Why Does My Newborn Cry in Sleep?

Are you a new parent wondering why your newborn cries in sleep? It’s quite common. Crying is a big part of a newborn’s growth. Infant crying is very important. It keeps babies safe and helps them grow. When a newborn cries, it tells you they need something.

Some cries, like high-pitched ones, may cause you to react strongly. These types of cries show that the baby might have had some issues before birth. This includes things like brain injury, not enough food, or being exposed to drugs before birth. How you react to these cries can shape the baby’s mind and feelings. Giving kind and calm help helps them. But feeling too nervous or not wanting to help can make things hard for the baby.

Key Takeaways

  • Infant crying lets parents know the baby’s needs.
  • Certain cries might mean the baby had some challenges before birth. They can make parents feel more concerned.
  • How parents react to a baby’s cries can affect the baby’s mind and social skills. Helping with care is best.
  • Crying a lot might show there’s a problem. Parents should talk to a doctor to check it out.
  • Learning about a baby’s sleep and cries can help parents understand and meet the child’s needs. This supports a child’s good growth.

Understanding Newborn Sleep Patterns

Newborns sleep in short bursts. They wake up a lot at night. This is how they grow and learn. It gets better with time.

Sleep-Wake Cycles in Infants

Newborns sleep a lot, but not for long at a time. They have a lot of dreams. Their brain sorts through new things while they dream.

Nighttime Fussiness: A Common Occurrence

Newborns sleep in different ways many times a day. Sometimes they cry a bit but then fall back asleep. If your baby cries a lot in sleep, a doctor might help find out why.

Reasons Why Newborns Cry in Sleep

Newborns cry in their sleep for many reasons. This is very common. There are several causes behind this. Knowing these can help you care for your baby better. It can lead to more sleep for everyone.

Hunger and Feeding Cues

Newborns need to eat often because they have small stomachs. They might cry in their sleep when they’re hungry. Look for signs like sucking or rooting. If you feed them quickly, it can calm them and stop the crying.

Discomfort or Overstimulation

Many things can make a baby uncomfortable and cry in their sleep. This includes a dirty diaper or being too hot or cold. Also, too much noise or bright light can be overwhelming. It might make them cry, too.

Developmental Milestones and Growth Spurts

Babies go through a lot of changes quickly. This development can make them fussy during the night. Things like learning to roll over, getting new teeth, or growth spurts can cause this restlessness. They might wake up more often and cry.

Excessive Crying and Colic

Are you a new parent noticing your baby cry a lot? This could be infant colic. Some crying is okay, but if it’s constant and can’t be soothed, especially in the evening, it could be a sign of colic.

Colic happens because a baby’s tummy isn’t fully developed yet. This causes them pain and leads to lots of excessive crying. It’s most common in babies under 3 months old.

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Usually, excessive crying stops by the third month. But, some babies might have issues later on, like trouble sleeping or eating. This might affect them for the first few years of life.

It’s good to remember that colic is pretty common. It happens to about 40% of newborns. The crying starts around three to six weeks after birth and stops by three or four months old. Colic doesn’t care if the baby is breastfed or formula-fed, or if they were born early.

Colic StatisticValue
Colic EpisodesCrying for more than three hours a day
Colic Resolution60 percent of infants by three months, 90 percent by four months
Colic OccurrenceEqually in male and female infants
Colic PrevalenceUp to 40 percent of all infants

If your baby’s excessive crying is causing a lot of problems for your family, talk to your doctor. They can check if there’s a medical reason for the crying and help you with advice on how to make your baby feel better.

Soothing Techniques for Crying Babies

Being a new parent can be tough when your baby cries. But, there are many ways to calm them down. You need to learn what your baby needs and respond with love. This can make both of you feel better during these hard times.

Gentle Rocking and Swaddling

Gentle rocking is a great way to calm crying babies. It mimics the womb’s cozy feel. This motion helps babies feel safe and sound. Swaddling, or tightly wrapping them in a blanket, also makes them feel secure. It stops sudden moves that might make them cry more.

White Noise and Calming Sounds

Trying white noise or calming sounds can also work wonders. A simple, steady sound can drown out sharp noises. This makes a quiet, peaceful space for your baby. You can use nature sounds, soft songs, or a white noise machine to help them relax.

Skin-to-Skin Contact

Skin-to-skin contact is a special method called “kangaroo care.” It’s very soothing for a crying baby. When you hold them close, your warmth and heartbeat comfort them. It helps their breathing and heart rate become steady again. This practice also deepens your bond and makes them feel safe.

newborn cries in sleep

Newborns are figuring out how to sleep. This is called sleep associations and habits. How they fall asleep affects if they cry at night. Babies who need things like rocking or feeding to sleep might cry more. This is because they don’t know how to calm down on their own. But if they learn to self-soothe, night crying can get less. For example, sucking on a pacifier or touching their face gently can help them sleep better.

Sleep Associations and Habits

Babies link certain things, like being rocked, to sleeping. When these conditions are not met, they might cry at night. Making bedtime consistent can solve this. A regular routine and a calming sleep environment help babies fall asleep. This means they may cry less at night.

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Self-Soothing Skills

Learning self-soothing skills is key for babies. Small acts like using a pacifier, stroking their face, or having a soft toy can calm them down. This is good for when they wake up during the night. Teaching these skills during the day makes babies more self-reliant at night.

Postpartum Sleep Deprivation

Newborn crying can be really hard for tired parents. They are already facing postpartum sleep deprivation. It’s tough for them to react well to their baby’s cries, which can add to their stress. It’s helpful for parents to take turns with their partner or get help from family and friends. This way, they can better handle their baby’s needs.

Seeking Support and Respite Care

Moreover, respite care options, like babysitting or having someone help at home, can give parents a rest. New parents often have little sleep. These sleepless nights can continue until the oldest child is 6 years old. This lack of sleep can cause trouble focusing, feeling sad, and a higher chance of postpartum depression.

If you feel down or have sleep problems for more than two weeks, talking to a doctor is important. Early help for postpartum depression stops it from becoming a big health problem.

Sleep Training Methods

For newborns who wake up often at night and cry, sleep training can help. Methods like “sleep fading” and the “chair method” are gentle. They help babies find ways to calm down without a lot of crying. A bedtime routine that’s the same every night is important. It makes the baby connect certain things with sleep time.

Gentle Sleep Training Approaches

Some gentle ways of sleep training are the “sleep fading” and “chair method.” These methods teach your baby to fall asleep by themselves. You slowly back away, letting your baby get used to falling asleep without needing you there all the time.

Consistency and Routine

Having a set bedtime routine and sticking to a sleep schedule is important. Doing the same things every night, like a warm bath, story, and a lullaby, helps. It gets your baby ready for sleep and makes bedtime easier.

Keep a regular naptime and bedtime. This helps your baby’s body clock work better. It leads to your baby sleeping more soundly.

When to Seek Professional Help

Crying is normal, but too much crying can be a problem if it harms the baby or family. If a newborn cries a lot and has signs of sickness like reflux, allergies, or an infection, professional help should be sought. Infant sleep consultants can help too. They specialize in helping families dealing with sleep issues and excessive crying.

Signs of Underlying Medical Issues

If a newborn cries a lot and shows other symptoms like not feeding well, vomiting, or looking uncomfortable, underlying medical issues could be the cause. It’s crucial to see a doctor in these situations. The doctor can check for health concerns and make sure the baby is okay.

Infant Sleep Consultants

Infant sleep consultants are there to help when babies sleep poorly or cry too much. They offer special tips and support. With their help, parents can find strategies to make their baby sleep better and learn how to comfort a fussy infant.

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Newborn crying during sleep is quite common. As babies learn to sleep and soothe themselves, they might cry in their sleep. This is part of them growing up. But, if the crying is too much, it could mean something is bothering them. It’s good to then try things like gentle rocking, swaddling, and white noise to soothe them.

For parents, dealing with lack of sleep after the baby comes is hard. So, it’s key to find ways to cope and get help. Some ways to teach babies to sleep better are the “sleep fading” and the “chair method.” They focus on helping babies learn to calm themselves and sleep all night. Using these methods with a regular bedtime routine can really help.

Parents should not worry about asking for help if the baby keeps crying. If the baby’s cry sounds different or is joined by other signs, like a fever, it’s best to call the doctor. Getting help early can make sure any issues are spotted and fixed. Just remember, every baby is different. With time and the right help, you can handle the crying and sleep problems.


Why does my newborn cry in their sleep?

Newborns cry in their sleep for many reasons. They might be hungry or overstimulated. They could also be hitting growth stages. This crying is normal as babies learn to sleep better.

What are the common reasons for newborn night wakings and fussiness?

Newborns sleep in short periods with breaks for being awake. They often cry at night because they’re hungry or uncomfortable. Sometimes, they’re just going through big changes.

What are the characteristics of excessive or persistent crying in newborns?

When a newborn cries a lot and can’t be soothed, it might be colic. This crying can last for hours, especially in the evening. Experts think colic happens because the baby’s stomach is still getting used to things.

What are some effective techniques to soothe a crying baby?

To calm a crying baby, try gently rocking them or holding them close. Swaddling and using calming sounds can also work well. These things make babies feel like they’re back in a cozy womb, and they can help you bond.

How can sleep associations and habits affect newborn crying?

Rocking or feeding babies to sleep might make them cry more at night. Teaching them to calm down on their own can reduce these crying times. This is about helping babies learn to sleep better.

How can postpartum sleep deprivation impact a parent’s ability to respond to a crying newborn?

When parents are very tired, they might find it hard to react well to their baby’s cries. This can make parents feel overwhelmed. Sharing baby duties with a partner or getting help from loved ones can make things easier.

When should parents seek professional help for their newborn’s excessive crying?

If your newborn cries a lot and there are signs of a health issue, it’s time to see a doctor. Specialists in baby sleep can also offer good advice if your baby’s crying is becoming too much.