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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2014

    Default Sleeping at night issues - nightmares?

    Hi everyone, I've just recently joined this forum today, and hope to gain some advice!

    I'm a single father and have part time care of my 7 month old son. He's generally healthy, no allergies (as we know at the moment), no health issues like reflux or anything.. but lately he's been having some sleeping problems, and they don't seem normal. I'm not sure if it's a health issue, or something like an emotional issue, hopefully a couple of other members have experienced the same problem so they can shed some light on the issue!

    His mother and I were lucky when he was an infant - he would only wake up two or three times for a bottle through out the night, and sometimes he'd even sleep from 9pm right through to anywhere between 5 and 8am, then if he felt like it he'd have another hour or two morning nap!

    How ever, in the past few weeks, it's changed completely! I know change is normal, but here's the thing, during the day he will have naps in his coat, or we set up a triangle pillow in the lounge chair and rug him up in a blanket. So that's cool! But, when it comes to night time and only night time, he'll happily go to bed between 8 and 10pm.. he always has a bottle right before bed, 120mls, that's the most he'll drink at one time, and so he sleeps from 2-4 hours, he then will start screaming, but he wouldn't be awake, it's like he's crying and screaming in his sleep, if we nurse him against our chest and rock him with an up and down motion, he'll slowly stop and fade off back to sleep, but as soon as we try to put him back into his coat, he'll start screaming again, but again he won't wake up, his eyes would still be closed and he'd still seem asleep. No matter how many times we attempt to rock him back to sleep and lay him back into his coat - he will scream each time we attempt to lay him back down.

    It's got to the point where I have to lay in bed with him, but he has to either lay on my chest, or on his side right next to me. How ever, even when I do that, there will be times through out the night where he will start screaming again, so I'll have to rock him back to sleep until he settles/calms down again.

    When this first started happening, I just thought he wanted a bottle, so I'd make one up and give it to him. He would start drinking it, but he'd only have 10-20mls and be off to sleep again.

    I know it's normal for some babys to have the need to be rocked or nursed to sleep, but it seems really strange that during the day when he has naps he's more than happy to have a nap in his coat or if we setup somewhere snug for him, and as soon as it comes to night, after the first couple or few hours of sleep, he will not sleep in his coat (or anywhere) by him self!!

    Maybe it's just a stage he's going through.. how ever the fact that he constantly wakes up crying and screaming makes me a little bit worried! I'm not sure if it could be a health issue, or some sort of emotional struggle?

    I should note that when he has that bottle before bed, he falls asleep straight away and doesn't burp, so maybe that's something to do with it? But as I said above, it's only been like it the past few weeks!

    I really hope someone can shed some light on this issue, and it would be a relief if I wasn't the only parent that had experienced this with their baby!


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    My first thought was night terrors, but he may be too young for that. Hopefully someone here can help you or give you ideas.

  3. #3
    harvs's Avatar
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    Default Sleeping at night issues - nightmares?

    Hi and welcome! Night and day sleeps for babies can be as different as, well, night and day...

    Not sure how much help I'll be, but I have a DS who went through a similar phase but when he was a bit older. He would go to sleep no worries, then after a couple of hours there'd be an ear piercing scream, and he'd cry out 'mama!'. I'd rush in there and, like you said, eyes open but no eye contact, I'd pick him up but most of the time he'd continue to scream and wriggle and fight against me violently for at least five minutes. I'm sure he didn't know I was there. Very frightening. I ended up coming to the conclusion of night terrors. Here are some things that I tried - all worked some of the time but not all of the time:

    Walking in a slow circle around the nursery, just saying 'mama's here, mama's here' over and over again until calm, then putting him back down while still drowsy but keeping my hand heavily on his body and still saying 'mama's here'. He would sometimes scream again once or twice but I'd continue.

    Holding him upright, sitting down and rocking strongly back and forth. Sometimes in this position he would burp, then be ok again.

    Putting on a low light in the hallway and walking to the door for him to look at the light, which seemed to wake him up enough to stop being distressed.

    Offering a bottle (like with you, he'd just take a little sip), then popping in a dummy (though there are many on here that would advise against this!).

    Co-sleeping (safely).

    When calm, putting him in his cot and bringing it into my room so that he could sleep knowing that I was nearby (sometimes putting my hand in his cot while we both slept. Very uncomfortable though!)

    In terms of physical stuff, I'd be thinking perhaps teething (worse at night usually), gas or ears. Have you recently started him on solids? Perhaps something is giving him a stomach ache?

    I'm not sure what this triangle pillow is. Does this mean he's sleeping upright/at an incline? Babies with ear infections often feel pain when they are lying flat, so if he is at an angle during the day that may explain the sudden change. (As an aside, I'm fairly sure that there are fairly strong recommendations against having babies sleeping on things like lounge chairs, particularly as they begin rolling. It might be worth checking it out?)

    It's very distressing to hear your baby so upset and to not feel like you can fix it. Something I read once that helps me a lot in these sort of times, is to remember that even if you don't know how to fix what's upsetting your baby, they can sense that you're trying, and that in itself is some comfort to them, particularly emotionally and in terms of a trust relationship. In my case, it was a passing stage and disappeared after about two months. Hopefully some other hubbers can be of more assistance.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    My DD will sometimes fall asleep while having her nighttime bottle so will not burp. If this happens she will quite often wake up screaming after she has been put in her cot. Some nights i would be going back and forth calming her back to sleep then a few minutes later she would wake up screaming again. This could go on for half hour or so before I would pick her up. As soon as I picked her up she would burp then instantly calm down and go back to sleep. Took me a while to work out this simple solution to such a worrying situation.

    Could it be as simple as this? Hopefully so as it sounds like this is really worrying you.

    I'm thinking that during the day when he is propped up with the pillow this doesn't happen as he is slightly elevated so can pass the wind himself.

    Hope this helps and you get the problem resolved.

    PS. As per PP, be careful when bub is sleeping with the pillow as this could be a sids risk.
    Last edited by 2giraffes; 01-05-2014 at 21:48. Reason: typo...grrr

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Achievements:Topaz Star - 500 postsAmber Star - 2,000 posts
    My dd goes through similar stages when she's teething. She usually self settles great alone in her cot but it all goes haywire when teeth start coming, screaming in her cot. It also makes it painful to suck. Have you tried some panadol before bed to see if that makes a difference?
    Good luck
    Last edited by Little Miss Sunshine; 02-05-2014 at 08:53.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Lala Land
    Achievements:Topaz Star - 500 posts
    Have you got the cot mattress propped up slightly at one end - sleeping on an angle is better for windy babies. You can use a wedge (baby shops) or a couple of phone books etc to do it.

    Also - is he getting overheated at night? Dont feel his hands - they will be cold - put your hand down the back of his clothes to ascertain heat. Being overheated contributes to night terrors.


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