My best guess is that the Very Hungry Caterpillar is really terrifying.
April 9, 2012 2:10 PM Subscribe
Toddler nightmares: what helped you calm the shrieking beast?
posted by sonika to health & fitness (35 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
My 13mo. old son has been waking up screaming and upon taking him into the pediatrician to get checked for an ear infection (of which he's already had two in his short life), he was diagnosed with nightmares.
His night wakings fit the profile of nightmares in that he wakes up *screaming* (not crying) and is fairly inconsolable. They're not night terrors in that he is truly awake and responsive when I go in to try and help him - he reaches for me and responds, though usually by screaming and crying more. Unfortunately for everyone involved, this happens many times per night.
I'm at a loss as to how to help him. The pediatrician suggested a white noise machine and a nightlight - both of which he already has and we've used every night since birth.
One of the unique challenges with this particular kiddo is that cuddling him does not help him in any way. He's never been soothed by snuggles and when I hold him and try to get him to relax, he responds by trying to throw himself out of my arms. At best, he wakes up *more* and wants to play when I hold him. I can't bring him into bed with me as he thinks that's a great party and does not settle down and go to sleep, but rather crawls all over everything and pokes at the eyes of any residents of the bed, who then obviously are no longer sleeping themselves. He no longer breastfeeds and giving him a bottle doesn't do any good when he's not hungry as he just won't take it.
Given that we have the nightlight and noise machine and he can't be soothed by snuggles, I'm totally at a loss. If you've dealt with this with your own kiddos, what's helped you? Is it better to go in and try to soothe him anyway or to let him wear himself out? (He can, under normal circumstances, self-soothe.)