Night Terrors: Sometimes You Can’t Fix the Midnight Tears

My daughter has never been a good sleeper. I think there has been one night in 14 months that she has slept through the night. Typically it is just a quick diaper change or a bottle, but there are nights that she is screaming and crying hysterically. My husband and I have tried everything to help her, but sometimes, there is nothing that can be done. 

After a few months of this, I spoke with her pediatrician. I asked if it was possible for a newborn to have night terrors. I’ll never forget his response… “Why not? We don’t know what they dream about”. Very true. Just for humor’s sake, I imagine that she is dreaming that the milk has run out, but that is just to make me feel better.

After about eight months of these hysterical nights, Nya calmed down. She still never slept through the night, but she wasn’t doing the uncontrollable screaming. Whew! Over that hump… Or so I thought. 13 months hit and we are back on that crazy roller coaster. 

A little background information on our family: My husband and I work opposite shifts. I am a teacher, so I work the typical 7:30am-4:00pm and my husband works 3:30pm-11:30pm. He is a night owl, so he stays up after he gets home from work. This is great since Nya won’t sleep overnight. He just stays up and helps her as needed. Well, his work schedule has been just as crazy as Nya’s sleep. There are some days that he has to be to work at 7:30am and the next day at 11:30am. We never know what each day will bring. 

To allow my husband some sleep, I told him that I would get up with Nya during the night. <<I had no clue what that would really entail!>> At first, it started out with the normal diaper change, bottle, or binkie. I could handle that no problem! I honestly thought that my husband was overreacting. That’s when all the poo hit the fan. {Thankfully this was not literal poo.}

Nya started screaming and I went in to help her out. I picked her up because the normal diaper, bottle and binkie were not helping. She arched her back and screamed right in my ear. I carried her out to the living room and laid her on the floor. She continued to arch her back, roll around and scream/cry. I tried rubbing her back and talking to her, but that seemed to make it worse. A binkie offering was rejected. Her diaper wasn’t wet or messy. A bottle was rejected with flailing arms and louder screams.

My only option was to scoot back and watch her. I made sure that she couldn’t hurt herself by rolling around. It was so hard to watch her scream and cry but not be able to help her. After about seven to nine minutes of screaming, she calmed down. She then took a bottle and went back to sleep. Her eyes never opened during this episode. She was fully asleep during all of it.


I sincerely hope that no one reading this experiences this. It is one of the craziest things I have ever witnessed. My husband and I just scratched our heads while Nya was going through this. However, if someone is experiencing the same things and can’t figure out what is happening, I hope this blog helps. There is nothing you can do to help. I know. It STINKS! Just make sure your little one is in a safe space and be ready to cuddle them when they come out of it. 

My pediatrician assures me that most children grow out of night terrors. I am just patiently waiting for that day…

Does your child suffer from night terrors? What advice do you have?

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2 Responses to Night Terrors: Sometimes You Can’t Fix the Midnight Tears

  1. Bex September 6, 2018 at 7:59 am #

    Both my kids have night terrors. They didn’t begin until around ages 2-3 and seem to correlate with an upcoming stress or just being overtired. We’ve tried many things but just letting it play out while keeping them safe is the quickest way to end it. My oldest is 10 and her night wakings (She is also prone to sleepwalking) have drastically decreased with age. Hang in there – I know how exhausting and scary this can be.

    • Lyndsey
      Lyndsey September 6, 2018 at 8:28 am #

      Thank you for your kind words and support!

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