How You Should React When Your Baby Wakes Up Crying in the Middle of the Night

Your baby wakes up crying? That can be quite stressful especially when she has no reason to do so; she is well fed and properly taken care of. So, what bothers her and makes her cry at night?   

You should know that waking up in the middle of the night is quite common among 1-1.5 year old babies. You are not alone in your predicament. There might be some physiological explanations for that. Maybe something bothers her: She may feel hot or cold. She might suffer from teething pain or she may be sick with a sore throat and a runny nose.  

The reason can also be psychological or emotional. Maybe she had a bad dream (Bad dreams begin around the age of 1.5 – 2 years), Maybe she is yearning for your attention.   

Significant changes in the toddler’s environment – such as moving to a new apartment, going to a new kindergarten, the arrival of a new brother or sister – may temporarily disrupt normal sleep patterns and result in your baby wakes up crying.  

When does it become a problem?  

Even if your baby wakens three or four times a night, it doesn’t mean that she suffers from a sleep disorder as long as a pat on the back is all that it takes to make her fall asleep again.   

But if your baby wakes up crying even once or twice at night and then experiences considerable difficulties returning to sleep, then you may have a problem. You cannot get the sleep you need to function properly the following day and your baby will also be tired. In extreme cases, lack of sleep may even delay her physical and cognitive development.   

How you can help your baby return to normal sleep patterns  

There are some simple methods meant to help your baby sleep better at night. It is highly recommended following a routine sleep ritual. Your toddler will, therefore, know what awaits her every night. This will give her a sense of control in her life.   

The ritual should include a strict schedule of a bath, wearing pajamas, reading a story (without any scary events or images), saying good night (with plenty of hugging and kissing) and then going to bed. All must be done in a relaxed atmosphere that should be in direct contrast to the busy activities of the day. It can be helpful to dim the lights at home right before the ritual begins. And, most importantly, Avoid tablet, mobile phones or TV about 2 hours before bed time.  

If your baby wakes up crying, it is best to wait a few moments and let her try to fall asleep by herself. If the crying increases, try to soothe her by caressing her while she is in bed. It might suffice to make her resume her sleep.   

If your baby doesn’t relax, you can pick her up calm her down and then return her to bed as quickly as possible.  You ought to avoid any unnecessary interaction with your child at night – no playing, no talking. There will be plenty of time for it during the day. You want your child to learn that night time is meant for sleep only.   

If all of that doesn’t help, you may decide that one parent will stay with the baby (You should take turns) until she falls asleep.   

When your baby wakes up crying, you will be inclined to take her in your arms. As mentioned above, it’s OK as long as it is for a couple of minutes. But eventually, she must spend the night in her bed. That’s the only way she can resume good sleeping habits.