My 5-month-old breastfed son wakes up in the middle of the night screaming: Advice?

My son is five months old. He’s 100% breastfed. Just these past few weeks, he’ll be waking up shortly after he falls asleep (he usually falls asleep on the boob), & he’ll suddenly start screaming. I don’t know if he’s having a nightmare or a night terror, or just realized he’d not latched anymore? It’s not just a light scream, but it’s like a blood-curdling scream, the kind of cry that makes your heart drop when you first hear it. He’ll thrash his legs/arms around; he doesn’t usually open his eyes, though. No matter what, I can’t seem to calm him down. Eventually, he quiets down long enough to latch & lull’s back to sleep. I plan on asking his doctor about it at his upcoming appointment; I just wasn’t sure if anybody else has gone through this or something similar or has any tips/advice!


Oh yeah night terrors for baby’s is real

My son had night terrors as a toddler. Nothing you can really do, since you can’t wake them up out of it. It is a terrible feeling.

Nightmare someone stole his booby. Or if you believe in reincarnation traumatic memory from his past life

Try giving him a pacifer

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Night terror download the wonder weeks app its amazing and literally talks through the stages of baby and makes everything seem fine and normal x

My 5 month old has this too

Infant sleep apnea… Go see your dr - get the child tested ASAP… A child may stop breathing & be startling themselves awake to breath where they scream in panic…

My 2 month does this during the day. She’s easy to console once it happens. But it’s pretty scary when she does it. Happens during the day for her

I’m thinking it might be slight reflex? :woman_shrugging:

Could honestly be bad gas as well. And my kids would just scream one big blood curdling scream then back out they went. Lol

Nightmares! My son wasn’t breastfed at the time but did the same thing.

My daughter started getting night terrors around this time. It sucks but all you can do is be there and attempt to comfort. She’s about to turn two and she doesn’t get as many night terrors but now gets nightmares. It’s rough but I promise it eventually gets better!

Could be gas, he might need to burp

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My daughter had gas and used to scream bloody murder if she was fed at night. I put her on her back and bent her legs and rolled her legs around to make her fart. Is his belly hard when this is happening?

Breastfed babies are going to feel the detachment from momma most of the time. I found a binky he preferred and when I would detach him from me to put him to bed I would give him his binky in place of the breast and would tuck next to his little face one of my nightgown that had my smell to it. And whether it be night terrors of just not having my breast it would comfort him and he did just fine just having the smell of me helped him make it through the night. Good luck new mommy, you and your beautiful Angel :angel: will be just fine. It might take a couple nights but trust me they do adjust !!

Is teething a possibility?

He must wants to be next to you

My son is 19 months and he still does this occasionally

At 5 months he shoudnt be fully breastfed. Feed him baby food and he will sleep. I know doctors say until 6 months but thats just ridiculous.

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If he is falling asleep while you are feeding him it could be he needs a good burping…


Could be a tummy ache

He is maybe hungry. My daughter was 100% breastfeed and we have started cereal at 4months old because she was hungry.

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Better start the bottles mommy… seems like he likes u as his paci or he may b ready for cereal

Try a binky? Or maybee gas i think too

He may have a burp down in his belly. My lo screams when she’s got a burp stuck

Tummy ache, acid reflux, gas

My son did the same first few months and he snow 5months sometimes still does it… Has nothing to do with breastfeeding… Sometimes tou either have to wake them or just soothe them back to slepe

My daughter did the same thing. I started giving her gas drops before bed and it stopped. She would get a gas bubble and not be able to push it out and it was causing pain.

May be our milk is not satisfying him ask hisdr about formula with a little baby cereal in it

This is the worst place to ask breastfeeding questions. Every time a bf question is posted I weep for the person who sent it. Talk to your doctor hun… don’t let them make you feel as if you aren’t enough


He might be teething, but also rice cereal to help fill that belly should help.

Hunger pains, gas pains, teething pain. If it’s from 0-100, it’s some kind of pain.

Please dont listen to the nursing haters . Its prob gas or a stuck burp, maybe baby just needing you close .
You’re doing amazing!!
Solids arent supposed to start till 6 months and cereal is the worst, empty calories, hard to digest . High levels of arsenic. Just not good


It very well could be bad dreams and that’s why you can’t wake him from it. I’ve nursed 5 and 2 had night terrors and the cries are horrific, your boob is comforting to him so it helps pull him out of the dream. Giving a little gripe water before his last feeding can insure that it’s not gas and as long as there is a good latch then it shouldn’t be air to be burped up. No need to start cereal yet and that could make it worse.

So, as infants grow, you may not be producing as much milk as they need, my son did this and come to find out, I wasn’t producing enough milk. Idk about the thrashing around part, but maybe he has gas and isn’t being burped properly or enough, try burping more and make sure your milk production is up to par!

If he falling a sleep while nursing im going to say the 1st thing to check is if he has to burp. The main reason i find people cant get there babies tonsleep is because they are not burping them properly so they wake up in bad gassy pain. Once hes falling a sleep in the boob just gently put him up to your shoulder and burp him.


Time to start sleep training.

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OP, please take most of these comments with a grain of salt. The ignorance about breastfeeding in this country is astounding. Even Doctors give bad advice about it. I guess it’s because there’s no breastfeeding corporation spending tons on advertising like there is for formula.

I breastfed my little girl until she was 18 months old. She did the same thing your child did around the same age. I don’t recall exactly what the cause / solution was because it’s been a year and a half since she did it, but it was either teething pain or gas. It was very hard to wake her, but I did eventually and gave her gas drops or Tylenol (whichever one it was that worked) and she went back to sleep. Nursing back to sleep is completely normal, by the way.

You should follow The Milk Meg here on Facebook. She’s a lactation consultant and great support for breastfeeding. She has a lot of articles on her blog and really helps to normalize breastfeeding for Moms in a society that doesn’t normalize it. It’s so easy to question yourself and doubt your instincts, but she really sets you at ease and teaches you to do just that. She’s a life changer! Bless you on your journey. :heart::heart::heart:

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Might be teething ??

I do not at all agree with the moms who say to put cereal in a bottle or to introduce formula. My son is 10 months now and I’ve learned I need to put him in his crib still slightly awake. Try nursing before bedtime. Put baby to bed sleepy not asleep. Yes there will be crying but thats part of learning to self soothe. If he wakes up from falling asleep on the breast he will cry out because you’re suddenly not there. I know I would freak out to fall asleep one way and wake up another. Nursing in the night is fine too. My son nursed 3x a night til 8 months, now it’s CIO, and it took a couple weeks but now he sleeps soundly. I will get up to nurse him around 530 or so and he will go back to sleep til 730. Sure try gas drops, they sell them because parents buy them, but a breastfed baby with a good latch shouldn’t have too much gas. Keep it up with the breastfeeding though.
It’s so difficult to stay committed but you’re doing it. You make everything your baby needs right now. Good luck, i hope your little one has an easier time of it soon.

My 7 month old is formula fed and does the same thing. Ever since she was about 3 months she has slept through the night up until recently. I have noticed the more she eats the less it happens so that could be it!

My 5 month old has been doing the same!! When first laid down to bed and/or in middle of night! After laid down she will cry, I usually feed her (again) burp her, and she’ll fall back asleep. Around 3-4am she’ll cry again I’ll put my hand on her chest and say it’s ok quietly and she falls back asleep

Sounds like night terrors

The Wonder Weeks says he should be going through a leap around that age. At this time he would start having nightmares. Sounds like nightmares to me. Should just be a phase though.

Also, I highly recommend the La Leche League Facebook group. They are great with all things beast feeding and babies :slight_smile:

have ear infection & UTI been ruled out?

My wife and I are experiencing similar. There’s a checklist we’ve created and gone through to alleviate these crazed cries when we can. (Even after our pediatrician added to the list, they still happen)

-Burping: despite the strong urge to let our daughter sleep once she goes to sleep, I do encourage my wife to burp her between mid-feed and near the end of the feed to avoid gas bubbles. We’re about 80% breastfeeding now that my wife is working again, so I do the same with formula. People don’t realize that a gassy baby is incredibly difficult to soothe until they release it.
-Diaper Time: I’m still trying to teach my wife that she needs to check and change her diaper before putting her down. Sometimes we have to let her cry to sleep and because I work night shift, I’m not there when they go to bed. I get home though and the diaper is leaking cause it’s filled to the max. Babies will take forever to pass out front exhaustion if you leave them wet or stinky. Even if you just changed him, check again.
Bites/Cuts: Spontaneous crying always leads me to doing a full body check on her for bug bites or scratches or new markings her body.
-Feeding: Just like without diapers, you can’t assume a baby’s not hungry just because you fed them 20 minutes ago. Give it another try.
-Cold/Hot: technically this should be higher on the list, but we don’t actively check this since we’re pretty good at regulating the room temperature and the amount of clothes. But give it a 5 second ponder if he’s perhaps too hot or too cold.

When all else fails, we assume it’s the usual of our daughter not looking to lie down. Nothing wrong with her back or body but she hates and I mean absolutely HATES being put down on her back. Don’t even have to let go of her. She’ll still scream bloody murder. In these instances, there’s little we can do, and that’s what I’ve read in most parenting articles. It’s a gradual process to teach them to soothe themselves and to know that they are safe being put down. Don’t give up. Keep trying :slight_smile:

And of course, if you ever suspect it’s a medical issue like colic, contact your doctor and get him checked asap :slight_smile:

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Gas pain… don’t stop Breastfeeding your baby… that will help him a lot to calm and soothe…

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Definitely gas or teeth. Blood curdling screams usually mean pain. Burp the baby and feel the gums for swelling or hard lines (new teeth cutting). Infants motrin tends to keep them a little happier with teething, unfortunately Tylonel is the only option recommended before 6 months.

Aww poor guy. It’s night terror. My son use to do this. I use to sing my lullaby or play Zen music, gently rock him too. But try a bit of food before you put him to bed. May help

Its gas…just burp him before laying him down

Are you sure you’re still producing milk? Mine did the same. My mother-in-law was an RN and we were visiting her. She borrowed a breast pump from a cousin and sure enough, this cow was dry! Lol…

If the child seems to still be in a sleep state while screaming, night terrors/paralysis may be the cause. Most infants do grow out of this. Mine all did fortunately, but having a heartbeat bear helped to ease the occurrences’

Night terrors. My oldest had them and outgrew them thankfully. He screamed so loud and it seemed that he was in pain. Took him to the ER and he was completely fine physically.

Have his ears checked my son did that every time he had an ear infection

Yep…have you started feeding the baby food yet?.. That could be the answer… Babies should start on cereals around 4 months… Check with your pediatrician first… It could also be something you’re eating that may not agree with baby. Hope your baby feels better soon, so that he can rest through the night.

Gas pains make then scream bloody murder.

Have your milk checked. It may not be healthy enough to give complete nourishment.

Night terrors. My son has been doing it since he was a few months old and he still does it at the age of 12

Eat a peanut butter sandwich/or a spoon full just before he gets his last feeding. The child is hungry

He could be teething

He’s wanting foods not just a boob.


Sounds a tummy ache.

You aren’t eating spicy foods are you?

Its not night terrors or nightmares because he’s only 5 months old and hasn’t learned enough or seen enough to have a imagination to bring this type of dreams on! Most likely its gas pains or his way to say I’m still hungry because well what other way is there for a 5 month old