Being a first-time mom can be a frustrating but fun experience. However, when it comes down to your child sleeping at night, this can be a different thing. For instance, it can be very annoying and taxing on your physical and mental health when dealing with a baby who suddenly wakes up in the middle of the night and screaming or crying.
In such situations, you feel helpless and you suddenly don’t know what to do. In this article, we’ll give you some reasons as to why your baby wakes up crying or screaming at night and what you can do to help your baby with these frustrating situations.
Causes of Baby Crying at Night
Here are the most common causes of your baby screaming or crying at night:
- Rocking your baby to sleep without placing them in the crib
Sure, rocking your baby to sleep works in the movies, but in reality, it doesn’t work that way. See, when you rock your baby to sleep, their last memory will be of you and the rocking motion, so they are more likely to wake up and ask you to rock them, which will be taxing for you for an all-nighter.
- Separation anxiety
Some babies can get separation anxiety when they’re about 6 months old. This happens if one of the parents are suddenly gone due to a change of job schedule, so one of the parents or relatives (or even their kids) need to take care of the baby for a while. This is usually unavoidable with a busy schedule but can be treated.
- Disruption on a sleep schedule
If your baby often gets distracted by their sleep, they can be more prone to waking up at night. They can also do this more often if they have less sleep. For example, if you play with them much more often, they won’t have a lot of time to sleep at night, which can cause them to be more irritable due to an uneven sleeping pattern.
- Developmental leap
This can be caused by sudden fevers, throat pain, ear aches and the like, which can be normal for most babies. However, it can be painful for them. Usually, these developmental leaps don’t last long, anyway.
- Wrongly dismissing crying
Most parents make the common mistake that “crying is wrong” because it’s annoying. This causes a negative commotion to babies and they cry much more and become rebellious with their attitude if you dismiss their crying with an angry attitude.
- Getting your baby too active
If you play with your baby more often, chances are, they may wake up more often at night because they are used to an active schedule. Sure, it’s fun to play with your baby for a couple of hours, but if you don’t let them sleep properly, they may not get the right sleep schedule for their development.
What Can I Do?
If you have been experiencing these problems with your baby, here are the things you can do to help your child lessen their crying and screaming at night:
- Pay attention to your baby’s behavior
Yes, it can be exhausting, but it is the only way you can know why your baby is crying at night. If you find yourself frequently visiting your baby and then crying when you’re gone, they may be developing some manner of separation anxiety. The only way is to train them to sleep without you around (done in gradual intervals), so you should at least limit the time looking at your baby.
- Don’t get angry when they start crying
One important thing that most parents don’t know is that crying should not be dismissed as bad behavior. Babies cry because they want to communicate something. Sure, it sounds annoying, but the only way to dismiss crying is by giving them what they really want, such as their baby formula/breast milk, toys or anything else they’d like.
- If you rock them, place them in the crib before the fall asleep
If you are a parent who’s used to rocking their baby to sleep, make sure that they don’t fall asleep in your arms and fall asleep in the crib instead. This makes it easier for the baby to not develop separation anxiety when you’ve stopped rocking them in your arms.
- Give them a toy or object
Having a toy, such as a stuffed bunny or a huggable pillow, can make your child feel less anxious at night. It will really help if you give them an object to cope for you not being there. However, make sure that the toy or pillow will not be constricting their breathing to avoid any likelihood of SIDS or sudden infant death syndrome, which is alarming.
- Avoid long day naps
Day naps can disrupt your baby’s schedule of sleeping when done in excess. The solution is to avoid keeping your child asleep for too long during the day so that you won’t have a lot of trouble at night. This applies not only to babies but also to children. Naps are okay for developmental purposes but they shouldn’t be excessively done in this case.
- Be careful when changing diapers
One good tip when changing diapers at night is to lessen the frequency of changing them to avoid waking up your child at night – or get better diaper brands that don’t cause a rash. You can also use less light to avoid distracting your baby.
- Make sure the crib is in a quiet room
This can be common sense but, some parents mistakenly have their cribs in rooms that are more prone to noise. If you think that your crib is not ideally placed in a quiet place, move it to another part of the house to avoid distractions and the like. However, make sure that the place is comfortable and easily accessible so that you can check your child’s condition in the fastest and most convenient way possible.