My 9 m.o. waking up screaming

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  1. Hi moms (and dads),

    My DD is 9 months old now and has been recently waking up crying/screaming in the middle of the night. This started maybe a few weeks ago, and maybe once or twice a week she will do this. Many times she will just cry once and fall back asleep (that I am not too concerned about). Sometimes however she will really wake up screaming at the top of her lungs (like she is terrified - not just the normal crying if you know what I mean).

    Last night she did the crying back to sleep thing 3x and did the screaming once. Of course, when she did the bloodcurling screaming we rushed in to pick her up and console her but she couldn't stop crying. She was also shaking (would shake once every few secs). Is this normal? I don't know if she had a nightmare or what not but it is quite scary. I couldn't find much online except maybe night terrors, but that is more like a state where she doesn't know she is awake - in this case she is clearly awake but shakened.

    I hope this will pass... poor girl. I am scared this will make her afraid to sleep!
     
  2. sounds like night terrors. This happened to my oldest daughter a few times and my DH and I were terrified that something was wrong!!! My DD was completely unresponsive to our questions of what was wrong..she just kept screaming and she would also shake occasionally too. Each time I would just pick her up and hold her until she calmed down and fell asleep. Hmmm you say your little one IS awake? is there a disruption in her sleep during the day at all? or change in her routine? Could she be approaching a milestone like walking maybe? These things can cause many problems with sleep.
     
  3. She just started crawling (2 days ago)... we were thinking maybe that's it? Or possibly a growth spurt (she's 2 days from 9 month bday)... this started a couple of weeks ago though... whatever it is, I hope it passes!

    She had a very short nap this am (only 1/2 hr) and has been cranky and not eating except for nursing.
     
  4. is she teething or maybe an ear ache?
     
  5. This might sound silly, but this sounds like acid reflux. I understand that people and babies are different... but I've experienced episodes of waking up with heart racing and shaking uncontrolably about an hour after I fall asleep. It is scary to me, so to a 9 mo old I imagine it would be terrifying. After months of this, it finally occured to me that taking my prenatals or eating before lying down was causing it! The acid or GERD was cutting off my air. Once I changed my prenatal time and ate dinner earlier, I haven't had an episode in a month (when I used to have them 2-3xs a week)!

    Try not lying daughter down for an hour or two after meal. At 9 months, I'm assuming new foods are being introduced and perhaps causing some acid reflux? Just a theory, but easy to try for some relief.

    Good luck!
     
  6. I was going to say nigt terrors, too. My oldest daughter had those. They were scary. It was 14 years ago, so I can't eactly remember what I did! I'd read conflicting opinions on waking/not waking her up. I think I just waited it out by running in there every time it happened and holding her until she quit screaming. She eventually just stopped and that was that.
     
  7. Come to think of it, my youngest wakes up from nightmares sometimes screaming. (She's usually seriously angry.) She's 3, so I can talk her out of it by pointing out that she had a bad dream but it's over.
     
  8. It's possible that it's nightmares or night terrors, but more likely that it's just a developmental phase. Often times, infants will suffer from disrupted sleep patterns when they are growing developmentally. You mentioned that your DD started crawling, so she's probably just going through a growth of sorts (physically, emotionally, and mentally).
    I think that she is a bit young for night terrors. My DD has them, but didn't start until she was about 4 years-old. Night terrors are distinctly different and you should be able to tell the difference between a night terror and a nightmare. During a night terror, the person appears to be fully awake, but in reality, they are still locked in the moment of their dream sequence. They will have eyes wide open and they may be crying, screaming, talking/babbling, and even running/walking in some cases.
    When my DD has them, she looks fully awake and she cries quite a bit. She does not comprehend what I say to her and sometimes, the sound of my voice actually further agitates her because she is still dreaming. There have been times when she will look right at me, pushing me away, screaming, "I want mommy."
    My kids are almost 5 and 6 years-old now and I can clearly remember having similar experiences like you have described with both of them. It would seem that every so often, one of them would reach some developmental milestone and their sleep patterns would be disrupted for a short time. Seek the advice of your pediatrician if it continues for an extended period. Otherwise, just hang in there and be there for her when she needs you.
     
  9. Wonder what causes night terrors in very young kids or babies? What do they dream about? Mommy taking bottle away, mommy scolding, or something else?
     
  10. They don't know what causes them, but there are contributing factors like being over-tired, etc.
     
  11. Its sounds like night terrors to me. I used to watch a little girl that had them starting around that time. The first few times I thought she was awake, her eyes open and all, but then I finally caught on and realized she had no idea I was standing over her trying to console her. She is 5 now and still has them, but now I can actually communicate with her while she has one, she obviously is not awake but she will answer me like she is.
     
  12. Stupid question - but how can you tell if she is awake or not? I'm almost positive DD is awake during these episodes, she looks around and then starts crying again (almost like something is scaring her? the dark?). But she's a baby so I can't really communicate with her. Oh I do think she is awake - I remember when my DH was holding her she saw me then reached out her arms for me to come to her and hold her.

    So that would rule out night terrors?

    In any case, glad to hear that this is normal... hope it passes soon.
     
  13. milestones and growth spurts cause disruption in sleep so if she just started crawling that could be it. You also said she is cranky and won't eat other than nursing...she could also be hungry maybe? Hunger causes disruption in sleep and highly agitated babies/children.
     
  14. Yes, if she's awake, then it's not night terrors. If she recognizes you, reaches for you, responds to your voice, etc, then she is awake.
     
  15. ^^*sigh* update today: DD has a fever :sad: just a slight one... we have given her some tylenol, but she's been cranky, clingy and has no appetite (I've just been bfing her since she refuses to eat her solids)....

    I'm totaly confused as to whether this has something to do with the nightmares (i.e. teething? but I don't feel any teeth coming), maybe she is sick, or part of her 9 month spurt/development spurt? LOL....