Why Do Babies Cry at Night and in Their Sleep?

why do babies cry at night

Newborns tend to cry for two to three hours every day. Parents try different techniques to soothe crying babies. Swaddling, skin-to-skin contact, and breastfeeding are a few common techniques. But do these work out when your baby cries in the mid of sleep? Babies still grunt or scream or cry. It is quite natural for new parents to get confused about why their babies cry even after being well-fed and settled comfortably in the crib.

If you have fed the baby recently, then there are two common reasons for this sudden crying while being asleep:

  • The baby’s digestive system is yet to develop, and it is in the process of getting used to the milk or formula.
  • Nightmares can be the reason behind the wailing of your baby. This is a phase where imagination develops and unfortunately can scare the baby with bad dreams.

The reason why the babies cry at night and while sleeping –

1. Sleep Regression:

The setback in the night routine of your child is called sleep regression. This is natural and normal. This can be encountered when your baby is 4 months old, 6 months, and around 10 months old. Again, sleep regression occurs at about 12 months old.

2. REM Period:

Also known as the active sleep period, Rapid Eye Movement (REM) is the phase where babies dream. This can lead to sobbing and grunting in the crib.

Pro Tip: When your baby cries during sleep for a feed or diaper change, the crying escalates. The baby will not go back to sleep in such cases. Night-time crying, fortunately, does not hamper sleep much.

How to soothe the baby?

It is quite comforting to know that crying at night is natural in young babies, especially newborns. For parents, this info is not satiating. Getting to know how to ensure the bundle of joy gets back to sleep is what they are eager to know.

  • Place your baby in the middle of the crib. If the baby had wriggled to the corner, it is essential to free the little one, and lay in a comfortable position.
  • Swaddling helps in calming the baby and promotes sleep. The key is to swaddle correctly and keep off the chances of the loose ends of the blanket covering the face of your baby. The body should not be tightly pressed, and it should not be too hot.
  • While swaddling works in young babies, sleep sacks are good choices for bigger babies. You can also choose sleep sacks for young babies if you find it not easy to swaddle. The sleep sacks are one-piece dresses that come with snaps to swaddle.
  • Ensure the temperature in the baby’s room is right. 68 degrees F to 72 degrees F is what the thermostat should measure.
  • Gently rub the tummy of the kid. Say something sweet and short about getting back to sleep. A lullaby in a soft voice would help.

Tip: Do not run to your little one’s room. There are high chances of the baby getting back to sleep without any help. The tips here help the baby to grab the sleep and continue dreaming without fuss.

Should you talk to your doctor?

As mentioned, it is natural for babies to cry during sleep. The growth phase can trigger this even till they are 3 years of age. If you see your baby crying for more than 2 hours, and it is not the usual tears rolling down, call your doctor. The doctors handle such queries often and examine the baby and its crying pattern.

Excessive crying can be due to acid reflux, colic, or milk allergy. In such cases, babies do not go back to sleep. This is where medical intervention can be required.