Night Terrors

Cheryl - posted on 07/26/2009 ( 8 moms have responded )

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For the past 5 nights my 13 month old has woken up hysterically screaming, thrashing, tearing at his clothes, arching his back and pushing with his legs until his neck is way over stretched and every other horrible expression of pain or fear or something awful that one can imagine. This goes on for anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour and it is the most heartbreaking thing in the world to watch. He is 100% fine during the day so I know he isn't in pain but these experiences haunt me. I've tried everything, pulling his toes up as if it's a charlie horse, trying to nurse him (which always comforts him but only makes it worse during these episodes), taking his clothes and diaper off, holding him, talking to him, rubbing his back, walking with him, anything that you can imagine but it is if he doesn't even know I'm there. His eyes are wide open but he is completely unresponsive. I'm completely exhausted and very afraid that something is wrong, maybe something even worse than night terrors. And if it is night terrors, it makes me so sad to think that my one year old already has so many demons. Has anyone else experienced this? I have a doctor's appointment scheduled this week but it's killing me to see him go through this, someone help!

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Davanne - posted on 07/26/2009

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My youngest son has night terrors. When they first started we thought he was in pain and tried to console him, massage his muscles, all of those same things and then the doctor told us night terrors and gave us some info from the web. As hard as it was for my husband and I, it recommended not touching only making sure he couldn't harm himself...very difficult but effective...night terrors were much shorter only a few minutes most time anymore...better than a 1/2 hour or more. Another thing that I read was that a lack of rest may contribute. Times where our family was up early, busy, and missed naptime, he would have them more frequently. So I tried to intentionally make sure he had naps and went to bed at a decent hour, cut out the sweets close to bedtime that would keep him awake, and he has them a lot less frequently now. Hope this helps!

Cheryl - posted on 07/26/2009

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thanks for the advice...its helpful knowing that I'm not the only one who has gone through this. I know it can't be from a scary movie because he has never watched tv before. I can't sleep from the nerves of waiting for it but will try not touching him to see if it helps it not to last as long (don't know if I can handle not trying to soothe him but I'm desparate) *fingers crossed*

Daniela - posted on 07/26/2009

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i didn't know it could make there heart stop i was just telling her what my doctor told me sorry for the bad info on that part

Fiona - posted on 07/26/2009

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I went through and still go through this now. I am 23 and have been doing it since i was about 4. I have gotten to the point where I punch people and tell them to go away in not the best manor.
My family and friends have that have experienced me going through this have found that the best thing for them to do is just to leave it. I understand that it is the hardest thing to do, having to watch it happen and do nothing, but they have found, as I said, for it to be the best thing for it. It took my mum almost 15 years to work out that it was the best thing. Now, if I stay at a friends house whom I have never stayed with before, I need to warn them about it.
It has been the best cure for stress and depression for me. I know you son is only 13 months old, but maybe there is something that he needs to release? And this is how he is doing it.
I don't really know what else to say, as I don't actually experience watching it, but I hope that I have been, even in the smallest way, some help to you!

Velma - posted on 07/26/2009

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Both of my children do this. My daughter has done this for a while. I thought it was from watching scary movies but it's not because my youngest does it too and he doesn't watch scary movies. My son will be completely asleep and scream and we can't get him to wake up, the same thing with his sister. My husband and I just hold them until it passes. I never wake them up I have heard that it can make there heart stop. Good luck

Daniela - posted on 07/26/2009

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my son is 4 right now and he had night terrors for a year when he was 2 i know how heartbreaking it can be, my doctor said to me that they can last up to tell there 7 years old (wich i know that is not something you want to hear) but he also told me that the only thing you can do is one try to wake them up even if there eyes are open there still asleep, and i know is sux but he also told me that there maybe nothing you can do about it and that they have to grow out of it on there own, but is sounds to me that what ever is really going on w/ your son weather it is night terros or not it is really scaring him and to ask your doctor what he thinks

Rebekah - posted on 07/26/2009

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My brother went through this. We think it started with a scary movie scene in, believe it or not, the Little Mermaid (where Ursula meets her end). He too thrashed about and was unresponsive, often screaming about snakes. My mom held him and tried to soothe him but that seemed to only make it worse. So we did a lot of praying instead and in time he stopped having them. For a good article on the topic check out http://www.babycenter.com/0_night-terror... which has good practical options for what you can do (wake him just prior to the cycle in which he would have them) and what not to do, such as touching him, etc (cause it could actually heighten his fear and reactions) to improve his sleep. Also, I do recommend saying a prayer for yourself for strength and a prayer for him that he will have peaceful dreams and feel the love that surrounds him. I know it helped my mother cope with this situation and I also believe that it gave my brother peace to know she was praying for him as well (he was like 4-5 years old). Even though your little one is so young, he will be able to sense your love for him. I hope you will be able to find some calm in this storm and that your son's sleep cycle will normalize as soon as possible. May peace be with you!

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