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Re: 8 month old crying in her sleep

Posted by Helen on November 13, 2000 at 15:17:23:

In Reply to: 8 month old crying in her sleep posted by Lisa on November 13, 2000 at 09:10:44:

The behaviour of your baby (now 8 months?) sounds very similar to my 10 month old son. For the last month or so, he will often stir about 3 hours after he first goes to sleep for the night. At this time he rolls on to his tummy and crawls/inches his way up the cot until he hits his head. Sometimes he will turn a full 180 degrees until he faces the other way - all in his sleep - or sometimes he will sit up and start crying. When we have picked him up from the cot to resettle him, usually by rocking and cuddling, he arches his back, screams and generally thrashes about. Eventually he will go to sleep on me/or my husband but when we return him to his cot - the same behaviour repeats itself. After much effort - we eventually do get him to sleep but it takes up to an hour and may repeat 2 - 3 times per night.

Last night in desperation, we read a Chapter in our book by Ferber on "sleep terrors and night wakings". We had not looked at this book for a while, as Ferbers method of controlled crying hadn't really worked for us and so we had kind of given up reading it. However, he has an excellent section on sleep cycles and I now realise that our son's behaviour is probably not the same as the kind of wakefulness associated with sleep associations etc. that he would have had before 6 months of age (and when such practices as controlled crying are suggested). Rather, Ferber's Chapter says that this behaviour is a result of the transition from 1 sleep cycle to another where the child ends up in a partial state of sleep/wakefulness. Often, when they cry out and even have their eyes open they are not really awake - just very restless. Its a similar state to a sleepwalker. He doesn't have a great deal of advice unfortunately, but the "take home messages" seem to be:

1) This is a developmental stage and such behaviour should lessen with time.
2) It may be exacerbated by overtiredness, so its important to stick to sleep routines and daytime naps.
3) Intervening - like we have been doing - will probably make things worse, especially if you decide to actually wake the baby up. Ferber's suggestion is to stay in the room to ensure that the child doesn't hurt itself, but only intervene when the phase has passed (maybe 20 mins or so) and then just cover the child up (don't wake them or move them).

SO we have resolved to not get our son up when this happens tonight, unless absolutely necessary, but just to lie him back down if he is sitting up (otherwise I am scared he will topple over and hurt himself) and let him crawl around the cot on his tummy. We wil stay in his room, but not interfere in the hope that afetr 20 mins or so he will fall asleep. I have certainly seen him fall asleep on his tummy with his bum in the air on many previous nights - but always tried to put him back on his side. I think now its best just to leave him. Here's hoping this works!

I hope this has been helpful. If your baby has the same "problem" as ours then you might feel, like us, somehat relieved to learn that there is no need to resort to controlled crying methods to deal with the problem. My husband and I feel that we can cope with the interrupted sleep if we know what is going on and have a plan to manage the situation. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like uninterrupted sleeps are going to be possible for a while - but at least I have a better understanding of what is happening.

Good luck, I hope this has helped!


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