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Face rubbing during frequent wakings

(8 Posts)
Anticyclone Mon 19-Jan-15 09:48:02

Our 5 month old had slept badly for the last 2 months. He probably wakes 6-8+ times a night every 1 to 2 hours.

Every time he starts to stir his hands immediately fly to his face and he starts rubbing and scratching all over his eyes and forehead which eventually wakes him up. It's almost like a reverse moro(startle) reflex!

He has quite bad dry skin/potential eczema/cradle cap on his head and cheeks, so initially we thought it was this causing the rubbing.

We keep hoping that if we can clear up his skin, then maybe he won't wake so much at night. But then I realised that he never does this rubbing or scratching when he's awake and not tired, which makes me think it might not be to do with his skin at all.

Do other babies with good skin do this face rubbing when they stir at night? How can we help reduce it, because it really looks like that is what is causing him to wake up so often!

juniorcakeoff Mon 19-Jan-15 12:41:41

Overtired babies rub their faces, not very helpful I know but they do! What time are you putting him down, how is he sleeping in the day? I think the face rubbing is a consequence of his tiredness rather than the cause of his waking. Overtired babies tend to fall asleep easily but wake up screaming rather frequently.

sometimesyouwin Mon 19-Jan-15 16:02:52

My DS2 (9mths) is a rubbish sleeper and does the face rubbing thing a lot in the night. I co-sleep with him and as soon as he starts stirring he rubs his face and then I know there's no hope of getting him to stay asleep. I've tried stopping him rubbing but he gets really annoyed! I think it probably is tiredness although he gets some decent naps in during the day. He just won't stay asleep at night sad.

sometimesyouwin Mon 19-Jan-15 16:05:05

Meant to say his skin is fine so that's not the reason for it (although he can do himself some serious damage if I don't keep his nails short!)

PourquoiTuGachesTaVie Mon 19-Jan-15 16:13:13

Would these help to stop him damaging himself?

Then you can figure out what causes the scratching without worrying he will hurt himself?

Anticyclone Tue 20-Jan-15 09:25:20

Thanks for the comments. Looks like we will have to look beyond fixing his skin to achieve better sleep!

He generally naps for 30 min every 2 hours ish. Sometimes it's 40 mins but never more than that.

TheGirlAtTheRockShow Tue 20-Jan-15 12:23:57

DD does this! She has no skin problems.
She'll be asleep on me, I'll put her in the cot and she'll stir, start to rub her face and wake up! I'll try to hold her hands awa from her face and she'll get angry.
No ideas how to stop it, sorry!

Redling Tue 20-Jan-15 14:52:54

That sounds exactly like My DS who is just 5 months. He stirs when he's in a lighter sleep cycle and rubs his eyes. He's been doing it for a coupe of weeks (stirring after 30-40 mins without fail). I just watch the clock and make sure I'm there to resettle (shhhh and dummy usually!) it's a pain but I try to settle him back so he gets a longer nap.

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