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One of my 6-month-old twins has decided it's fun to scream before any sleep time. To be perfectly clear: he doesn't cry before nap time, and it's not a screaming cry, in fact it doesn't seem like he's in any stress at all. It's more like he's got a lot of nervous energy and needs to get it out, with high pitched screaming.

Eventually he settles down but this is after his brother has been trying to sleep for a half hour and is continually woken up and kinda frazzled looking.

He learned to scream maybe around 4.5 months old. Since then it has been something he does once in a while when he's excited.

He calms down when we hold him for a bit but even then, he sometimes screams while we're holding him. When I held him tight so he wouldn't squirm as much, it seemed to work for the screaming but he started to complain about not being able to move this time.

It's been going on for the last 3 or 4 days now and it's really disruptive to our routine.

We've tried leaving him alone for a while and then coming back, picking him up and putting him back down. It's worked before and it works with his brother but he'll just go back to screaming. He loves the sound of his screaming voice.

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Don't have a really good suggestion for you; what I'd go with is mostly, this is probably a phase, and it probably will suck for a bit. If you can, you might consider delaying naptime a bit to get him a little more tired before the nap starts. –  Joe Jul 21 at 17:24
    
You know, we had been considering changing the nap schedule before we started thinking about how to stop the screaming. Not a whole lot of thinking going on in general these days. Thanks! –  fet Jul 21 at 18:11
    
@Joe, you should make this an answer, 'cause it really is. "He's found something new to try out and will do it until it's not as much fun," and "adjust naptime (and invest in ear protection for yourselves)." :) –  Valkyrie Jul 22 at 11:40

1 Answer 1

I have a whole bunch of kids and the one thing they have in common the most is that every single one of them is completely different from all the other ones. For example, for the first few months of his life this one boy would not sleep when laid down. He'd fall asleep perfectly fine on your arm, but once you carefully put him down he'd awake within about 10mins and started to cry. You'd pick him up again, he'd fall asleep pretty soon, you'd put him down, he'd wake up... We soon learned that this particular child, unlike the others, just needed to be in contact with another body in order to be able to sleep. It was either that or crying.

All of my kids were carried around in a wrap (none of them was in a buggy/stroller/pram) and this boy would sleep perfectly fine in that. So for the first six months, either his mother or I would carry that child on the body all evening. When we went to bed, one of us would take him in the arm and, when he calmed down, try to slowly disentangle from the child and move him to the bed extension (like a small balcony) we had built. But I do remember bad nights when half the night I lay on my back with him sleeping on my belly, and the other half his mother had him in the arm, teat in his mouth.

The older he became the less a problem this would be. After a few months (probably a little less than half a year) we found out that he'd be perfectly content alone when wrapped very tightly in the carrier wrap, with his arms and legs firmly tight to his body so he couldn't pedal and struggle. So we made a little spectacle every night of wrapping him (he'd love it and giggle a lot), lay beside him for a while until he fell asleep (or, later, until he became calm), and left the sleeping room to do whatever parents do in the evening when all the kids are asleep. (Mostly this is about feeling tired, I think. :)) I think we slowly tapered out this practice before or around his first birthday.

I have no idea whether this tight wrapping, had we tried it in the first month, might have solved the problem then already. And even if it did, as per my first sentence this wouldn't say anything about the next child. but from my experience I'd suggest you try letting this child fall asleep tightly wrapped to your body. If that helps, try wrapping him tightly without your body being involved. :)

I'd love you to report back here what you tried and whether it helped.

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I love how you started off by saying "I have a whole bunch of kids..." And that someone else publicly admits that "being tired" is what parents do once the "whole bunch of kids" are finally asleep! –  Jax Jul 25 at 3:52
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@Jax: I dunno about you, but when you have to care for the kids all the time, when you (both) have demanding jobs, undergoing the everlasting tension between those two forces (any kid might get ill at any time, forcing one of the parents to stay home while they're under pressure at work), when you juggle with the wildly differing demands the different classes, schools, kindergartens make to parents, and deal with issues ranging from getting rid of the need for diapers to a pre-teenager's struggles to first sex for 7 days a week... I consider it well-deserved to simply collapse in the evening. –  sbi Jul 25 at 9:09

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