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Please help! 8.5 month old wakes up screaming inconsolably

(5 Posts)
MrsD28 Tue 21-Feb-17 23:31:29

My 8.5 month old son has never been a great sleeper (he usually doesn't sleep for more than three hours or so at a time) but he has recently developed a new and very distressing behaviour. He wakes up (usually around 10 or 11pm, but sometimes in the early morning around 4 or 5am) and then screams inconsolably. We have tried lots of different ways of comforting him - cuddling and rocking in our arms, talking softly to him, shushing and patting in the cot etc etc but he continues to scream. He is so hysterical that I can't even get him on the breast (he is breastfed, and is usually comforted by boob). It is not his normal crying - it is a guttural scream. We keep comforting him until he calms enough to go on the breast, after which he will usually go back to sleep.

Some background: he was EBF but is now on three meals of solids per day plus seven or eight breastfeeds. We have a good bedtime routine (dinner, bath, story, breastfeed to sleep) which has been pretty consistent for the past few months. He has never slept very well and still wakes at least twice to feed (usually around 1am and 4am). He also wakes up frequently between 8pm and midnight, but can mostly be comforted pretty quickly. He has just dropped down to two naps (one in the morning and one in the afternoon). I almost always feed him to sleep - he will very occasionally fall asleep in the pram or baby carrier, but if he goes into his cot awake he just crawls around his cot (even in his sleeping bag!). During the day he is a very happy and contented baby - most of our friends and family have never seen him cry. He did suffer from reflux when he was younger but he has grown out of it (and this screaming is different from the reflux and trapped burp crying he used to do).

We are finding this very distressing, and are desperate for some advice. We are not bothered by the waking up (which is not unusual for him) but by the fact that he seems to be in so much distress sad. Crying it out is not an option for us (and he just gets more hysterical if we don't intervene immediately anyway). Does anyone have any advice / experience with this?

andonwego Tue 21-Feb-17 23:45:49

It could be nothing but it might be an ear infection. I would get him checked just in case. Could also be teething.

Cakescakescakes Wed 22-Feb-17 00:23:18

Teething? Does he settle if you try calpol or nurofen?

MrsD28 Wed 22-Feb-17 08:36:36

Thank you for your replies. He is definitely not teething (he has six teeth already so we know the signs well). Calpol doesn't seem to help - we have tried a few times but we struggle to get it in him because he is so hysterical and if doesn't seem to make any difference.

I hadn't thought of an ear infection, as he seems fine during the day - might take him to the GP to get this checked.

CityMole Wed 22-Feb-17 09:25:17

If he is on three good meals a day and having several breastfeeds throughout the day, then I question his need for milk several times during the ngiht (I have one of a similar age, also EBF, and he has his last BF when he goes down at 7, and that keeps him going till about 5 (whereupon I feed him/ let him suckle for a couple of hours. Have you tried comforting him during the night without using boob (it's easier to get tyou partner to do this). Ours sleeps so much better now that he doesn't wake looking for milk- he just takes on more at bedtime and early morning. Obviously all babies are different and you know yours best, but I just thought i'd mention it in case it helps you.

We also have the inconsolable screaming you describe and we have been at the doctor to investigate ear infection s and such like, but there seems to be no medical cause. We have put it down to his latest leap (do you read the Wonder weeks or follow the app? You should!) Ride it out, and be there for him- it passes (until the next leap hollow laugh/ fistbump. flowers

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