RLS in baby?

Just putting this out there to see if anyone has thoughts?

I'm here in NZ with my 6 month old grandson . I notice that at times he gets very agitated and tries to stretch his legs. I am able to give him relief by holding his feet very tightly and also his calves. I also hug him tightly into my chest. These actions seem to calm him.

Naturally, I'm thinking "restless legs"? He is breastfed but just starting on solids , so there could be an element of food triggers.

My first memories of rls are from being in torture on long flights between East Africa and UK when I was 5 yrs old. Both my parents are dead , so I can't ask them what my babyhood was like!

My question is - does anyone have any knowledge of rls in young children or whether there is anything in the literature on this.

Now! Stop choking on your fried kipper and put some thought into this!

Cheers.From stormy New Zealand.

12 Replies

  • Is"choking" really the best association HU can come up with for this post???

    Come on!

  • Well you did say choking :) :p

    I could imagine it is - if its genetic it will be present from birth. I was told by my mother that as a toddler I was plagued by RLS and she took me to a number of Drs who all put it down to growing pains.

    I cannot remember these appointments or even the RLS but I know it was when I was about 2 or 3, so it can definitely be in children that young so no reason why it can't be in younger. Fast forward 25+ years and when the net came along I could research and found out it was RLS and not some strange growing pains that keep going after I stopped growing.

    Not sure what response you'd get from a Dr, my gut tells me you'd be told 'growing pains' as they would be reluctant to diagnose an infant. Plus the fact that the agitation could be down to hunger, tiredness ect. Could be teething starting and that as you'll likely remember is a nightmare time for the kids,( and parents!).

    Is there any pattern to the agitation? Is it occurring in the evening?

    Hope that its not RLS and just something like teething - its an awful sentence on anyone!

    Take care.

  • Good thought- I'll keep a record of the pattern- he is teething, so that could be a factor.

    Thanks for the personal history- I suspect that I had a similar background.

  • My RLS is genetic, but i never suffered when i was little thank goodness. But little ones can show symptoms of RLS. There is a book out there on children with RLS. I cant remember what its called or the name of the lady doctor who's book it is. Nightdancer would know, she saw this lady at a seminar in the States. You might find it on Amazon. Oh and i have seen a video a mother made of her young baby, at night and the poor wee one was definately showing RLS symptoms when trying to sleep, that was on another RLS group i belong too.

  • Thanks- very interesting- I'll follow that up. He's a grand little lad- just hope it is not a life condition.

  • Hi Madlegs,

    I know of several very young children who have a RLS diagnosis and have seen the same distressing video Elisse refers to. The book Elisse has mentioned is by Dr Judith Owen (s?) and is "The Clinical Diagnosis Pediatric Sleep Diagnosis and Management of Sleep Problems. The latest edition was in 2015.

    It always pays to be vigilant but I know for a fact that where RLS is concerned I am hyper vigilant. For example many babies get agitated and stretch their legs around but don't go on to develop RLS. My grandaughter was a very "tetchy "baby, never settling, always jumpy whilst trying to sleep, always kicking her little legs about and not settling from around 4 months old. My first thought was OMG she has RLS but this grandaughter who I love dearly is actually my step grandaughter and there's no family history of RLS in her gene pool. She is now 9 years old with absolutely no signs of RLS

    So you see where I am going with this. As we suffer greatly from this wretched condition we are naturally on our guard for signs and symptoms and maybe (and I pray so ) your little grandson is just a lively little fella. Sometimes fear can make us see something sinister in what is innocent. That said I am sure that I will be watching my biological grandaughter like a hawk!

    Pippins2 x

  • Thanks Pipps for the name of the doctor and the name of her book.

  • You have so exactly expressed my feelings- thank you.

  • The youngest I remember it myself was around 4 or 5. I have 4 children, 2 suffer with it. Both started showing signs around the same age as I did, but I never noticed anything in them as babies.

  • I detected it in my son when he was 3 and in great distress. He still has it, as does one of my daughters, as does my sister and my cousin.

  • It's a heartbreaking thought. Would it be worth emailing Dr. Buchfuhrer, who usually responds very quickly, to see what he thinks? He is so experienced.

  • Good idea- never thought of that! Thanks.

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