By now, you’ve already realized that waking up in the middle of the night to the shrill sound of your baby’s cry is not the easiest parental requirement out there.
What’s even worse is that sometimes, you don’t even have a clue what’s causing your baby such discomfort. You’ve tried every possible way to pacify and get her back to sleep but all your efforts seem dismissible at best–it sucks, but it’s certainly not something to worry about.
Yes, we all know that no matter how normal this behavioral pattern is for babies, a part of you is still left wondering if it’s ever possible to mitigate these occurrences.
So to answer your question and put a definite end to your nightly worries, we’ll help you understand the truth behind this dilemma and figure out what exactly causes your baby’s woes at night.
The Truth Behind Your Baby’s Sleep Cycle
Just like adults, the sleep cycle of infants is divided into two parts: light and deep sleep. But what sets babies apart are their apparent shorter sleep cycles as they switch from light to deep sleep and vice versa in a matter of just 50 to 60 minutes.
One best course of action for you is to know how to check if your baby already entered deep sleep (non-REM). With this handy knowledge, you’ll be quite confident that no fussing will happen in about an hour or less after putting her to bed–which let’s be honest, is good enough for you.
So let’s say you’ve noticed your baby’s eyes getting droopy. Your immediate response to this is to take her into your arms and lull her to sleep. This is good and pretty much a given.
But to ensure that you’ve done a fair job of putting your baby to bed, don’t leave here until you’ve noticed that her breathing stabilized to a regular pattern, her eyelids no longer flutter and her muscles are already relaxed, to name a few.
This might take you longer but it will surely help protect your baby from the vulnerabilities and discomfort that will immediately wake her up from a light sleep.
Most Common Causes and Quick Fix to Nighttime Crying
Because your baby has not developed the ability to speak yet, she communicates every single thing she feels through crying. And while it is sometimes not the best sound to hear, it’s a foolproof signal for you to check on what could be happening and immediately tend to your baby’s needs.
Hunger is one of the most common reasons for night waking and crying for newborns and younger babies as they tend to have smaller stomachs that can only take so much. Indeed, no matter how small they are and how little they do, they still expend much energy and need to be fed at very frequent intervals.
Keep in mind that it is recommended to feed babies breastmilk until 6 months, and unlike formulas, breastmilk tends to stave off hunger for only quite a while.
What You Can Do: Make sure to feed your baby properly and at frequent intervals to keep her tummy full. Also keep in mind that for the first few months, you’re most likely to feed her at least 3 to 4 hours at night so it’s best if you prepare yourself for this routine.
Yes, your baby can get bad dreams at such an early age. Nightmares are commonly caused by exhaustion and stress. Babies get exhausted and stressed from too much activity such as travel to far places, exposure to a lot of doting visitors, and new activities. Other causes might be loud voices and other emotional stressors prevalent in your home. Don’t worry because these are all normal and can easily be mitigated.
What You Can Do: Adopt and stick to a bedtime routine to ensure that your baby gets the needed amount of sleep and avoid exhaustion. You can also schedule bathing and cuddling to help relax your baby before you lull her to sleep.
Her favorite lullabies can also be used during nighttime waking as such familiar sounds can help her feel more at ease even after terrifying dreams.
⦁ Physical Discomfort
Oftentimes, your baby may need to call your attention for diaper changing in the middle of the night. While sometimes, they just need you to fix the room temperature because they’re either feeling hot or cold.
You must know which is the actual problem so you can easily attend to your baby’s needs. To check if your baby is struggling due to the room temperature, you can check whether she’s too hold or too cold by feeling her tummy.
What You Can do: It is recommended to keep your room temperature at about 18 degrees C. You can also try to get her to sleep on her back with her feet at the foot of her bed to keep her from wriggling under the blankets and feel too hot at night.
If she’s cold, use sheets and cellular blankets to provide her with the needed heat.
Make sure that the diapers you use do not irritate her skin. Change her diapers as soon as it is full or starts causing her great discomfort.
⦁ Health Condition
Your baby may cry in a different tone to signal you that she’s not feeling well. It could either be weaker, urgent, high-pitched, or continuous.
Oftentimes, you can easily gauge if your baby’s discomfort is just caused by minor health issues like teething. This is because babies tend to be more irritable and restless in the week before their new tooth comes through.
Of course, there are also other telling signs if the problem is more than that.
What You Can Do: Do not panic. If your baby has a high fever, diarrhea, constipation, or starts vomiting, call your doctor immediately or rush her to the hospital.
Now that we’ve exhausted the common reasons why your baby keeps you up at night, we hope that you’re already thinking up ways how to fix your baby’s daily routine.
Indeed, the first few months may be the hardest but it will surprise you that once you nail all our tips, everything will soon be a breeze.