My 6 month old baby has been doing this 3 nights in a row. He suddenly wakes up screaming. Holding him doesn't help, he keeps moving his header right and left, ignoring me. It can keep going for several hours.

His puts his hand in his mouth and shakes around. He throws away the pacifier.

Giving him food calms him down temporarily, although he jumps on it as soon as he sees the bottle coming.

I also tried acetaminophen and homeopathic drops for teething.

Is he having a growth sprut? Extra hungry? Teething? Ear infection?

He is also very nervous during the day.

  • how is his tummy? Any diarrhea, gas, or spitting up? My oldest had some food intolerances (milk protein) and what you are describing was exactly how he was, mostly because he was in pain. He would want to eat too, just like you describe, which would temporarily help, till the food hit his intestine and he would start screaming all over again. Not saying it's food related, but maybe pain related. I'd take him to the dr.
    – Jax
    Commented Dec 27, 2014 at 4:02

1 Answer 1


Though my experience with it started when my daughter was around 3, what you are experiencing sounds about the same. It could be night terrors. We call it "lights on but nobody home". My daughter will wake up screaming for mommy and won't recognize myself or my husband, and thrashing or pushing things away in the air. Now we found pretty much our trigger and that is her having to go to the bathroom. What we think is happening is she is partially awakened by the need to go, but doesn't fully come awake so is still in that spot between REM and awake. The brain is still kind of dreaming. We can usually guide her to the bathroom and get her to go and she wakes up more fully. If she says she doesn't have to go to the bathroom and is still out of it I can sing to her and that helps a bit. Then we try the bathroom again. I think the cold of the seat probably helps bring her out. It still terrifying all the same and possibly hereditary as I still experience similar episodes from time to time and I was a sleepwalker as a child.

So my suggestions are 1. as always if you are really concerned talk to your pediatrician or ask you pediatrician if he/she know of anyone who you can talk to about your child's sleep episodes. This should be first step as they can rule out things like ear infection, colic, food/environment allergy or infant seizures for example (not a complete list just examples of things that could cause similar reactions). 2. Try to find a trigger. You say he perks up with the bottle, perhaps a warm(or cool to cold) bottle and some gentle talking/singing to him to bring him around more. Change his diaper and clothing or just strip him down to his diaper for the rest of the night, use cooler wipes or warmer wipes one might "wake" him up. Talk to him and sing gently to him. As long as he isn't in physical danger, it is a scary time but may not be much to be done for it. He will probably grow out of it but if not continue to push your pediatric staff to help you find an answer, be it sleep study or finding a more sympathetic ear.

  • I actually see now that it can happen to him during the day, fully awake
    – Nathan H
    Commented Dec 24, 2014 at 15:43
  • Take some time to write down everything you have noticed in a list. Times, dates and any environmental factors you can think of. Organize it and bring your concerns to your doctor. Don't bring him/her a well it looks like "x" as they may focus on that but you should talk to a med about this. Perhaps it is nothing but not sleeping well, but for your own piece of mind talking to a Dr probably will help. As a side note my daughter can look fully awake too but is still not quite there. Might be tied to nap times as well or if he dozed off and suddenly awoke. Commented Dec 24, 2014 at 15:48

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