Why Does My Baby Wake Up Crying Overnight
Its one thing when your baby wakes up in the middle of the night gurgling, cooing and playing with her toes. Its another when she seems to be in distress. While not all cries are signs of discomfort, your baby could be dealing with temporary sleep disruptors like illness, teething, separation anxiety or other age-appropriate fears.
Newborns cry often. Most sobbing sessions are unrelated to urgent needs, and may even help baby calm down and get to sleep. If your older baby cries overnight after a stretch of sleeping through the night without fussing, learning to decode the hidden messages in those sounds will help you decide what to do.
Here’s why an older baby might be waking up overnight:
When Will My Baby Outgrow Fussy Evenings
You may first notice your baby getting a little fussier in the evening hours when they hit 2 to 3 weeks of age. This period will likely correspond with a growth spurt and some increased cluster feeding.
For many babies the peak of evening fussiness occurs around 6 weeks. If youre reaching that point, hold onto hope that its about to get better!
While there is no guaranteed time when babies outgrow the witching hour, it often ends around 3 to 4 months of age.
How Can I Calm My Baby At Night
Always lay your baby down on her crib after they have fallen asleep. Calm them by playing a soft baby sound to keep your babies sleep undisturbed. You should also avert them from places where loud music and unnecessary noise is as they can be irritated when they hear these noise.
Yes, babies can suddenly cry at night
Having a long night with a crying baby can sometimes be a misery. There are other things that cause your baby to wake up crying at night but one thing is for sure: this is temporary. As long as your little sunshine is growing healthily, all of these will go to the past. Eventually, he will sleep on his own without your help.
Never feel guilty about being exhausted and frustrated because you are not perfect too, but we all know that youre always trying your best to give this new tiny human all the love and care he needs.
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Your Baby Can Sense Your Mood
Parents often find it difficult to cope with evening fussiness from their little ones, as they themselves feel exhausted by the end of the day.
This is often the reason why the baby struggles to settle: infants need their mum and dad to comfort and reassure them and exhausted and anxious parents can find this hard to convey.
Its a vicious circle: baby cries, parents become increasingly worried, the baby starts crying even more hysterically and so on it goes…
How To Soothe The Baby
When a baby briefly cries out in their sleep, they often settle on their own. Picking them up may wake them up, disrupting their sleep.
If the crying continues, try talking softly to the baby or rubbing their back or stomach. This can help shift them into a different stage of sleep and help them stop crying.
Breastfed babies who nurse in their sleep may find comfort from nursing. Caregivers should decide whether or not the baby is likely to awaken from nursing and assess whether they are willing to risk waking the baby.
It can also be helpful to simply observe the babys sleep pattern. Some babies let out a soft cry as they fall deeply into sleep, or immediately before waking. Identifying the babys typical sleep pattern can help caregivers assess the cause of crying.
Some babies might cry in their sleep when they are sick or teething, but pain that causes crying will usually wake the baby. Caregivers can talk to a pediatrician about how to ease the babys pain.
Although we do not yet know when nightmares start, a caregiver who thinks that they hear their baby having a nightmare can soothe them by talking calmly to them or rubbing their back. Babies who are still breastfed may also find comfort from nursing.
If a baby wakes up after having had a nightmare, comfort them and follow a soothing sleep ritual to get them back to sleep. Older babies and toddlers may need reassurance that the nightmare was not real.
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They Have Soiled Their Nappy
A dirty or wet nappy can cause your baby irritation and disturb her sleep. When your baby wakes up crying, check to see if her diaper is soiled. Sometimes a nappy change might do the trick.
Make sure that nappies and wipes are on hand so that you dont have to go hunting for them in the middle of the night.
Newborn Crying: What To Expect
Crying is a newborns main way of telling you what they need. Its a sound that can spur you into action, even when youre asleep. If youre a breastfeeding mother, it can trigger your let-down reflex.
Crying peaks at about 6-8 weeks. This period of intense newborn crying is hard, but it will pass.
Babies cry and fuss on average for almost three hours a day. Some cry for a lot longer than this. Most of this crying and fussing seems to happen in the late afternoon and evening, although every day will probably be a bit different.
As babies get older, they spend less time crying. The crying is also more likely to be spread throughout the day. And its easier to understand what babies need when they cry.
Crying is often a sign that your baby is tired or overstimulated. But newborns also have other tired signs. For example, newborns might pull at their ears or suck on their fingers when theyre tired.
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Pick Them Up And Rock Them Gently
One thing is certain: your baby needs you. Pick them up, rock them gently, talk to them softly. Put them in a baby carrier wrap the closeness to your body will make them feel safe and secure.
Then, when they have calmed down, put them back down to sleep and stay close by until they have fallen asleep.
We need to forget the idea that its best to let them cry it out so as not to spoil them too much and that sooner or later theyll stop crying and learn not to call for attention through crying.
Young babies need our love and attention to grow happy and healthy.
At this early stage, its impossible to spoil your baby: contact between mother and baby is a basic need as well as a natural instinct.
Dont expect them to settle straight away, babies often need a good cry to let off steam and tire them out.
What Can You Do About It
Here are some ideas you might like to try:
You are working enormously hard to understand and meet your babys needs. Every baby is different, and you are becoming an expert on your baby. There is no right or wrong way to be with your baby there is only what works for you both, today.
This can feel scary at first , but as time goes on, you will feel able to try different ideas for calming your baby, and come up with some new ones. As the weeks go by, you will learn more about what helps your baby and become more confident about knowing when they are OK, and when to get help. As your baby gets older and more experienced, he will find the world, and his own bodily sensations, less alarming.
These early weeks, which can feel like forever, will pass. Before you know it, you will be able to support a newer parent who is wondering how on earth they will get through it, because you did!
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Nightmares Or Night Terrors
Though most common around 3 to 4 years old, nightmares or night terrors can definitely disrupt a babys sleep and leave them crying hysterically for you during the night. But most babies wont begin having night terrors until 18 months, so if your baby is younger than that, its probably not the cause.
Younger babies are, however, prone to an overactive startle reflex that can often look like theyve woken up from a bad dream.
Babies will startle themselves awake between sleep cycles, Ahmed says, and it just takes a pat on the back or a physical touch to help them back to sleep.
Is Baby Crying All Of A Sudden Out Of Hunger
There comes a time typically around 5 to 7 months of age when baby is simply more hungry. Infant nutrition needs morph as they grow and by 6 months most babies are absolutely ready to be eating solids. Not 1 or 2 tablespoons a day, but at 3 meals a day.
Including protein, which incidentally, helps baby sleep.
So if baby is crying all of a sudden at night or throughout the night, having night wakings when they havent in a long time, Id rule out hunger. Offer more feeds during the day and add in solids and work to help baby eat a good amount.
If youre still feeding at night, give baby full feeds. Dont let babe snack for 5 minutes then back to sleep because youll do that on and off all night if what they really need is a good amount of milk.
What Is Cluster Feeding
Cluster feeding is when a baby suddenly starts eating much more frequently in clusters for a period of time. It usually lasts a couple of hours at a time and differs from your babys usual eating behavior.
Cluster feeding is normal baby behavior, seen primarily in breastfeeding newborns in the first few weeks. It doesnt necessarily mean theres anything wrong with your baby or your milk supply.
Read on to learn more about cluster feeding and how to manage it.
Cluster feeding can be hard to identify because newborns rarely have a predictable eating or sleeping schedule.
Your baby may be cluster feeding if:
- theyre a few days or weeks old
- theyre showing their usual hunger signs or wont stop crying until theyre fed
- they want to eat constantly or they eat very frequently for short sessions each time
- nothing else seems wrong and theyre content when eating
- they still have regular wet and dirty diapers
Cluster feeding is more common in the evenings. With an older infant, though, there may be several days in a row when they eat a lot more than usual throughout the entire day. This may be due to growth spurts or teething.
Why Do Newborns Cry
Parents, initially, tend to fret when their newborn cries. This is because we, grown-ups, attribute our babys cries to our own conception of crying .
However, this isnt the case for young babies. Crying is their only way of communication to express their needs and to ask for something.
This means that infants can cry for anything and everything. The most common reasons are:
- Try latching them on your breast, even if they were fed a short while before.
- Wet or dirty nappy. Change and wash them.
- Wanting a cuddle. Pick them up, rock them gently, talk to them. Young babies need a lot of physical contact.
- Too hot. Check they are not sweating or covered up too much.
- Too cold. If they feel cold to the touch, cover them up more.
- Reduce any sensory stimulation: lights and noises, to help them fall asleep.
- Fever or unwell. If they have a high temperature or you are unable to calm them, consult your doctor.
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What Causes The Baby Witching Hour
No one knows what causes these fussy periods in babies. Around 20% of babies develop colic, usually when they are 2 to 4 weeks old. Your baby may just be sensitive to stimulation and not be able to self-soothe yet. Though it’s stressful for you, colic won’t cause any long-term harm or medical problems for your baby.
Evaluate Your Own Emotional State
When your baby cries for hours on end, it is natural to feel responsible. Often, though, blaming yourself can get in the way of your ability to be calm, present, and responsive to your baby. The relationship with your baby is a partnership, so your emotions will make a difference to how your baby reacts. If you are feeling overwhelmed, depressed, angry, anxious, or detached, your baby may have trouble calming down.
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How Do I Soothe My Baby While Theyre Still Sleeping
Soothing your baby while theyre still asleep requires a lot of attention on what may be happening with them they may be needing a diaper change, hungry, or theyre hurting. You should respond quickly on what they need quietly without needing any unnecessary noises to make it clear for them that nighttime is all about sleeping.
How To Calm A Crying Baby
The best way to soothe a crying baby is to first have an idea of why is baby crying, so you can quickly address their needs. Without knowing whats causing those tears, parents often try a bunch of different calming techniques, but in doing so they often miss the window of opportunity to solve the real problem, and the baby crying escalates. If you still have a crying baby on your hands after checking for all the common culprits mentioned above, try the Five Ssgeneral soothing techniques pediatrician Harvey Karp, MD, outlines in his book Happiest Baby on the Block. Heres a breakdown of how to make baby stop crying using these helpful tips and tricks:
Swaddle. Babies love to be swaddled. It provides them with a sense of security and reminds them of their days in the womb. The first step to soothing your crying baby is to wrap them in a snug swaddle with babys arms at their side.
Side or stomach position. Hold baby on their side or on their tummy over your arm. Both positions are comforting for baby and can help resolve gas and other tummy issues.
Shush. Make a gentle shushing sound directly into babys ear, which is similar to the noises they heard in the womb. Dont be afraid to amp up the volume a bit for a crying baby.
Swing. Try swinging or gently jiggling baby to get them to calm down . Babies are used to these types of motions from their time in utero and can be startled by stillness shortly after birth.