Night Terrors or Spoiling?

Updated on October 30, 2007
S.P. asks from Seagoville, TX
8 answers

Hi, Moms!
My son is about to be 17 months old. He didn’t sleep through the night once until the weekend before he turned a year old. Since then, he’s been dong pretty well with sleeping through the night… until about a week ago. Every night for the last week, I’ll have to get up and go check on him because he’ll holler during the night. He’s not exactly crying or even talking in his sleep, it’s more like an “aaahh”. Anyway, he’ll holler and I’ll get up and go check on him and he’ll be laying there in his crib with his eyes closed. I’ll stroke his hair or rub his back until I think it’s safe for me to leave the room but less than an hour later, the same thing happens again. Last night, when I went in his room he was actually sitting up but before I could cross the room to his crib, he was laying down, eyes closed, seemingly asleep. This usually starts around 1:30am and goes on until 4:00am or later. When this first started, I figured he wasn’t eating enough at dinner & was getting hungry during the night so he’s been getting a bowl of oatmeal before bed. It hasn’t solved the problem though. Anyone know what this could be? Is he having night terrors or does he just like getting me out of bed & depriving me of sleep?

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So What Happened?

Thanks everyone for the wonderful advice. Things seem to be getting better on their own. One night he had me up for only an hour, the next night he woke up for only a moment and I didn't even get up. Then he slept through the night the next night and things are okay since then. I'm sure it's not over with, but I have lots of things to try, thanks to all of you!

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answers from Dallas on

Don't let him have anything to drink that is 'red'. It causes night terrors in some children.

Also, my pedi mentioned that about the time kids really start getting an active imagination -2ish...they start having more vivid dreams as well. This may also just be that he is starting to dream more and while not scary enough to wake him up, it is different that he is used to.

I would cut out the red stuff and see what happens. If that doesn't help, and it gets bothersome talk to you pedi...

Good luck...

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answers from Dallas on

It doesn't sound like a night terror. It sounds like sleep-walking but in his crib. He "appears" awake but isn't... which is like sleep-walking.

I think you should not touch him or talk to him. There's no need. I don't think you should be feeding him at bedtime either. If he's not asking for food, you should not get him in the habit of eating before bed. He'll never get out of it (for example my 47 year old husband STILL gets his chocolate milk before bed! His mom did much good, but that habit makes me mad!).

Mention it to the pediatrician next time you go in, but I think it's just a different stage of sleep you're seeing. As long as he's not sick, no fever, no other symptoms, just leave him alone. If you must go to the door to check, do it quietly without him knowing.



answers from Dallas on

My son does the same thing, but rarely now. when he is experiencing this, he will be CRYING in his sleep, but not awake. I will just rub his back or tummy (whichever is facing "up), and "shhh shhh shhh" him till he calms down and goes back into a "deep sleep". Since he is not awake when you are going in to check on him, rest assured he is not doing this to get you out of bed, or deprive you of your sleep! (That would be the case if he was actually awake, and waiting for you to play with him in the middle of the night!)

It is possible that the "extra" food at night is setting this off, too, so I would cut back on his after supper snacks, and see if that helps.

Hope you get more sleep soon!



answers from Houston on

Honestly, I'm not sure whether he's having night terrors or not, but either way, I would wait 5 minutes or so before going into his room to see if he goes back to sleep on his own. I have heard with night waking like that (where they are making noise, but seemingly still sleeping) that you should let them stay asleep and not try to wake them up. If he's just getting you up because he misses you, then that's a tough habit to break later. Try leaving him for a few minutes and see if he goes back down on his own. If not, then you're up anyway, so just go lay him back down and tell him it's not time to get up yet. My daughter goes through phases where she will wake up in the middle of the night now and then too, but she usually stops in a week or two. He could be growing or just going through a phase. I wish I had better advice for you! Good luck!



answers from Beaumont on

It doesn't sound like either to me.
Has anything in his room been moved or removed.
My grandson 14 months old did this when his changed his room theme. As soon as she put it back he is an angel again. Has he attached himself to a blanky yet, that helps allot. My daughter had hers till she was 4, and it fell to pieces. That's another thing my grandson developed out of the blue, he doesn't want to be covered with it, he actually puts it on your shoulder and lays his head on says night night we rock him and hum him right to sleep within minutes. as long as he is touching the blanky he's fine.
What about tummy trouble, have his movements changed.
It's hard to know whats going on in their little bodies.



answers from Austin on

What you are seeing are the effects of a burst of brain growth. These connections work to create dreams and increase cognition. You son is becoming more aware of his environment and likley is doing more dreaming. Since he seems not to be disturbed I wouldn't worry too much. This is a normal part of development.

: )



answers from Dallas on

My daugther started this last week...she is about to turn 17 months. I pick her up and calm her down until she relax's in my arms and then put her back to bed. If she does it again...I change her diaper and put her back to bed again. It comes and goes...I figured she was having nightmares or growing pains.



answers from Austin on

At this point, it may or may not be night terrors. As one mother mentioned, your child has many thing going on in his head from all he has learned in a day. I noticed that after a long extremely active day, at night of my babies did not sleep very good. Expecially after an event like a birthday party or excursion to ChuckyCheese. When they slept their little eyes would wiggle and they would talk, mur-mur and cry in their sleep. It was just too much in their head to digest. There was definitley a pattern.

Now as for night terrors, my son had them for alomst 2 years and there is not a whole lot you can do. If in fact your child has night terrors you will know, as your child will be caught up in an awful dreams that you just can't wake him from. And as another parent noted, the child will sometimes sit up and have eyes wide open and be crying or talking, yet still sound asleep. It is crazy, because you think they are awake yet the are totally unconsolable. Once the child is truly awake you will see a difference. If in fact, your child has night terrors it is really important to have wind down time prior to going to bed. Reading, soothing music, talk about all the things that make your child happy, happy, happy and pray for peace, happiness and a good night sleep will help you accomplish that goal. As my son got older we were able to talk about his night terrors. He was able to tell me about the "monster" or "situation" that scared him. So we would talk about it not being real and talk about all the happy stuff to go to sleep on a happy peaceful note!

As far as the lack of sleep, you child would never want you to be deprived, babies just don't think like that! And as a mom be prepared to never get a good night sleep, you will find that when you get it you appreciate it more. I found that my children would sleep solid for about 2 months then it was always something waking me up... first feedings, then teething, then night terrors, then potty training, then growing pains, then one would just walk up walk into my room and stare at me like, "why havn't you come to visit me in the middle of the night,mom?". Now they sleep through the night and I wake up and just go look in ther beds to make sure they are there and safe and their windows are locked!! (Yes, I'm wierd and a full time working mom, but my body is now better apt to an inconsistance night of sleep.) By the way, i don't think you can spoil them too much at this age... remember their only a baby once! Good luck!! CJ

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