Baby Won’t Stop Crying: 7 Easy Ways to Soothe a Baby Who’s Crying (In Their Sleep)
For some reason, your baby won’t stop crying…
Ever woken in the middle of the night to the sound of your baby crying? How do you soothe your crying baby?
Other than feeling frustrated and helpless, you also feel worried and wonder what causes your baby to cry in his sleep and how to soothe him.
A baby crying in their sleep is one of the most challenging things for a parent to endure. Some babies scream for no apparent reason, others are hungry, so they cry, and some others may be extremely uncomfortable with acid reflux.
And when parents realize that they can resolve all of these reasons, as long as they know what to do, then the answer is simple: like in most cases, a good plan will prevent a problem.
Are there any ways to soothe a baby effectively in their sleep and stop the crying? In this article, I’ll discuss why babies cry, their sleep patterns and the 7 best ways to soothe a crying baby.
Why Do Babies Cry in Their Sleep?
Infants and young children may grunt, cry, or scream while they sleep.
Before I go straight the ways to soothe a baby who’s crying in his sleep, let’s ask ourselves- why do babies cry in their sleep?
Babies Are Learning to Master a Normal Sleep Cycle
The bodies of very young children have not yet learned how to manage a normal sleep cycle, so it is typical for them to wake up frequently during the night or make strange sounds.
Young babies communicate primarily through crying. A common one is hunger, especially for infants who breastfeed or take a bottle every few hours. Thus, it is not surprising that babies’ cry a lot and may also cry while sleeping.
Unless the baby exhibits other concerns, such as pain or other symptoms of illness, this is developmentally normal and not an indication of anything wrong.
A Sign of Nightmare or Night Terror
Afterward, as babies learn new ways to express themselves or develop their imaginations, crying while asleep may signal a nightmare or night terror. If a toddler or older baby cries while sleeping, especially if moving or making other noises, he or she may have night terrors.
When you are in light sleep or have random eye movements, you often have nightmares. On the other hand, a night terror is caused when a child becomes greatly agitated during the deepest stages of sleep. During the early hours of the night, children are more likely to cry from night terrors. A child who is sick or sleep-deprived is more likely to experience night terrors.
How Much Crying Is Normal?
Daily two to three hours of crying are considered normal during the first three months of life. In addition, because newborns are often restless when they sleep, they may cry at night.
Why? During newborn sleep patterns, non-rapid eye movement alternates with rapid eye movement (REM), characterized by dreams, movement in the crib, and tears. Therefore, it is normal for your baby to whimper in his room while in his REM phase.
You can also blame nighttime crying on a sleep regression, which is a temporary reversal in your child’s routine. Typically, a sleep regression occurs around 4 months, 6 months, later from 8 to 10 months and then again at 12 months.
Furthermore, tears during the night are common if you use a Ferber technique to sleep train your baby. Between age 4 and 6 months, your baby can begin sleep training, which usually takes about two weeks to complete.
7 Easy Ways to Soothe a Crying Baby
As parents, we can’t help but respond when our babies cry. We all have different methods for soothing. To soothe an upset baby, we may use breastfeeding, skin-to-skin contact, soothing sounds, or gentle movements.
However, what happens when your little one suddenly cries or screams in distress in the middle of the night, even though he is still asleep? Is it possible for babies to have nightmares? And how do you soothe a crying baby who hasn’t even woken up yet?
1. Don’t Be in a Hurry To Pick Him Up
Often, babies are restless sleepers, so you may hear or even see them whimpering during REM sleep. Just take a few minutes to cool off before you pop into her room, and she may be able to fall asleep on her own.
When your baby cries, it’s tempting to wake them up for a cuddle, but it’s best to wait and see what happens. If you hear your baby making noises, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re ready to wake up.
When your baby transitions from light to deep sleep, he may fuss for a moment before settling down again. So if your baby cries out at night, you shouldn’t be too quick to pick them up.
2. Identify Why Your Baby Won’t Stop Crying
In some cases, babies cry in their sleep due to being wet, sick, or teething. However, pain causes them to awaken. You can consult a pediatrician for help in easing the baby’s discomfort.
3. Observe Your Baby’s Sleep Pattern
Another helpful technique is to observe your baby’s sleep patterns. Some babies softly cry when they fall profoundly asleep or just before waking. You or other caregivers can determine the cause of crying by identifying the baby’s typical sleep pattern.
4. Place Him Well
If your baby is wedged in a crib corner or his leg is trapped between the slats, loosen him up and place him on his back at the mid-section of the mattress.
5. Try Using a Swaddle
Swaddling a newborn to 2-months old baby in a snug and lightweight swaddle can calm him and enhance sound sleep. Ensure his swaddled safely and appropriately so that there is no loose blanket string that could cover his face, his hips are not too tightly wrapped, and he is not yet attempting to roll over.
6. Stay Close to Them
While we can’t determine when nightmares begin in babies, if you suspect your baby is having a nightmare, you can soothe him by rubbing his back or talking calmly to him.
7. Check or Adjust the Temperature
If your baby won’t stop crying in their sleep, adjust the thermostat so that the temperature in your baby’s room is between 68 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit, which is a comfortable range for your baby to sleep in.
Again, I say that it is best to wait and watch when you hear him crying in his sleep. Baby crying while asleep does not require soothing the same way as when they’re awake.
When to Call a Doctor When a Baby Won’t Stop Crying
Other reasons may be causing your baby to cry while sleeping. Whenever you notice changes to your baby’s daily routine, nighttime crying and other sleep issues, talk to your baby’s doctor. Such changes may include:
When Your Child Is Crying in Pain
Situations like teething or sickness may be a possible reason why your baby won’t stop crying in his sleep.
A Sudden Change in Sleep Pattern
If you notice that your child’s sleep habits suddenly change, you may want to inform a doctor. Also, if your growing kid experiences sleep problems for several nights, which interfere with his or her ability to function, you should get professional help.
Difficulty in Feeding
Sleep problems may be caused by issues with breast milk supply, a bad latch, or formula sensitivity problems.
Understanding Babies Sleep Patterns by Age
Babies and young children sleep in a variety of patterns. The sleeping patterns of individual children will vary tremendously over the first 3 years of life. The quantity and type of sleep crying will also fluctuate.
The sleep cycles of babies are shorter than those of adults, and they spend more time in light sleep, causing them to cry, grunt, or make other noises while they sleep.
Parents can develop sleep strategies that suit their culture, family norms, and baby’s needs and personality with the advice of a healthcare expert.
In this section, I’ll discuss babies’ average sleep patterns that vary with their different ages. However, this is a general guideline, and if your baby has a different sleep pattern from what we described below, there is often no need to worry.
Newborns (from 0 to 1 month)
Some babies seem to confuse the day and night. Sleep crying is common in the first month of life. Sleeping patterns in the first month are unpredictable, with frequent wakings and naps.
Babies commonly wake every 2 to 3 hours, and sometimes, they wake more often to eat.
It may be helpful to expose a baby to natural daylight and establish a routine to regulate their sleep patterns. Many children of this age do not have a regular sleep schedule or sleep for long periods at night.
Older Newborns (from 1 to 3 months)
One to three months old newborns is still adjusting to life outside the womb. They rarely sleep through the night but start to have a regular sleep schedule.
When babies are at this age, their sleep sessions usually last no more than 3.5 hours, and they often cry out in their sleep. Trusted Source
Infants (from 3 to 7 months)
Babies between 3 to 7 months old may start to develop a regular sleep schedule, and within this age range, many start sleeping longer stretches or sleep through the night. Individual variations, however, remain.
Around 4 months, some babies also undergo a sleep regression that affects their sleep patterns.
It is usual for babies to develop a two-naps schedule and longer nighttime sleep in this stage of development. So, it is vital to establish a routine for the day and one for the night.
Infants (from 7 to 12 months)
Around age 9, most babies start sleeping through the night. Some older babies, age one, can take just one nap per day. Others may continue to need two naps well into their second year of life.
Toddlers (around 12 months and older)
Sleep needs for toddlers are between 12-14 hours per day, divided between naps and night sleep. By 18 months of age, most babies take only one nap a day.
Toddlers’ sleep patterns may occasionally shift when their routine disrupts, ill, or undergo a significant developmental change. Crying may be more frequent than usual during this time.
For example, a child who usually sleeps through the night may wake at 3 a.m. to play for a few nights.
In a Nutshell
Early in a child’s life, sleep can pose a challenge. Baby’s needs and tendencies are unique to them, so everyone is different.
Taking the baby’s temperament into account can help maximize the baby’s sleep, soothe her crying, and help her feel secure and comfortable.
The majority of the time, crying out in sleep does not indicate any serious problems. All babies eventually fall asleep, and almost all babies do this within the first few days of their lives.
So don’t rush at the first sound of your baby’s nighttime tears! In most cases, your baby will soon be sleeping soundly again and will make her way back to her solid slumber in no time.