Nightmares in Newborns? Trauma? - Pregnancy and Par...

Pregnancy and Parenting Support

56,307 members16,683 posts

Nightmares in Newborns? Trauma?

Elleiah profile image
12 Replies

Hi all!

So, my baby is currently 11 weeks old and has had a somewhat traumatic start to life. Initially, he had issues with his tummy (incredibly distended and constipated) and breathing. We were repeatedly shot down by our GP and local hospitals until he was 7 weeks old when I took him back to A&E again after vomiting with blood in it. After the implications I was just a paranoid new mother, a specialist confirmed he had Pyloric Stenosis and required immediate, life saving surgery. We were transferred to a Children's Hospital, and the surgery took place.

However, since coming back home (1 month now), my baby just cannot settle. Before surgery, he was such a calm baby despite being poorly and projectile vomiting everywhere. He slept incredibly well and barely cried for no reason. Since coming home, he has become increasingly more irritable and it is affecting his sleep. He keeps twitching and moving in his sleep and crying in his sleep (it is very sad sound, not like his usual hunger cry). It is now every time he sleeps or naps, and now it starting to refuse to go to sleep until he cries himself out. When he gets like this, nothing calms him really, and once he finally crashes to sleep, in about half an hour, he is then whimpering and crying in his sleep again. Can babies get nightmares or night terrors? Could it possibly be related to the surgery since this has only started since hospital? Lastly, has anyone got any tips on how to soothe him. My current methods are stroking his hair, rocking him, hugs and kisses, talking to him softly, offering a dummy if he is awake and willing to take it (he isn't the biggest fan of dummies) and of course the usual biological checks like feeds when he is hungry and changing when he needs it. Sometimes hugs and kisses help, but this is becoming rare now :(

12 Replies
Jonesy84 profile image

Hi lovely, sorry to hear your concerns were dismissed in the beginning but glad he now has the surgery done and recovering well.Has he been discharged from the hospital now or do you Harper another check up app to go back? It’s hard to obviously say what’s causing it. Babies go through growth spurts which causes them to be unsettled and they have one at 3 months. The other things I do to settle baby to sleep is stroke his nose and when he was little I would put my hand on his tummy and gently rock him that way.

Have you tried leaving white nose on. I did that in his younger days and it seemed like the noise helped to soothe him sometimes. Maybe he felt safe rather than being in complete quietness. I have heard of people running a tissue down the babies face ( I didn’t try that)

Is he formula feed and if so is he happy durning feeds. I had to change to the colic and constipation formula as my boy wasn’t enjoying his feeds and that definitely helped.

Could it be colic or trapped wind. For colic maybe try some drops. Also could you talk to your midwife. Mine was so helpful as they have seen it all before and might be able to give some tips.

The music I use now to help baby sleep is

Hope little one settles soon but know you are doing a great job. The early days are hard and bless him he has had it rough but lucky he has a mummy who is fighting his corner xxx

Elleiah profile image
Elleiah in reply to Jonesy84

Hi! Thank you so much for your reply :) Sadly, the hospitals where I live don't do follow up checks for Pyloric Stenosis surgeries (no idea why!). So, we have kinda been left! We did take him a week after his surgery as he was still being sick, but turns out he was also allergic to cows milk proteins, so we are now currently on a prescription milk.

White noise wise, he loves the fan being on and he also loves the sound of water whether that be rain or ocean waves etc, but I will definitely try that link! Thank you :)

I did think of Colic, and so have been using Gripe Water on and off which does seem to help a little bit, I think? Although I am quite lucky in the food department - he loves feed times and is already showing an interest in my food lol

Thank you again :)

Jonesy84 profile image
Jonesy84 in reply to Elleiah

Oh gosh bless him! Don’t be afraid to keep taking him back to the doctors if you feel that’s needed. I am currently having to do that at the minute as my little boy has eczema. I have read you other replies and like you say how can they rule out a lactose intolerance so quickly too.

Gosh when you said rain that took me right back to the early days as yes we had rain noise too. The white noise annoyed me but I could eventually sleep the rain was much more relaxing 😂

Colic is a hard one as some things work for some babies and not others. We used colief. I helped a bit but didn’t take it completely away.

It a good sign he is enjoying his feeds! As you know their stomach is really sensitive in babies until they get much older so it could just be normal but if it was me I would double check and push the docs again.

Good luck lovely xxx

Bigblueskies profile image

Oh you have both been through a lot! So glad you eventually got proper medical help! We had a similar experience with my newborn, I was dismissed until I got to A&E and then suddenly I was told his condition was serious and he had lots of medical interventions.

I think you need to raise this with a doctor. Do you have paediatrician follow ups? If not, do ask for them. If the GP dismisses you, try your health visitor. They can also refer.

I don’t know what might be wrong but your baby might have pain or discomfort. Trying a gentler formula might help, ask to get advice from a newborn dietitian. They are amazing! He might find cows milk too difficult to digest after his surgery and a dietitian will know best how his digestive system might be affected.

I guess one way to test if he is actually feeling discomfort is to try giving him paracetamol before bedtime or an easier formula to digest and see if it makes a difference.

Big hug and do demand the care you need! It’s too much for you to bear alone, without proper support from the medical professionals!

Elleiah profile image
Elleiah in reply to Bigblueskies

Hi! Thank you :) It was definitely stressful, but we got there in the end lol!

My husband and I have already said we are going to try doctors on Monday if there is no improvement just in case :) Our doctors don't offer any check ups and we don't have a health visitor so a bit stuck there, but hopefully we may be able to get an appointment.

He is currently on prescription milk anyway as he is allergic to cow's milk proteins, but I do wonder if Lactose Intolerance might be an issue to. Our doctors keep saying it is impossible, but I have family history of it and the surgeon said it was likely if I have family history. So not sure who to believe there.

Paracetamol does help, but also scared to just keep him on it I guess!

Will definitely try doctors again though, thank you :)

Bigblueskies profile image
Bigblueskies in reply to Elleiah

Good luck! I don’t know how a doctor can say so definitively that it is impossible. How ridiculous! I also have a history of it and my baby had bad reflux. The dietitian told us that when there is reflux it is always cows milk, egg or soy intolerance, especially when there is family history too. Even the blood test is not reliable because a negative doesn’t mean there is no cows milk intolerance. It sounds like your doctor is a bit out of date on all this.

I learnt the hard way that the only way to get through is to keep pushing with medical help unfortunately. If paracetamol works for him it means he’s in pain and he definitely needs a paediatrician to see him. You should also have a health visitor. Perhaps your local NHS service has a number you can call to get someone allocated to you, your GP should be able to give you the contact. They are very helpful once you get one.

I’m really sorry you are getting such a response from the doctors. I hope they refer you to someone who can help soon! Big hug!

Bella_Bee profile image

I feel for you, I'm sorry, must all have been very scary. Glad the surgery came just in time though. It could be a coincidence but worth raising with the hospital where he had his surgery. My little one is 13 weeks and at 5 weeks he started crying like crazy due to wind, silent reflux, colic, god knows what. Doctors can't agree. Is it only during sleep times or when you lie him on his back during the day too? If so it might be reflux. Is he constipated or gassy? I don't think babies dream until much much later at 18 months or two. In terms of comforting, I'd suggest loud shushing in his ear (reasonably obviously, not crazy loud), the colic hold across your forearm, swaddling, white noise and blackout blinds. That all works for me but all babies are different... Good luck, I hope you get there x

Elleiah profile image
Elleiah in reply to Bella_Bee

Hi :) Thank you for replying! He was tested and observed for reflux and GERD before, and apparently it wasn't that, but I am really not sure how much I trust my health professionals at the moment.

He is most unsettled when he is on his back, so night times are bad in his cot or if he is laying flatter in our arms, so we spend a great deal of time now holding up upright. Tummy issues are still there. Whilst he wees fine, his other end isn't so co-operative - goes 2 or 3 days with nothing, to be followed by lots and lots which goes literally everywhere and is fairly liquidy. This morning, he finally went again after 2 days of no poos and it went all over him, over my husband, all over his bouncer and his changing mat, all in one go. His stomach is nice and soft again now luckily, but I know in a couple of hours it will just be rock hard again followed by another 2 or 3 days of no poos. Doctors keep saying it is normal? I don't know how I feel about it though. I know I am not a doctor, but something just doesn't feel right there and when he does finally go toilet, the sheer amount of it is just... well... lots and lots lol.

Have always been scared of the colic hold, perhaps just new mum anxiety over that. But will definitely kick myself up the bum and try it!

LaurajaneF profile image

What an ordeal you have been through. And it makes me so angry around all the BS around reflux and babies. So just to add to the advice… what kind of lactose free formula is your baby on , there are different types and so aren’t so good …we ended up on one of the most expensive amino acid based ones which was a fight to get. I combi fed and had dairy issues myself. Also we paid for osteopathy for our girl which helped, if you can find a specialist in babies . It helped with laying down on her back a bit I think because the osteo released tension in the neck and upper back , we realised she hadn’t been able to tip her neck back properly. All related to tongue tie and the silent and normal reflux. first few months she had to sleep up right on me for most of the night I was a zombie for first couple of months. We safely co slept going forward , only way to get rest.

Well done for the fight so far ,

Good luck

Elleiah profile image
Elleiah in reply to LaurajaneF


It is very interesting to hear your daughter has tongue tie as my son has that too but was told it wouldn't affect him and nothing to worry about! Had absolutely no idea it could cause issues with tension in the neck and upper back - perhaps my fault for not reading about it after I found out. Will read about it more now.

Formula wise he is on Aptamil Pepti 1 which is purely just for cows milk protein allergies so I do believe that it still contains lactose. However, I do know that Aptamil Pepti Junior doesn't have either the protein or lactose, so I will ask if it is possible to switch to that and see if it helps?

Thank you :)

LaurajaneF profile image
LaurajaneF in reply to Elleiah

Oh my goodness ! Tongue tie 100% affects them, but unless you are combi feeding they don’t give snip to babies who arent breastfed. 😡 but anyway ours was missed as it was postier tongue . We had to find someone through the association of tongue tie practitioners website to come and check and do the cut there but it doesn’t always solve issues.

Have a read around the formulas yeah could be worth it. there’s lots out there nutramigen and Neocate . You know how much you have to fight and try anything , to see if it makes some improvement. I’m still traumatised by it all. . If you think it could be silent reflux which is sort of sounds like, and thing don’t improve or the formula doesn’t help . you could talk to gp about omperozole or lanzoperzol… sorry if you’ve already said you babe is on meds, and I missed that.

It’s bloody hard work, good luck!!

Sevy571 profile image

I' sorry you've all been through this :(I was wondering, do you babywear him? and do you roomshare or cosleep with him? (Following the safe 7 of course). Maybe that could help make him feel secure overall?

Best wishes ❤️

You may also like...