Night terrors - in an infant? (skeptical) - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 13 Old 08-19-2003, 01:19 AM - Thread Starter
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DS (4 months) has been having some problems for a month to a month and a half. When napping, he will occasionally start screaming-crying. Sometimes he will cry himself awake, but sometimes the crying will suddenly stop and he will remain asleep. Like I said, this started when he was 2.5 - 3 months old. It started occurring very rarely, but the frequency has increased. It is still not common, but now happens maybe once every week or two. It has never happened at night (he sleeps from 9PM until 7AM usually, waking twice to nurse).

I asked the ped ( - another post, short version - we are finding a new ped) about it and she immediately blamed it on night terrors or gas. I don't believe that it's gas - he has never had a problem with painful gas, nor has he had a problem "releasing" his gas .

Night terrors don't quite seem right, either. For one thing, if that's really what this is, we'll have to start calling them "nap terrors" - he's never had one at night. But from the reading that I've done, it sounds like night terrors usually affect "kids" between the ages of one and, say, eight. Now ds is advanced, but even *I* find it hard to believe that he's *that* advanced .

At first (whrn it wasn't happening very often), I jokingly attributed it to nightmares, but it's happening more frequently now, and I am wondering what the problem really is.

Any experience/advice would be appreciated - I just am having a tough time agreeing w/the ped's assessment, although that certainly could be due to the fact that she seemed to already have her mind made up before I completely explained the situation.

Thanks for any advice.
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#2 of 13 Old 08-19-2003, 01:28 AM
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That's what happened when my kids were teething- about the same age.

Michelle -mom to Katlyn 4/00 , Jake 3/02, and Seth 5/04
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#3 of 13 Old 08-19-2003, 01:42 AM
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I don't have any answers for you, but I can tell you that both of my children did this as infants....suddenly cried out during sleep. I always thought, "What do infants have nightmares about? Running out of milk?" I guess I always chalked it up to that and it stopped eventually. Maybe it's the start of separation anxiety too? It usually begins around 6 months, but that's only the mean age.... I hope it stops soon for you.
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#4 of 13 Old 08-19-2003, 11:07 AM
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my dd (now 2 1/2+) had nightterrors after she was 2, and right after we left her with MIL for an hour while visiting....she screamed the whole time until we got back. It lasted a couple months and we used homeopathics and they helped. But considering how young your ds is, I wouldnt think it was that. JMHO
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#5 of 13 Old 08-19-2003, 12:06 PM
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DD has never done that if one of us is close by to her when shes sleeping. She's only done it when we are not in the bed with her - cries or waah's for like 2 seconds then stops and goes back to sleep! I think it may be because she twitches or jumps and theres nothing there to stop her from twitching awake and crying. Its either that or she is aware that there is no warm body next to her and it startles her.

I don't really believe in that "night terrors" thing either, at least not in babies that have their every need met - what do they have to be scared of/nightmare about?
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#6 of 13 Old 08-19-2003, 01:01 PM
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Wow. Thanks for posting this. My ds is having the same thing happen and I've been wondering about it also. It's such a sad sound...not like any of his other cries or sounds. It just breaks my heart when I hear it. I think my ds is teething too...lots of drool and his hand (or my boob ) is *always* in his mouth. Maybe it's just a teething pain while he's sleeping? Oh, I wish someone would invent a baby thought translator!! heeeeheh
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#7 of 13 Old 08-19-2003, 01:08 PM
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Might be teething. It could also be a bad dream - dd (5 months) has these from time to time. As they become more aware of their surroundings they also become aware that they are separate from you (ie separation anxiety) - in real life and dreams. It was originally thought that kids this young couldn't have separation anxiety because they didn't yet 'know' mommy was separate from themselves, but recent research seems to indicate that they do.

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#8 of 13 Old 08-19-2003, 05:27 PM
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This happened with my baby girl too! I used to hate them so much it started almost right when she was born (maybe 1 week old when she had her first) and continued to maybe 3 or 3.5 months.

It was the saddest of cries and most of the time she would sleep right through them, me cuddling her of course. When some mom posted this same topic a while back I said I thought it was baby missing the cosmos and God - talk about separation anxiety!
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#9 of 13 Old 08-19-2003, 06:07 PM
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My DS does this too. I am not sure what it is. It is not seperation anxiety with us I don't think, it usually only happens during naps and he naps a lot with one of us or on our chest. The first time it happened I was talking with a friend and he cried like he was really upset for about a second and didn't seem to even wake up. She was really worried, she thought he was going to start screaming and was terrified- she has no children and is basically scared with all that they entail.


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#10 of 13 Old 08-19-2003, 06:13 PM
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my ds does this occasionally too - he is 15 weeks - it is a really sad cry, doesn't wake him up, tho.

the teething theory is interesting to me since he is beginning to drool and my boob or his hand is in his mouth almost constantly too....not sure i buy the gas theory either...and as for separation anxiety or nightmares...who knows, there is so much going on in their brains!!

good luck and hope they stop for your son :>
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#11 of 13 Old 08-19-2003, 10:08 PM
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I didn't get to expand on my answer before.....

It took me quite a while to figure it out w/dd. She would scream out a couple of times a night for a few nights in a row. Then it would be better. This went on (off and on) until the teeth cut through, starting when she was about 3-4 mos old (she didn't get any teeth until about 6.5 mos). After the 2nd round of teeth she got, I finally figured out it was related to teething and would give advil or tylenol before bed. When I gave it, no screaming, if I forgot, she woke up a couple of times a night. With ds, the first time it happened, I managed to remember and gave the med. I would use it every night for 2-3 nights. I don't like to overmedicate my kids, but they needed their rest. During the day, I avoided the meds if at all possible- gave frozen breastmilk, cold washcloths, etc. Hope you get it all figured out.

Michelle -mom to Katlyn 4/00 , Jake 3/02, and Seth 5/04
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#12 of 13 Old 08-21-2003, 01:31 AM
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My dd now 11mos did this often from the time she was born. She still does but now very infrequently. I would watch her face and she always had the same facial expressions before she did it. I'm sure it can be contributed to different things (although teething is not it for dd because she JUST cut her first two this past month). I believe it's nightmares of a different sort ...I believe in past lives and that babies can remember a lot more than we give them credit for. That's just my spirituality and my opinion. But if you're open to it, watch her face and hands for gestures as she sleeps, especially right before she cries aloud. I think it's pretty interesting. I usually just talk to her, tell her it's alright, and that's she's safe as she drifts back into deeper sleep.
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#13 of 13 Old 08-23-2003, 12:43 PM
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Oh my goodness! I'm SO glad you posted this. DS is 15 weeks and does the same thing! Screams like he's terrified, out of the blue. I never thought it could be related to teething--I don't think he's started that yet. Anyway, glad to know we're not alone here.

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