Our 10mo DD seems to have nightmares a couple of times a week. She appears to be asleep but will scream and is difficult to calm down, even when she has opened her eyes, she is still really distressed. Is it possible to be having nightmares at this age? I was prone to night terrors as a child, so I am not sure if this is heritable. If they are nightmares or night terrors what is the best thing to do for them?
I have read that night terrors are genetic, and what you are describing sounds like night terrors to me. 10m old is too young for dreaming - nightmares will start after 13-14 months old. Sometimes night terrors are related to the child being overtired, sometimes there is no discernible cause other than heredity. My DS - now 5 years old had them often as a baby and toddler and he eventually outgrew them - if that is any consolation. Also, unlike nightmares, babies are not actually aware of their nightterrors because they are not awake even though they may appear to be. As far as what to do - nothing. You can go in and check on her, make sure there is nothing else going on, but don't try to wake her up. These episodes are more upsetting for the parent than they are a problem for the baby. Hope that helps.
DS1 has had night terrors on and off for the past couple of years - he is 11yo. It's more common in toddlers, though.
Very different from nightmares, in that he can't be consoled and is quite clearly terrified, running around the house with a mad staring look. The first time it happened we didn't know what to do and found it quite upsetting, but now we are used to them we just try to calm him down and lead him back to bed, although it can take 10-15 minutes. He has no memory whatsoever the next day.
When is it occurring? Night terrors typically happen within an hour or two of falling asleep, whereas nightmares are often in the wee small hours.
Apparently they usually grow out of them, and as they don't remember them it doesn't cause any lasting trauma.
Last night it must have been at 9 or 10pm, so it would fit with a night terror. It happens before we go to bed or just as we are going to bed. DD was also over-tired yesterday as she woke up from her nap too early and wouldn't go back to sleep. I also used to sleep walk, but I am now not sure if they were night terrors I had as I also seemed to have a dream element to them, though they were at about 11pm according to my mum.
DS1 had similar experience at about the same age, usually within an hour or two of going to bed. He was screaming and crying but clearly not awake. It was very distressing. I can't remember if they were set off by anything (eg being overtired) but they did eventually stop. Good luck!