Skip to content
Includes Expert Content
Son Screams During the Night
boxingunderwater posted:
My son turned 7 months old yesterday. He is breastfed, and started solids about a month and a half ago. At first, his stomach got upset, so we cut back and only tried bananas, then avocado, anything mild that we made ourselves. He just started jarred baby food this week. He also switched to "4" diapers. His first tooth is in the whole way, and has been for a month, his second tooth is half way up. He started crawling at five months, and is now all over the place. Also, we practice co-sleeping and him in his crib...a little bit of both, depending on the situation. He's mostly in his crib, though. I just wanted to give you his background.

For the past four nights, he gets us up every 45 minutes, even nap time. He starts to fuss, then will scream and cry-without waking up--until we come to him. Normally, if we don't go to him in the first five minutes (Trying to let him "cry-it-out", even though we're against it), he will scream himself awake and become just hysterical. Normally, I will offer him my breast and it will sooth him, but he doesn't eat. Or he might eat for 30 second, but then he'll just roll over and go right back to sleep. I've read about night terrors, teething, stomach pain, etc. and I just don't know. He does grab at his ears while he's nursing, but I thought it was because he was soothing himself--he has no other symptoms of an ear infection. Any advice would be great! Thank you!
Sara DuMond, MD, FAAP responded:
Uggh. I feel your frustration! In your son's case, there are a variety of potential explanations for his recent sleep trouble. Ear infections are certainly a possibility and often times the symptoms are extremely subtle. Since that is something that is very easy to rule in or rule out, it is probably not a bad idea to have him checked by your pediatrician. Other causes for fitful sleep include separation anxiety (a normal developmental stage that begins right around your son's age). It is not pathologic, and is extremely normal (and thankfully, transient), and related to the fact that babies' brains begin to mature around this age, so that they can understand the idea of object permanence. Before this age, "out of sight, out of mind" really does apply....younger babies truly don't "remember" that mom or dad exists when they leave the room, because they don't have "object permanence", or the ability to know that even when objects or people are not within their sight, they still exist. Since he seems to soothe rather quickly when you go to him, this might be a possibility. Like you mentioned, teething is also a possibility. Night terrors typically manifest in a different pattern that what you are describing, so I doubt this is the cause. I hope that helps a little bit. Keep us posted!
Dr. DuMond

Helpful Tips

The What, When, How, and Why of Babies Sleeping Through the NightExpert
I absolutely love the discussions in this newborn community! I have noticed lots of discussions lately about sleep issues in babies that ... More
Was this Helpful?
23 of 29 found this helpful

Report Problems With Your Medications to the FDA

FDAYou are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.