Your baby cries in his sleep: what to do?

- Categories : Baby Sleep

Why do babies cry in their sleep? Seeing your child sleep peacefully is a scene that many parents cherish. First, because we all have the impression to observe a little angel, and then because we can finally enjoy a time for ourselves. So what to do, when this situation seems unattainable and instead, your nights are filled by cries and tears? Keep reading! We go through the reasons preventing your baby from sleeping peacefully!

The reasons causing your baby to cry while sleeping

There are multiple reasons that can make your baby cry while sleeping. This is how your child expresses discomfort or anxiety and they need to feel reassured before falling gently in the arms of Morpheus. Generally, a crying baby indicates a baby who is afraid or anxious. The cries can occur because of a night terror or a nightmare.

Night terrors only happen to babies who over 2 months of age and usually occur early in the night. When having a sleep terror, your baby screams and looks terrified, they don’t recognize you. Your baby exteriorizes the stress or the fatigue of the day. Night terrors are very common when the baby has gone through a difficult period - a new home, a missing parent, or the arrival of their sibling. When it happens It is important to avoid waking the child or to be too reassuring - this behavior would tend to provoke the opposite effect. Your baby slowly learns to control his fears and go back to sleep without the presence of Mom and Dad!

In the second case scenario, when the cries occur later in the night, your baby is probably having a nightmare. Nightmares usually begin between 12 and 18 months. Still, no need to panic! This is a must in the development of your child. If he wakes up, it's important to reassure him. But similarly to night terrors, avoid doing too much. The baby has to learn to go back to sleep alone without systematically needing his parents! You can talk to your child from another room and make them feel your presence.

If the nightmare was too violent, go to the nursery but avoid too much physical contact even if it's difficult for you! Only one rule is to be kept: it is necessary to avoid that your child associates the fact of waking up with pleasant or positive consequences. If that happens, babies tend to wake up more and more often. Other reasons may cause babies’ cries while sleeping - hunger, poor digestion, cold or some other discomfort.

How to avoid crying in sleep: the importance of the bedtime routine

You probably know it already - it is very difficult to reassure your baby when crying and not create a sleep dependency. This means that your baby will associate your presence with falling back to sleep. Therefore, it is extremely important to prevent those awakenings beforehand. To do that, nothing is more effective than establishing a pleasant bedtime routine! You need to create a bedtime rhythm that gradually calms your baby down in order to avoid as much as possible the manifestations of night terrors and nightmares. For the bedtime routine to be effective, it is important to be consistent and to put your child to bed every night at about the same time. Take advantage of this moment to spend a pleasant moment together. You can sing a song, tell a story, read a book or gently massage your stomach to avoid digestion problems. It is important to explain to your child that during the night, it is time for everyone to relax alone in order to spend pleasant days together.

Baby cries - Q & A!

Sleeping with a baby and teaching them to sleep well is a real challenge for parents. Many questions arise, everything is new and sometimes we feel unprepared! It is normal for an infant to cry a lot during the first months of life. It is difficult for babies to understand all these new sensations! They don’t know when or how to ask for food, only calm down when held and require the constant presence of their parents. It is also why it’s not easy to always understand why your little one is crying. However, it is important to reassure them and to try to prevent them from considering crying as a means of expressing their needs! So, why is my baby crying?

Hunger: If the baby cries often, it is normal for parents to be quickly exhausted no longer knowing how to react and wondering what their little one may be missing. Many multiply feedings or increase the number of bottles. If this does not lead to less crying, it is important to ask yourself two questions: "Is my child really hungry? And isn’t he/she eating too much?"

To know if your kid is eating properly, you have to rely on their overall weight curve. After the 15th day, the curve must be upward, of course, and the weight gain must be between 140 and 210 grams per week for the first few months. It then gradually decreases to only 300 to 400 grams over a full month. This slowdown is even clearer after the 5th month.

It is also important to note that the food quantity of a baby depends on their weight and not on their age! Many factors can impact your little one's appetite. It is therefore important to closely monitor your baby's weight curve with your pediatrician. Note that when breastfed, the child stops on its own according to its needs. Be careful not to arbitrarily reduce the number of feedings. Your little one can gain their daily volume over a very variable number of feedings (usually between 5-12 per day).

The need to suck: A child who seems to be often hungry and cries a lot may simply have an urge to suck. This need is primitive and visible in all infants. Whether it's a pacifier, their thumb, or a piece of sheet, baby needs it to reassure themselves and discover their body. There are various thoughts concerning fostering this behavior. It is important to slightly limit the need to suck from 6 months to avoid problems with the alignment of the teeth. Finally, giving a pacifier to your child before sleeping can lead to addiction. The baby can no longer fall asleep without it and can wake up the parents when it falls during the night. Yet, this need is essential and allows the baby to reassure themselves and take full advantage of what he has within their reach. The important thing is not to prohibit but to moderate.

Colic: If the baby cries it may be colic. The child's digestive tract is still immature and it may be difficult to absorb even breast milk. We recognize colic if the pain is severe if it is increased during or just after a feeding, if the baby often has gas, if their belly is often bloated and if all these signs do not occur at fixed times! To reduce colic, the best remedy is a massage on the stomach and help him find a comfortable position (lying flat on his stomach with a warm water bottle for example). If you are breastfeeding, try to remove the initial part of breast milk by gently squeezing the nipple, it contains a high amount of sugar. Finally, if the signs are too strong, a pediatrician can prescribe antispasmodics to calm the pain!

The environment: A baby who cries in sleep may be overly sensitive to the outside environment. Note that alcohol, tea, coffee, and tobacco pass into the milk and can prevent your little one from falling asleep. Too many external solicitations can also lead to crying! It is important to avoid over-stimulating your baby by talking to him, moving them, or giving them the breast when what they really need is a period of calm and rest. Be careful not to permanently leave a colored mobile or sound objects that could prevent them from falling asleep!

Our tips for a good night's sleep!

 In addition to the bedtime routine, here are some tips to help your baby sleep tight:

Track the ambient temperature of the room! It should be between 18 and 22 ° C. For this you can use one of the many features the sleep trainer REMI offers - a sleep tracker recording the temperature of the room every night.

Air the room - open the windows every day to let fresh air in

Use a suitable and firm mattress to suit your baby's back.

Make sure your baby does not sweat too much. The fabric of the mattress must be adapted and it is important to avoid blankets and duvets in young children. You can instead privilege sleep sacks and pajamas.

Avoid too big or too many cuddly toys that can wake up the baby at night.

Don't wake up the baby at their first cry. It is possible that they're crying while they're still asleep. You can take a look at the room but that's it.

If baby is awake, you can comfort them quickly but avoid getting them out of the bed at all costs. Waking up at night should not be perceived as something positive or pleasant!

Related posts

Share this content