Monday, October 20, 2014

Our battle with night terrors


Amelia's battle with night terrors began shortly before she turned two years old. She would toss and turn all night, make whimpering noises and cry. This happened every night. She would scream as if she was scared to death, completely inconsolable. No matter what we did, she wouldn't wake up and we couldn't make them stop. Mark and I eventually changed our sleeping situation and she started sleeping with me. It was the only way all three of us could get the most sleep possible. She continued to have the night terrors, but calmed down more quickly next to me. They were really bad. I hated it and it broke my heart that I was unable to do anything for her.

A night terror is a sleep disruption that seems similar to a nightmare, but with a far more dramatic presentation. Though night terrors can be alarming for parents who witness them, they're not usually cause for concern or a sign of a deeper medical issue. - KidsHealth

The night terrors went on for a very long time, occurring almost every single night. Finally, I started seeing a naturopath for my own personal needs and mentioned to her in conversation that Amelia was having night terrors. She suggested we take her off of dairy, most importantly milk. This was something Amelia's doctor had never mentioned, but I was willing to try anything. Amelia was breastfed until she was 18 months and then weaned so at the point the night terrors started she was drinking cow milk. We stopped giving her milk for a week and she slept every night without a single night terror. The girl loved her milk though and I felt bad taking it away. We tried almond milk, rice milk and coconut milk with very little success. I finally decided to try giving her a single glass of milk on the days she asked for it, in the morning only. The night terrors stayed away. We had finally found our solution.

On rare occasion Amelia will still get a night terror. Usually after we've been at someone's house and she has had milk in the evening. Her doctor said it's fine for a child her age (at the time he said that she was three) to only have milk once a day, so we stick to this. I know this isn't a solution for everyone, but it really saved our sanity. Night terrors are not fun at all. Many children suffer from night terrors and they can occur off and on for years. If your child is suffering from night terrors, my suggestion would be to think outside of the box and try different things to see if the terrors subside. I'm pretty sure we would still be battling them if we hadn't drastically reduced the amount of milk Amelia was getting.

Has your child suffered from night terrors?
Did they grow out of them or did you find something that helped combat them?

1 comment:

  1. Glad you found a solution for Amelia! I was babysitting a friend's little girl for the weekend once and she had a night terror. It was terrifying for me to witness it because I never really had any clue what they were. Hopefully your suggestion will help others.

    ReplyDelete