asleep on his on and relying on you to do it. A great book we had for our girls was Baby Wise. I noticed someone said don't put him to bed awake, that just opens a whole new can of worms.



answers from Raleigh on

My daughter was having night terrors at 18 months. I adjust EVERYTHING in the day time. At her sitters, she was not stimulated enough and bored. I switched sitters, she has ALOT Of outdoor play now, ONE nap instead of two (which SHE, the baby, insisted on) and made a strict routine at night and it worked. My pediatrician also recommended the Dr Ferber solve your childs sleep issues book. I read and used bits and pieces of it. Good luck
PS also make sure NOTHING is different from when he wakes up from when he went to sleep, IE dont let him fall asleep somewhere else then move him OR dont lay him down awake.. When they wake suddenly they are having the expectation that everything will be the same and everything is different.



answers from Chattanooga on

My son does this as well. He is having night terrors. I have to turn on his light and make him open his eyes before he will stop screaming.

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