Do babies really cry all night?
One of the biggest fears of future dads and moms and one of the biggest difficulties of those who have a baby at home are the nights, since there is the myth that babies cry all night long. But is that true?
It is a fact that the little ones cry at night, but it is not natural for children to spend the whole night screaming. It must be made clear that, despite the trauma of waking up in the wee hours and the anguish of seeing your crying child crying, it is normal and is part of the child’s development. If it is not something that happens constantly, there is nothing to worry about.
However, what are the reasons for children to cry at night, even if there are no apparent problems such as hunger, colic, teething, developmental jumps or nightmares? The situation is quite complex and needs to be analyzed in a very thorough way, starting with the phases of the baby’s sleep.
Children, like adults, have sleep cycles, and, in the case of young people, there are two: REM (Rapid Eye Movement) and NREM (Non-Rem) between 50 and 60 minutes until nine months of age. Of these 50/60 minutes, most of the sleep of young children is REM – for newborns, about 50% of sleep time is in REM. Therefore, babies spend most of their sleep in the state in which it is easier to wake up. During this period, breathing is irregular, rapid, and there are occasional body movements.
In the quiet stage (NREM), sleep is calmer. There is little movement of the child, breathing is regular and there is rapid movement of the eyes. At this stage of deeper sleep, it is harder to wake up. With short cycles like this, it is common for babies to wake up several times during the night, and often the child at that age cannot understand the sleep process. So, he cries when he wakes up..
Hunger, cramps, dirty diapers
These are the most natural reasons for the child to cry at night, since he is physically bothered. Starting with hunger, it is necessary to understand that babies have a small digestive system and ingest small amounts of milk with each feeding. In other words, they will be hungry quickly and cry about it.
It is never pleasant to sleep in a dirty diaper, which already explains one more reason for nighttime crying. The little ones feel bothered by the dirtiness, the temperature and especially if they have a rash, which exacerbates all the previous issues. It is necessary to be aware in case it happens frequently, as it may indicate diarrhea or some special case. But remember: waking the baby and waking him up in the middle of the night to change his diaper is not the right thing to do, of course, unless he has a rash or irritation.
Finally, another point that gives parents dread is cramps, caused by gases in the child’s gastrointestinal system. Very common among the small, who are still developing their digestive systems, they generate a great deal of discomfort and can cause a lot of crying. Night crises can be difficult to solve and require certain measures, like placing hot water bottles and massages, among others.
The sleep routine
As the name says, the routine must be a habit of the baby and, in order for it to happen, the whole family must get involved. Thus, the best thing to do is to establish the routine even before the child is born.
For starters, the environment where the child goes to sleep should be prepared, in order to provide relaxation, proper lighting, decoration that does not offer excessive stimuli, mattress and crib. These details are essential for the emergence of a successful routine.
The idea is for the child to understand that when he is in that environment, he is safe and should sleep. This routine will make it natural for the baby to know the moment of falling asleep and also to go back to sleep when waking up between sleep cycles. By providing a real nest for the child, he can understand how to sleep without getting agitated or stressed.
Naps are also very important for sleep routine. The idea here is that by taking short periods to rest during the day, the baby is calmer at night and can sleep better. Notwithstanding, it is necessary to reinforce that the routine is a baby’s best friend to ensure peaceful sleep.
Another relatively common cause for crying crises of babies at night is so-called “Night Terror”, which is nothing more than a sleep disorder. The main characteristics of Night Terror are screams; the child demonstrates fear and, of course, cries a lot. However, it is very common for the baby not to wake up during episodes of Night Terror.
Just as it begins, it is common for Night Terror to suddenly stop happening. In moments of crisis, it is recommended not to wake the child – taking the baby in your lap and trying to calm it is essential.
Among the known causes for the onset of Night Terror are sleep deprivation and lack of relaxation before bedtime. Therefore, it is recommended to have in place a familiar and, mainly, relaxing sleep routine to prevent the disorder..