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Dealing with night crying

When Baby was just born, you expected him to keep you up all night – after all, there’s a reason ‘sleep when the baby sleeps’ is the advice given to all new parents. Now that he is a bit older though, it may seem like he should have grown out of this stage by now.

Whether Baby never quite stopped waking up in the middle of the night and crying for your attention, or he was a solid sleeper through the night until recently, it’s still not surprising if Baby has been making a dent in your sleeping hours. While most babies do settle into a pattern of sleeping through the night at a certain point, all babies develop along different timelines, and even when they do sleep through the night, that pattern is often disrupted by growth spurts or developmental changes.

What to do

Unfortunately, if Baby is going through a growth spurt, there may not be too much you can do. He really might just need the extra nourishment he is asking for when he wakes up crying, and feeding him more before bed may not help, since being over-full before bed can actually lead to a more restless sleep.

One thing that could really help Baby, especially during a growth-spurt, but also at any other time, is an adjustment to his naptime. If there is one nap that has been getting shorter and shorter, it might be time to cut that nap out. If, on the other hand, Baby seems to have grown grouchier in general, he may be overtired, which can hurt the quality of his sleep. It could be that what he is really looking for is an earlier bedtime.

However, if Baby has developed a sense of object permanence, and a case of separation anxiety with it, he may be calling out for you at night because he missing you. To help with this, you can start building his confidence in your presence during the day by talking to him from the other room when you walk away to grab something, and by assuring him you’ll be right back before going on short trips, walks, or errands, and then following through by coming straight back to him. As Baby’s confidence grows, he should begin to feel calmer about not having you there beside him when he wakes up during the night.

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