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Screaming while Sleeping

My 6 month old son has started a screaming cry when he awakens from sleeping.  It's a different cry than I've heard before...more desperate than anything.  We have begun feeding him solids 3x/day.  He goes to bed around 7:30pm and wakes up full force crying at 9, 11, 3am, 5:30am. He's always woken up at 3am.  Needless to say, I don't get much sleep and my back is feeling after effects from the glider.  At 11 and 3am, I may nurse him...depending upon whether or not I can get him to go back to sleep.  What am I missing?  And do you have any idea why the screaming?

This is a difficult situation. It has forced me to develop a priority list of skill/tasks to address for poor sleepers. Start with recommendation #1 and proceed down the list as these skills/tasks are completed.

1.) I recommend a strict bedtime routine and creating a bright and stimulating daytime and a dark and boring nighttime. This usually takes two weeks to establish a routine.

2.) His daytime feedings should be spaced to at least every 4 hours. Feeding are measured from start of feed to start of feed.

3.) Try a later bedtime. We like to put our 6 months down around 10 PM as 6 to 8 hours of sleep get us to the morning.

4.) Try and get him outside for at least 30 minutes in the evenings. The outside is both calming and stimulating for children.

5.) A 6 month old should be able to settle himself down and should be placed in his bed awake. If he does not know how to settle himself down, he must be taught by placing him is his bed awake and allowed to calm himself down.

6.) Ask your doctor to evaluate him for the screaming. If you have tried “crying it out” half way and then go to him you may be creating the screaming. When parents attempt “crying it out” and give in after 15 or 45 minutes of crying, then they are training their child to crying. They are rewarding their child’s persistence or increased volume. If you want to try and let your child “cry it out” you must commit to letting them cry the whole night.

If all of the above has been accomplished it may be time to let him “cry it out” all night. see crying it out)


Written February 2011 by
Dr. Gordon, Orlando Pediatrician







gregorygordonmd.com is intended to help parents understand the needs and behaviors of children. The information presented in the site is the opinion of Gregory Gordon, M.D.and does not reflect the opinion of his partners. This website is owned exclusively by Doctors insights LLC. The advice in this site does not apply to all children. Always consult your healthcare provider for your individual needs.

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