Your baby cries in his sleep and already guilt rises in you. Have you done something wrong? Is your baby unwell?
In the following article, you will learn how to react correctly to night terrors, growth spurts, tummy aches, etc., and when crying becomes a serious problem.
Table of contents
Is Your Baby Crying In His Sleep? This Is What Is Behind It
Is My Baby Experiencing A Night Terror?
It’s unlikely because night terrors usually only occur in toddlers over the age of two. Night terrors are a sleep disorder in which a child wakes up in a panic during the first half of the night.
More rarely, night terrors are also manifested by jumping or lashing out. The child is unresponsive in this state because he or she is basically not awake. As disturbing as night terrors are for parents, they are harmless in most cases.
Night terrors differ from nightmares in the sense that they last about 5 to 15 minutes, and the child often does not remember any night terrors the next morning.
If your baby cries in his sleep, it may be a sign of tummy troubles. Your baby has air in his stomach or difficulty digesting food. You can help him by laying him flat on his back and making cycling motions with his legs in the air.
Alternatively, you can massage your baby’s tummy. Rub your baby’s belly in gentle circular motions and let his reaction guide you. Your touch will also soothe the baby. If the air is still in the stomach, you should let your baby burp on your shoulder and then gently put him back in the crib.
If your baby’s stomach pain continues for several hours and occurs more frequently over weeks and months, it may be colic. If your baby is 5 months old or younger, colic is more common and manifests itself in painful intestinal contractions that cause your baby to cry inconsolably and bend his legs.
Experts disagree about the causes. You can relieve your baby’s pain by keeping him moving with gentle rocking and lots of body contact, or by massaging his tummy.
Your Naby Is Teething
When your baby’s teeth break through the gums, it can hurt quite a bit. A little pressure on the teeth can provide relief. Give your baby a pacifier or something else to bite on.
Put teething rings or pacifiers in the refrigerator (never in the freezer!) as a test to numb the pain with cold. If he keeps spitting out the pacifier because the pain is so severe, gently massage the sore gums with your clean finger.
Your Baby Is Not At Rest
If your baby cries in his sleep, it may be because he has slept too much and moved too little during the day. He is simply not tired enough to enter the land of dreams. Make sure your baby gets enough exercise during the day and take him out into the fresh air every day. The natural light is not only good for your child, but also for you.
Your Baby Cries In His Sleep Because He Is Tired
Tired babies often find it difficult to fall asleep and when they finally do, the slightest disturbance wakes them up again and they cry because the lack of sleep causes them distress.
You should therefore learn to recognize early on when your baby is tired. It’s not as hard as you think: just like us adults, babies show clear signs of tiredness as soon as their energy is depleted. If you notice glazed eyes, excessive yawning and eye rubbing, and uncoordinated movements, you should initiate bedtime as soon as possible.
During the course of development in the first months of life, it is perfectly normal for a baby to experience a growth spurt. Between the 5th and 56th week of life, you should therefore be prepared for several weeks in which a growth spurt will cause your baby problems.
Growth Spurt In Babies: What Are The Symptoms?
Your baby not only cries more often during sleep but is also naggy during the day and seeks your closeness. Your growth spurt baby does not know what is happening to him and he feels uncomfortable. To get through this time as well as possible, you need a lot of patience and good nerves.
Share childcare with your partner and, if necessary, get close friends and family to support you during this phase. Once your baby has passed 5 months, the growth spurts will decrease and the baby will slowly settle down.
How Long Does A Baby’s Growth Spurt Last?
The baby’s growth spurt often passes as quickly as it arrived. On average, your baby suffers more or less from the effects of a growth spurt for a week. Sometimes a little longer.
Once it’s over, you’ll be surprised how cheerful and balanced your baby suddenly is again. After the baby’s growth spurt, an almost idyllic phase returns – which unfortunately only lasts until the next spurt.
Baby’s Growth Spurt – What To Do?
Of course you want to make this exhausting phase as pleasant as possible. Your growth spurt baby is looking for closeness and is unbalanced. Make him feel safe and secure by carrying him in a sling or baby carrier.
Stay relaxed and show affection to your baby when he is cranky. The calmer and more relaxed you are towards the baby, the more likely your attitude will transfer to the growth spurt baby.
What You Can Do When Your Baby Cries
Be There For Your Baby
Your baby is not crying out of boredom or because it wants to annoy you. He is specifically looking for your closeness, experiences a night terror, feels uncomfortable, or is even in pain. Therefore, you should never let your baby cry consciously. Studies have shown that babies born to parents who are affectionate with their crying child help them cry less often overall.
Improve Baby’s Sleep
The better your baby sleeps, the less often he or she cries in his or her sleep. Restful sleep is good for your baby and gives you calmer nights. In the following section, we will give you some practical tips on how to increase the quality of your baby’s sleep.
Don’t let the baby sleep too long during the day.
To prevent your baby from being wide awake at bedtime, don’t put off his last nap too long and keep him busy during the day.
For babies four months and older, there should be at least two to three hours between the last nap and bedtime. You should also wake your baby if he or she tends to sleep for hours at a time during the day.
Clearly distinguish sleep and wake phases.
Your baby needs to make a clear connection between nighttime and sleep. Help him do this by letting him sleep in normal conditions during the day. Don’t darken the room or try to be extra quiet.
The naps during the day may take place in restless surroundings; after all, they are short-lived anyway. On the other hand, the baby should spend the night in a dark room and without background noise.
Perform nighttime activities such as feeding and diapering already in dim light and talk to the baby only quietly, so that he can adjust to the longer night sleep.
Do not let your child go hungry.
While your baby’s last meal should not be right before bedtime, too long a break between meal and sleep will make your baby wake up hungry or unable to fall asleep. It is not until your baby is six months old that he or she is able to go a night without additional food. So be prepared to warm a bottle during the night as soon as your baby cries.
Longer sleep thanks to Dreamfeed: wake your baby before you put yourself to sleep to give him his nightly meal. Some babies even drink while they sleep, so you don’t have to wake them up specifically. With this method, your baby may sleep through the night and give you a peaceful night.
Establish a bedtime routine.
If you put your baby to sleep at different times and in a different way every day, you are putting him or her under unnecessary stress. Babies and toddlers love routines. They don’t like not knowing what is happening around them.
The world is exciting and scary enough at this age. Instill a sense of security in your child by putting them to bed, in the same way, every night. Singing, humming, whispering, reading stories.
Make sure all activities right before bedtime are low-stimulus and calming. Create a level of recognition that will condition your baby to get tired already during the sleep routine.
Make Your Baby Feel Completely Comfortable
Convey closeness and security: even though parents like to have their privacy at night, it is advisable to place the baby’s bed in the parental bedroom. The sounds of mom and dad sleeping have a calming effect, and if your baby cries in his sleep, you won’t have far to go and can calm him immediately. Wait until your baby learns to soothe himself before he can sleep in his own room. This phase occurs around the sixth month.
Pleasant room climate: The perfect room temperature for sleeping is between 16° and 18° Celsius, just like for us adults. Air the room in the morning and evening before and after the baby has spent the night in it. Do not air the room while your baby is sleeping, so that he or she does not catch a cold in the draft and the sounds from outside are only muffled.
The right sleeping position: For years, experts have argued about the sleeping position of babies. However, they all agree that the baby should not sleep on its stomach. On your back or side, your baby can breathe freely – minimizing the risk of sudden infant death syndrome.
Absolute NoGo: Shaking Your Baby
A baby is not a broken electrical appliance that can be temporarily repaired by a little shaking. Even on days when your baby keeps you on your toes, you should always stay calm.
Shaking can cause irreparable damage to the baby’s brain. This can cause mental disabilities and, in the worst case, kill your baby. Know in time when caring for your baby becomes too much and turn to family and friends for support in such situations.