Dear Bundoo: I’m freaking out!
Welcome to our new weekly advice column, Dear Bundoo! This is where we answer your parenting and relationship questions anonymously. If you have a question you’d like to see answered, drop us a line—or you can always stop by Ask Bundoo to have your question answered privately by one of our doctors or childcare experts. In the meantime, every Tuesday make sure to check out what our experts are answering this week.
My 15-month-old has been having what I can only surmise as night terrors. This has been going on for the past three months or so and will happen anywhere from 1-4 times a night. Sometimes they even happen during the day at nap times. He has the classic symptoms of night terrors (screaming, thrashing about, sweating) and typically calms down within a few minutes. He had them occasionally as an infant but eventually started sleeping through the night up until his first birthday. He has very little stress, no abnormal schedule changes, eats well, and is healthy and happy overall. He has the same calming bedtime routine nightly, which includes bath, massage, book, and bed. He happily goes to bed, and sometimes even let’s me know it’s night-night time if he’s ready early. I’m exhausted! I brought it up to my pediatrician at his one-year visit and all he said was “odd.”
Haunted by Night Terrors
Night terrors can be very frightening. Your child falls asleep easily, then very abruptly begins screaming and crying with a glassy eyed look for no apparent reason. They may continue to cry or scream for upwards of 20 minutes, then fall asleep again, awaking in the morning with no recollection of the event. They are very different from nightmares in which the child remembers why he or she awoke and can be even harder to soothe and get back to sleep. Nightmares are upsetting to everyone, but night terrors are only upsetting to caregivers and not to children.
Your sleep routine sounds lovely, and it will be a relief to know that night terrors are not usually associated with any great stress, trauma, or psychological dysfunction. It sounds like you are doing bedtime just right. Night terrors often occur 15-20 minutes after falling asleep. Perhaps the only thing you can do to hasten the return to sleep is to consistently offer an object of reassurance such as a lovey or favorite stuffed animal as you comfort your child, hoping that he will instinctively reach for the object when he becomes upset in his bed and learn to quiet himself.
Night terrors will resolve, but we cannot predict when or why.
Answered by Dr. Sara Connolly, Bundoo Pediatrician
Hi! I’m about 13 weeks pregnant and my hormones are HORRIBLE! My mood swings like crazy, and I have lots of anger for absolutely no reason. I’m freaking out about everything. I can’t handle it, and I’m sure I’m making my husband want to run. What can I do to help control these crazy hormones of mine? It’s almost as if I’m bipolar.
Pregnant and Losing It
Dear Losing It,
Congrats on your pregnancy! As you’ve noticed, pregnancy isn’t always smooth sailing. Mood swings are definitely common, even in the early weeks because your estrogen and progesterone levels are so high. In addition to the hormones, some of the changes associated with being newly pregnant can play a role too: not feeling so great physically, stress over the unknown, feeling unattractive as your belly grows, and overall fatigue (to name a few!). These can make some days worse than others.
I would recommend having an honest conversation with your husband so he can understand how you are feeling. Then I might step back and try to list things that are stressing you out so you can tackle them one by one…or at least make a game plan. Do you tend to worry and consult the Internet, and then freak out over all the worst-case scenarios? If so, you might want to prescribe an Internet vacation. Also, what are you doing to focus on you? Any yoga or time to yourself? If not, you may want to consider it. Lastly, I would recommend talking to your doctor or midwife so they can help you best. Postpartum depression and anxiety can show up before baby arrives, so making sure you are mentally at your best before the big day can help ward this off afterward. And most importantly, if it ever gets so bad where you are thinking of hurting yourself or someone else, seek emergency care right away.
Answered by Dr. Jen Lincoln, Bundoo OB/GYN