There is nothing scary or unusual about waking up crying at night: interpretation

What does a newborn cry like?

Like all children, your child is unique. He eats, sleeps, reacts to stimuli in his own way - and he will also calm down in his own way. Despite all the variety of individual manifestations, the nature of the crying of newborns is the same.

  • Invitational crying - the child screams for 5 - 6 seconds, then pauses for 20 - 30 seconds, when attention is distracted or waiting for the result, then screams again for about 10 seconds and calms down again for 20 - 30 seconds. This cycle is repeated several times, with the period gradually increasing until the crying becomes continuous;
  • Hungry crying begins with an inviting cry. If the mother came up and took the baby in her arms, but did not offer the breast, then the crying turns into an angry cry, which is combined with “searching” movements of the head, and at this moment the child becomes silent. If she still does not breastfeed, then the demanding crying turns into furious crying with choking. The baby can put his fist in his mouth, make sucking movements with his lips and tongue, turn his head in search of the mother’s breast or pacifier;
  • Crying in pain is crying with a hint of suffering and hopelessness. This is a fairly even, incessant cry, during which bursts of desperate screams occur, apparently corresponding to an increase in pain. If you did not approach the child when he was screaming “invitingly”, and he began to cry, then by the way he cries, you can guess the reason for the crying in order to quickly calm the baby down.

How to understand that a baby’s light sleep is a deviation from the norm

Sleep disturbances in newborns are poorly understood. Moreover, this applies not only to domestic medicine, but also to foreign medicine. Usually, sleep returns to normal by the age of 1.5 years. But if the problem of crying at night without waking up continues to bother the baby even after 1.5-2 years, it would not hurt to consult a pediatrician. We are talking specifically about constant sleep disturbances, and not about periodic cases of whining at night, when the child is simply overtired during the day.

When should you go to the doctor? It is worth paying attention to how the child behaves during periods of wakefulness and sleep. If a child’s whining at night is accompanied by talking, sharp twitching of the limbs and even attempts to get out of bed, if during the day he is constantly capricious and lethargic, or vice versa - overexcited, refuses his usual food, flinches from loud sounds, it is better to consult a pediatrician and neurologist.

Reason #1: I'm hungry

Usually the mother feeds the baby 8 - 10 times a day, but the number of feedings can reach 15 - 20, including nightly breastfeeding (2 to 4 times per night). During this period, the baby needs to be fed on demand, not according to a schedule. By one month, the baby sets his own routine.

Hunger is the most common cause of newborn crying. To make sure that the baby is crying from hunger, just touch the corner of his mouth with a bent little finger: if the newborn immediately turns his head and opens his mouth, it means he is hungry.

We tell you how to feed your baby correctly here.

A child cries a lot in his sleep – isn’t it time to see a doctor?

Violations are assessed using special questionnaires. This test helps identify the problem and assess its severity.

Parameter Description
Laying resistance Sleep disorders due to incorrect setting of limits.

The child flatly refuses to go to bed, behaves restlessly, and requires the obligatory presence of an adult when he falls asleep.

Difficulty getting sleep Causes:

mental disorders; sleep hygiene errors; neurological disorders (restless legs syndrome).

Night awakenings The baby does not sleep for a long time and cries. The cause of the problem is incorrect associations. To fall asleep, a child needs conditions that are unavailable at night (the constant presence of parents).
Sleep duration Both the total sleep time per day and the duration of night sleep are assessed. If a child sleeps little, this has a detrimental effect on his nervous system.
Difficulty waking up The baby refuses to wake up in the morning. His parents have great difficulty getting him out of bed. Reasons: disturbed sleep, gaps in education (difficulty setting limits and managing behavior).

Daytime sleepiness During the day, the baby complains of loss of strength and constant fatigue. The child is lethargic and sleeps while walking.

Roots of the problem:

a disease that interferes with proper rest at night (restless legs syndrome); mental disorders; neurological disorders.

Excessive daytime sleepiness may be a sign of narcolepsy.

Breathing disorders during sleep Highlight:

primary snoring; combination of snoring with difficulty breathing due to increased airway resistance; obstructive sleep apnea (snoring, frequent awakenings due to respiratory arrest).

Restless sleep The child tosses and turns and often shudders. This prevents him from resting properly.
Parasomnias Undesirable events that accompany sleep, awakening or falling asleep.

These include:

night terrors; sleepwalking (sleepwalking); nightmares (the baby often screams and moans in his sleep); enuresis (involuntary emptying of the bladder during sleep).

In order to assess the daily routine, parents are asked to fill out a diary. The doctor is interested in what time the baby goes to bed, how long it takes him to fall asleep, and whether he wakes up during the night.

In complex cases, instrumental studies cannot be avoided. Modern equipment will help you quickly identify the problem and begin treatment.

Diagnostic methods

Polysomnography Registers during sleep:

movements of masticatory muscles and eyeballs; brain activity (in the form of electrical impulses); leg muscle contractions; air flow (during breathing); breathing movements of the abdomen and chest; saturation of tissues with oxygen; ECG.

Actigraphy Studying the cycles of rest and activity using a special sensor.
Sleep latency test During the study, the child is given the opportunity to fall asleep 4 or 5 times a day for half an hour. At this time, the necessary measurements are made. The test determines the degree of daytime sleepiness.
Infrared video camera Used to observe movements in the dark.

After a thorough examination, the doctor prescribes treatment.

Reason #2: I'm uncomfortable

Children often cry because they feel uncomfortable. This kind of crying is continuous (or almost continuous), more monotonous compared to crying from hunger and is accompanied by anxiety in the child. Which can cause discomfort in a newborn

  • Dirty diaper or wet diaper. In the first month of life, a baby “goes to the toilet” up to 20 times a day. With natural feeding, the child’s stool frequency is 5–6 times, and with artificial feeding — 3–4 times a day;
  • Need to change position: the baby wants to roll over, and he needs your help; he will learn to roll over on his own only after a few months;
  • Too tight swaddling, tight diaper, folds in diapers, small object caught in diaper or clothing (button, crumb, pebble, string);
  • Too bright lighting, loud noise, not enough fresh air;
  • Intestinal colic.

Tight swaddling (with straightened legs and straightened arms tightly pressed to the body), which was very common before, disrupts the natural position of the newborn, normal breathing and blood circulation, which the child “does not like.”

Reason No. 3. I'm hot (cold)

Temperature is very important for the well-being and mood of the baby. The room in which the child is located must be maintained at a constant temperature (22–24 °C for newborns, 20–22 °C for older children). How to create a comfortable temperature

  • Touch the baby's shoulders, back or wrists: if they are hot and sweaty, the baby is overheated; if they are cool, he is freezing;
  • If your baby is hot, open him up, remove one layer of clothing, and change him into dry underwear;
  • If your baby is cold, wrap him in a blanket, pick him up, and put him on your chest. Once your baby is warm, be sure to put on an extra layer of clothing before putting him in the crib;
  • For the future: you should not wrap your child up - the baby’s clothes should be loose and breathable, made of natural fabrics, such as cotton. Children endure overheating much harder than hypothermia, and this is always worth keeping in mind when dressing your baby.

Clue! Tested for generations: we dress the baby as ourselves, plus one more layer.

How to normalize sleep in infants up to one year old

Newborns do not yet have nightmares, severe stress or emotional overload. It is not for nothing that in most cases, sleep disturbances are now considered a physiological norm. And yet, it is entirely possible for parents to create conditions for their child so that he does not wake up at night. What is important to do?

  1. Establish a clear daily routine. It is advisable that feeding, bathing, periods of sleep and wakefulness take place at the same time. And as experts say, you need to start creating a daily routine literally from the first days of a baby’s life, otherwise it will be more difficult to “implement” a strict routine later.
  2. Create an optimal microclimate in the room where the child sleeps. It is believed that the room should be 18-22 °C and 40-60% humidity. Many parents speak very highly of air humidifiers, which help create an ideal indoor microclimate - not only maintaining the desired level of humidity, but also purifying the air.
  3. Provide your child with optimal sleep conditions. It doesn’t hurt to pay attention to the bedding in the crib - it is advisable that it be made from natural fabrics. The child’s clothing is also important – comfortable and soft, providing ideal thermoregulation. In such a child will not be either hot or cold.
  4. Make sure that the child does not become overtired in the evening hours. Even a baby has busy days. But it is advisable that the child still have “quiet time” before going to bed - no extra guests or active games.

Consult your pediatrician. Let the specialist recommend anti-colic remedies and pain-relieving ointments for the gums that are suitable for the baby. Many doctors recommend swaddling and co-sleeping for sensitive baby sleep.

Both the first and second causes a lot of controversy. There is an opinion that swaddling can inhibit the development of motor functions in a child, cause dysplasia, impair blood circulation in the extremities, or even cause even greater restlessness at night.

Co-sleeping is good for many, but in the future it will be difficult to “move” the baby into a separate room, since he will get used to sleeping with his mother. Weigh the pros and cons

As experienced parents say, this is a difficult time when a child periodically cries in his sleep, you just need to get through it. Everything will pass with age.

Reason #4: I'm in pain

What do sharp, piercing, alarmed screams mean that do not stop even when you take the baby in your arms? They talk about the pain he is experiencing. Most often this is abdominal pain or colic. Few people manage to avoid them, but you can help your baby and reduce discomfort.

Read about how to deal with them here.

How to reduce your baby's pain

  • Make sure that during feeding the baby grasps the nipple and areola - this way air will not get into the baby along with the milk (loud smacking is a sign that the baby is sucking in air along with the milk, and this should be avoided);
  • If the baby is bottle-fed, feed the baby a little more slowly, the mixture should completely fill the nipple; you can use special bottles that do not allow air to pass along with food;
  • After feeding, hold your baby in an upright position for 2 to 5 minutes, with his head leaning against your shoulder and his tummy pressed closely to your chest;
  • Give your baby a simple massage that stimulates the removal of gases from the intestines: lay him on his back and stroke his tummy clockwise. Massage with gentle pressure on the abdomen around the navel. Mentally draw a horseshoe on your tummy, the ends of which point down. Your hand movements should follow this clockwise path;
  • Place a warm (not hot) diaper or heating pad on your baby's tummy;
  • Try a gas tube (available at a pharmacy). The procedure is as follows: the baby should be laid on his side, the thin end of the tube, lubricated with Vaseline, should be inserted into the anus about a centimeter, and the other should be lowered into a glass of water. If the cause of pain is gases accumulated in the intestines, then you will soon see air bubbles. Sometimes the tube stimulates stool, which also brings relief to the baby;
  • Adjust your diet, try to determine which product in your diet causes colic in your baby, and try not to eat it. Cabbage, legumes, grapes, products made from yeast dough, any spicy food, caffeine, chocolate can increase colic in a child;
  • Try giving your baby warm fennel tea or dill water by bottle;
  • If the above measures have no effect, consult a pediatrician; if necessary, he will consider the possibility of using medications - drugs that eliminate increased gas formation, are not absorbed into the blood and do not harm the baby;
  • Flatulence can be increased by an excess of lactose or a lack of the enzyme lactase. This happens when the baby receives too much “fore” milk and not enough “hind” milk. At the beginning of feeding, mother's milk is more saturated with milk sugar - lactose. It's called "front". After 10 – 15 minutes of feeding from the same breast, she begins to produce “hind” milk. It is richer in fats, which neutralize lactose and thereby reduce gas formation. Hind milk also has a calming effect and helps restless babies fall asleep.

Most newborns naturally fall asleep at the end of a feeding thanks to the soothing effects of hindmilk. When the baby grows up and sucks more effectively, it will begin to reach him within a shorter period of time after the start of feeding.

Reason No. 5. Malaise

It happens that crying is associated with a certain ailment of the baby (intracranial pressure, nervous system disorders, increased excitability, hypertonicity, hypotonicity, developmental pathology, physiological phenomena of the adaptation period, the onset of an infectious or cold disease, skin diseases or diaper rash, reaction to geomagnetic, atmospheric phenomena and etc.). If you cannot identify the reason for your baby’s crying, do not hesitate to consult a perinatologist: the doctor will definitely help eliminate crying associated with the disease.

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