Parents of newborn babies worry a lot when they cry in the middle of the night. Because babies can’t talk to tell you why they are crying and parents can’t figure out it. The only thing that both of you know for sure is that neither of you will be sleeping.
It is normal for babies who are lesser than 6 months old to cry and wake up during night. Until your baby reaches 6 months, it is unlikely that they will sleep throughout the night. So it is better to plan your naps in advance and sleep whenever you can to avoid any frustration. And even if your baby has slept for hours, then they will be hungry when they wake up.
Why Do Babies Cry In Sleep?
Your baby is still in learning mode and the only way he/she can communicate with you is by crying. Some of the common reasons for your baby to cry a t night may be that they must be feeling physically uncomfortable to sleep. Some of the reasons are:
1. Your Baby Needs A Diaper Change
This is one of the most common reasons your baby could be crying. This is something that is easy to figure out and parents are advised to keep checking their baby’s diapers regularly. If your baby’s diaper has become dirty or wet it becomes very uncomfortable for them to wear and the only way they can tell you to change them is by crying.
2. Your Baby Must Be Hungry
Your baby’s tiny tummy cannot hold much food at a time and so he will be hungry often and require multiple feedings. If you observe that your baby is whimpering in his sleep but he is not fully awake, then it is most probably because he is hungry.
3.Your Room Temperature
It is a common practice when babies are covered completely before making them sleep whether it is hot or cold. Changes in temperature can make babies uncomfortable and so they will wake up at night and cry. Make sure the temperature is right in the room when you make your baby sleep. Even if it is too cold, don’t stuff your baby with clothes as they can also make your baby uncomfortable rather than cozy.
4. Your Baby Needs Attention
Sometimes your baby might just cry because he must be feeling insecure or just want some cuddles and love. There is so much new that will be happening around your baby, they need to know that you are around them. Your touch and feel will comfort them and get them back to sleep.
5. Your Baby Could Be Having Nightmares
Since babies experience a lot of new things every day, they process things in the dreams just like adults. Similarly just like us even babies get nightmares. But what to babies get nightmares about? We can’t say for sure, but they can scare your baby which can make them cry at night.
So what can you do to soothe your baby when they cry at night? Here are some advices from experts to help you.
Making Your Baby Sleep Is A Process
An important thing that you need to remember is that your baby is still learning about the sleeping process and how to sleep through the night. As a parent you might feel a lot of pressure to make your baby sleep but don’t be too hard on yourself. Your baby is still learning about the day and night cycle and when they should be sleeping so it is important to respond to the needs of your baby.
You might also have heard about baby sleep training methods that you can try. One of the most popular training method is the cry out method where you let the baby cry while checking on them regularly so that the baby learn to soothe itself back to sleep. While some of the sleeping methods are debatable, you can try them as per your comfort and see if they work for you.
How To Make Your Baby Sleep Safely?
Below are recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) on how to make sure that your baby sleeps safely. While making your baby sleep as much as possible in important, it is equally important to make sure that they sleep safely. Some of the recommendations are:
– Hold your baby and move them back and forth to soothe back to sleep.
– Keep your baby wrapped comfortably all the time. Babies will feel more comfortable this way when they are swaddled.
– Make sure the temperature of your room is proper to keep your baby comfortable.
– The womb is not a silent place and your baby is used to listen to lot of noise. Silent place can make your baby uncomfortable and so making hushing sounds can help in comforting your baby.
– Make sure that your baby sleeps on its baby till they are 1 year old.
– The surface on which your baby sleeps should be firm that is free from any soft objects. (For ex mattress with fitted sheet)
– Avoid exposing your baby to any kind of smoke.
– Parents or caretakers of the baby should avoid taking any alcohol or any drugs when they take care of the baby.
– Parents can use a baby pacifier during night time which is said to protect babies against Sudden Infant Death Syndrome(SIDS). Make sure not to hang them on your baby’s neck to attach to their cloth.
– Even skin contact with the mother can make your baby feel secure and make them sleep peacefully.
When And How To Make Your Baby Sleep?
Many people may suggest you to make your baby sleep when they are drowsy, but that is not possible always. Most babies will sleep off when you are feeding them or holding them.
Some people may also suggest you the ‘eat, play and sleep’ routine where you feed your baby, play for some time and then make them sleep. But this can lead to lot of frustration and can hamper their growth.
Where To Make Your Baby Sleep?
Make your baby sleep in a crib near to your bed. This allows you to respond to your baby’s cries without having to share your bed. Having your baby near to you will make it easier for you to monitor them at night, feed them and also soothe them during their cries. Your baby should sleep in your room atleast till he is 1 year old. By this time the risk of SIDS will be reduced substantially.
Make Your Baby Feed In Bed
If you want to feed your baby, do it in your bed and then put your baby back to their crib. Do not feed your baby on the sofa or arm chair. Mothers are usually tired taking care of their baby and may sleep off while feeding. This can increase the risk of SIDS in your baby. Even if you have the best intentions for your baby, there could be several factors that can make you sleep when taking care of your baby, so to avoid any kind of risk make sure that you are in your bed. Also remember to have minimal bedding and pillows when you make your baby sleep as it may increase the risk of suffocation.
6 Month Milestone
As your baby reaches 6 months, the risk of SIDS reduces and your baby is more likely to sleep throughout the night. They might also learn to soothe themselves back to sleep in case they wake up in the middle of the night.
This could be a good time to follow a regular night routine like bathing your baby, putting night clothes, brushing teeth(if any), singing lullaby or bedtime story before putting your baby to sleep. You can also make it a habit of placing your baby in their crib when they are still sleepy but not full asleep so that they learn how to get to sleep alone.
If your baby wakes up in the middle of the night during the first 6 months, then here are some tips to soothe them and make them sleep again.
– Visit your baby often as necessary to check on them but keep them brief.
– Whisper to your baby in a positive and sleepy tone that they are ready for sleep.
– Keep your voice calm and loving.
– Have patience and don’t display any anger.
Finally, you are the best person that knows about the baby. So follow your instinct and do what is best to comfort your baby and make sure that your baby is back to sleep safely.
When Should I Call My Doctor?
While these are some general tips, there could be many other reasons why your baby could be crying. If you have tried everything possible but still your baby cries while sleeping but not awake then it is best to talk to your doctor to find out any other possible reasons. If it is related to any medical condition, then only your doctor and provide you a solution.