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  1. #1

    Nightmares

    I need help! I have been worried about my 1-year-old daughter who ha been experiencing nightmares especially in the wee hours of the morning. She tends to wake up at around 1 or 2 AM and starts to cry hysterically that all of us at home wake up to comfort her. We tried everything: from picking her up to giving her milk, and even playing soothing music. Still, nothing works. We just wait for her to get tired. What should we do?

  2. #2
    Hi Venus,

    I wonder if your little one is experiencing 'night terrors'? With a night terror the baby will be crying hysterically but won't be able to be comforted easily and may even not recognise their parents/surroundings/toys at the time. Although the babies eyes may be open when they are crying hysterically they are not really fully awake. The good news is that babies and children don't seem to be affected in the daytime by having had a night terror at night-time.

    For most babies, night terrors do not go on for long. How long has this been happening? When it happens you should stay close to your child. For some babies it helps to move them to another room as this wakes them up and they can then fall back asleep. You could continue trying to offer milk. It sounds like you are doing the right things although I know it is upsetting when your child cannot be easily comforted.

    It may not be a night terror; it could be just a nightmare or your child feeling unsettled/insecure. This is more likely if you have recently changed something in her sleeping routine. Is this the case? e.g. if you have recently moved her to her own room then she may be feeling insecure about this in which case you could try sleeping in the new room with her for a week or so.

    I hope some of this information helps.

    Let me know how you are getting on.

    Best wishes,

    LJ

  3. #3
    Hi, LJ!

    Thanks a lot for your response! It could be night terrors that she's been having. I will try to move her to another room and sleep with her to make her feel more secured. ^^

  4. #4
    Hi Venus,

    Is your daughter sleeping with you? If not, this can be a comfort to her. Also, I would definitely be very careful about what you are allowing her to see and hear during the day. Is she seeing age appropriate things on TV? (i.e. things appropriate for a 1 year old) If you are watching TV during the day, and she is exposed to programs that have violence or anger in them, she will be affected by this and it could contribute to nightmares.

    Try no TV during the day, and playing soothing music during the day and see if this makes a difference. Be sure that any interaction between the baby and others is positive and that her siblings or caregivers are not doing things to her that would be scary.

    Please post back and let us know how she is doing.

    Warm Regards,

    Kate

  5. #5
    Hi, Kate!

    Thank you so much for taking time to answer my question. Yes, my daughter is sleeping with me and the rest of the family members. Regarding watching TV shows, we always see to it that she watches only those which are "child-friendly", like Barney and Friends, Teletubbies, Dora the Explorer and Mickey Mouse Club House. I will keep your advice in mind and try not to turn on the TV all day to see if it will make some difference.

    One thing that my 72-year-old mum-in-law said was that playing a very active or exciting game like hide-and-seek could also be a factor that affects her. She said that my child might be dreaming of the games she played throughout the day, and is too young to distinguish between her dream world and the real world. What do you think about my mum-in-law's insight?

  6. #6
    Being that your child is not even 2 years of age yet, if you are playing hide and seek, this could cause feelings of insecurity and fear in her. If you take her with you to hide, and you don't hide in a dark place, then she would probably be fine. But if she cannot see you during the game, she could think that you've left her. Little ones think this way. If they can't see something, then it's not there.

    Something I used to play a lot with my 1 year olds was peek a boo. Sometimes I would just hold a towel up in front of my face, and then I would lower it and say "peek a boo". They loved this. They could see the rest of my body, so I wasn't "gone", but they couldn't see my face until I lowered the towel. It made for a very fun game and I did it every day for awhile because they loved it so much.

    Hope this helps.

    Warm Regards,

    Kate

  7. #7
    Ah yes my little lad loved peek-a-boo when he was younger too!

    Sometimes even TV programmes which are aimed at children can frighten them. My toddler has been upset at seeing a man dressed up as humpty dumpty on TV so we too have limited that activity.

    But I do feel that the most likely explanations for your daughter having these episodes is that they are either night terrors or she is feeling insecure at night-time. Ensuring she has a bed-time routine and that she knows you are near at night (and responding to her quickly) should help with these.

    I do hope things improve for you and your family in the night.

    Best wishes,

    LJ

  8. #8
    Hi Venus,

    LJ mentioned that having a bedtime routine could help. Here's a thread where we talk about various types of bedtime routines.

    I also wanted to mention that I had a very sensitive child who did not like clowns (in much the same way that LJ's little boy doesn't like costumes or people dressed in a humpty dumpty costume). He did not like clowns for many years. He found them to be scary.

    So watch our little one's reactions closely and see if there is anything that is making her anxious.

    Please post back and let us know how your 1 year old is doing.

    Warm Regards,

    Kate

  9. #9
    Peek-a-boo is a classic. My two kids love it.

    We do have a bedtime routine. She usually sleeps at 9 PM, so we start the routine by 7. First, we eat dinner. Second, we take a bit of rest by watching baby-proof shows on TV. We still do fun activities at times, but we choose to do those more calming like reading books, singing nursery rhymes, drawing and coloring.

    I failed to completely eliminate watching TV shows. However, I was very strict when it comes to which programs my daughter should watch. It's been a week, and there was no more loud crying ever. She occasionally wakes up to ask for milk, but that's it.

  10. #10
    Hi Venus,

    That sounds like you are getting on well. I'm very glad your daughter has not been distressed at night recently. When my son was 1 year old I was still breastfeeding him in the night - this is not unusual as a 12 month old is still able to get the majority of their nutrients from the breast milk.

    The No Cry Sleep Solution (by Elizabeth Pantley) discusses the benefits of starting a bedtime routine so that your baby/toddler can be asleep between 7 and 8pm. Of course, it is entirely your choice if a later bedtime routine works best for your daughter, but I have found that moving my son's bedtime routine to this significantly earlier time (for us - previously he was going to bed with us) has helped him to sleep more soundly at night.

    Best wishes to you and your daughter,

    LJ

  11. #11
    Moving the bedtime routine up so that baby is going to bed earlier can also benefit mum and dad. Mum may just need some extra "quiet and relax" time, or mum and dad may need some bonding time (which is difficult to do when little ones are up).

    Also, it might benefit everyone to eat a little earlier in the evening. I understand this may not be possible if you are working, but dinner by 6PM each night is healthy to aim for.

    Venus, I'm so glad you saw a change in your daughter after making some changes. Sounds like you're well on your way to a happier, calmer household, and more rest for you!

    Warm Regards,

    Kate

  12. #12
    I agree that since my toddler has been going to bed earlier it has been nice to have some time in the evening with my husband. Although I miss my little boy loads even though he is only upstairs sleeping!

    Best wishes,

    LJ

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