Babies wake up at night for many reasons. Some are more obvious than others, but it’s important to know what some of the most common reasons are so you can take steps to help your baby sleep better.
In this post, we’re going to go over nine possible causes for a baby waking up and crying in the middle of the night. If you don’t see your reason listed here, don’t worry, there are a lot of different factors that contribute to a baby waking up crying.
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How Old is Your Baby While Waking up Every Hour at Night?
When we research babies waking up and crying problems, we should differentiate them by months old first. In another word, 4-month and 7-month-old babies might have different reasons for waking and crying frequently at night.
0 – 6 Months Old Baby Sleeping
Infants 0-6 months old have a small amount of food in their stomachs so have to feed them very often. Their sleep cycle is short and easy to wake up during the night. They rarely sleep more than 4 hours consecutively due to this short feeding circle.
Therefore, there won’t be much difference between nighttime and daytime for less than 6 months old babies, e.g typically 4, 5, or 6 months old.
This also means that babies will often wake up for night feedings every 3 or 4 hours, since the last time they were fed or slept. They have to replenish calories lost during digestion and maintain deep restful sleep cycles.
6 Months or Older Baby Sleeping
Researchers have found that babies who are 6 months old or older gradually enter a stable period in their sleep, and can usually stay asleep for more than 5 hours at night.
However, some children always cry and quarrel during the day while they’re supposed to be sleeping. If this applies to your child’s situation, there might be some reasons that contribute to the baby’s normal sleeping loss. We will guide you through a few common reasons behind this, so to help every parent and their babies have better sleep at night.
Why does my Baby Wake Up Every Hour At Night?
Baby’s night waking could be that your baby is still hungry or needs a diaper change. Or maybe he’s just not used to sleeping as long at night and has been waking up earlier in the morning recently. A stomachache, fever, or pain might also cause your baby uncomfortable and cry at night.
Here we list out the 9 most common reasons that cause babies frequently wake up and cry at night.
Calcium deficiency might cause the baby to wake up crying at night. Breast milk contains about 30-40% of an infant’s daily needs for calcium and it is recommended that mothers who are breastfeeding their babies also take a supplement containing 400 mg of elemental calcium per day, or 600 mg if they are pregnant.
Without enough dietary calcium, bone loss can occur in infants which will lead to fractures when they get older. If your baby wakes up at night with lots of fussing, try giving them more nutritious foods like yogurt and cheese, but make sure you talk to your doctor before adding any supplements into their diet because too much supplementation could have some side effects as well.
Mosquitoes can be a big problem for babies who are living in an area where it is the season to have these bugs. The baby’s delicate skin may react differently to mosquito bites than adults, so they will wake up and cry according to their parents’ report.
The child might not even know what happened but there will be red bumps that itch on their body which makes them uncomfortable and want to scratch those spots off from itching too much or just having a sensitive reaction.
Eating disorders can cause babies to wake up at night because of the discomfort they feel. They will have a hard time going back to sleep so it is important for parents not only to make sure that their baby has enough food during the day but also ensure they are eating healthy foods before bedtime.
It’s helpful if you avoid milk or other dairy products from being included in your meal as these could affect how well your baby sleeps; instead, try giving them a healthy and filling meal from vegetables, meat, carbohydrates, or protein.
If you have to change your baby’s diaper at night, try to keep the lights dim and be as quiet as possible. Some babies respond better to their bedtime routine if it is done in a dark room while they are awake but sleepy, which makes them less likely to wake up when you change their diapers during nighttime feedings or naps.
If your baby wakes up crying with a dirty diaper, remember that this isn’t unusual. That is common that babies are woken up by changes in their environment (like being put down on another surface) because these things happen all day long without waking people from sleeping. But what does matter is how often an individual needs to get changed throughout the night.
Baby congestion is a common cause of a baby waking up and crying at night. That’s because they can’t breathe through their noses, so the congested mucus backs up into their throat or sinuses to irritate them.
Additional symptoms of nasal congestion are snoring when sleeping, a stuffy nose during the day, redness in your baby’s eyes, and excessive drooling.
Nasal decongestants may be prescribed for babies who have chronic respiratory issues such as allergies or asthma, but with these medications, there could also be side effects including drowsiness and irritability while awake that will impact sleep continuity.
There are other natural remedies like steam inhalation from boiling water in a pot on the stovetop (make sure the baby is supervised), using a cool-mist humidifier, and even saline nose drops.
Baby Room Temperature
Babies should be comfortable in their own room. Keep it at a safe temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit or cooler and make sure the baby’s bedding is appropriate for the season, like light blankets during summer months and heavy ones when winter approaches.
Place your baby close to an open window if you are using central heating to keep his bedroom cool enough so that he can regulate his body heat. This will help him sleep better as well.
Babies start teething from 4-10 months old and are fully grown by two and a half years old. Before the baby’s teeth erupt, the gums may become red, swollen, itchy, and sometimes semi-slightly hot. It can cause great discomfort to the baby.
Babies are not able to speak and tell you what is wrong with them, so they might be experiencing pain. Teething can cause many symptoms including red cheeks, drooling, fever, or a sore mouth.
Babies may wake up at night because of irritated gums that have made it hard for them to sleep through the night and he feels better when he chews on something cold like ice cubes.
Overstimulation can cause the baby to wake up during the night. This is because they are being stimulated too much in the daytime and it causes them to be overtired or not able to fall asleep easily.
Overstimulation also happens when there’s a lot going on around your child, such as bright lights from outside or loud noises nearby like airplanes overhead or noisy neighbors next door.
Going back out into these stimulating environments might make him want to sleep less at night so he will need you more throughout the day for naps and nighttime sleep.
The baby’s nerve system is not well developed, so the inhibition function is weak. Their brains are easily stimulated by the outside world and get too excited. If too much stimulation during the day or too intense activities at night before bedtime, the baby’s brain is still excited during sleep, which may trigger sudden wake-up crying in sleep, like dreaming.
So be careful not to let your baby move too much and play too excitedly before bedtime to ensure that your baby falls asleep naturally and has a good night’s sleep.
Before going to bed, you can hum songs, speak softly and caress your baby, and try not to tickle and fight with your baby.
We have summarized a few common reasons that cause babies to wake up frequently at night. There are certainly other causes for babies’ frequent crying. We will complement this article as soon as we have new research on this topic.
As you can see, less than 6 months old children, e.g 4, 5, or 6 months old, have to wake up every hour, due to their short feeding circle.
However, if your babies are 6 months older, you should investigate the real reasons to cause frequent waking up and crying.
Then, how do you calm down your babies and get them to have a higher quality sleep at night? We will have more valuable sharing for this topic in our following article.