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Are they night terrors, nightmares, or something else?

My 5 month old son has been crying or screaming in his sleep about twice a week. It doesn't matter if he's in his crib or being held. There is nothing poking or pinching him. It's unusual for him to cry or scream. He's a very happy baby... unbelievably so actually. So it scares the bugeezis outta me when I hear and see him do this. When I try to comfort him or pick him up to soothe him he crys harder or screams louder and takes several minutes (may not seem long to some parents, but he rarely ever cries and when he does, is soothable immediately) to soothe him. I was wondering what is going on with that and if there is anything I should or should not do when he does this. Do night terrors even start this early? I'd appreciate some input.. It breaks my heart to see him like that.


Asked by alinker at 10:42 PM on Jan. 23, 2009 in Babies (0-12 months)

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Answers (6)
  • Yes night terrors can start that young. My daughter had them for a while and was completely inconsolable. In fact if we tried to hold her she would scream & cry louder & for longer. It's best to just leave him alone, as long as he's safe, don't try to talk to him or wake him up. Being over tired can trigger them so make sure he's getting enough sleep during the day. Also if it's happening twice a week I'd mention it to his Dr. as well.

    Answer by princesspalace at 12:07 AM on Jan. 24, 2009

  • may be a little gassy... that is very painful for a little one

    Answer by VictinaG at 10:46 PM on Jan. 23, 2009

  • it's possible it's night terrors, especially since if you touch him or move him he cries harder. HOwver, it could be something else as well. If he sounds in pain, I would have a dr check him out. My 11 month old for the past week has been doing the same. We thought it could be acid reflux, and she was getting heartburn at night. We put her on some medication, and she has been sleeping through the night. It doesn't hurt to check with a dr. I know the feeling though, it is so scary, and hurtful when you can't comfort them. Hang in there and keep loving him!

    Answer by avpriddis at 10:47 PM on Jan. 23, 2009

  • My daughter is the same way and she still does it once in a great while "shes 7 1/2 months."
    but yes it is night terrors and they can start early as possible....They may do it because...maybe something or someone scared him that day...or if he fell and hit his head on the floor it might be from that...or they dream about them being in your belly. You can't really do anything about it...It really sucks but They'll eventually grow out of it...

    and yes when my daughter scream really loud in the middle of the heart pounds so hard and fast!

    Answer by nicole0709442 at 10:47 PM on Jan. 23, 2009

  • My 5 month old has been doing this a couple times too. It's probably teething. I always run in to check him when he starts crying and screaming and his eyes will still be closed but his fingers are in his mouth. It is very common for teething to wake babies up in their sleep. When he does this I quietly give him tylenol and put his nupi back in his mouth and he normally goes back to sleep. Sometimes I give him tylenol before he goes to bed if it's already bothering him. It's so sad to see our little ones in pain. Your situation sounds similar to mine. Hope this helps.

    Answer by momofpurebliss at 10:51 PM on Jan. 23, 2009

  • He's very likely dreaming or having nightmares. My daughter (9 months) will now and then cry out or even laugh in her sleep. I figure it's just dreaming. I can't console her when she's crying in her sleep, she's better left alone. My son who is now 4 will call out and he's still sleeping. He'll also laugh. He is also best left alone during these times, but I can't resist asking him what's so funny when he laugh's, he sometimes tells me his sister is doing somethings funny.

    Answer by AmandaH321 at 11:05 PM on Jan. 23, 2009

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