Help When Baby Won’t Stop Crying At Night

It’s the middle of the night and Baby simply won’t stop crying. Your motherly side wants to comfort her and solve the problem, but your body just wants to go back to sleep. You’re getting desperate, thinking something serious must be wrong – what can you do?

First, don’t panic. Worries run wild at night, and even mild sniffles suddenly seem much worse. Remember, if Baby is really ill, she will probably whimper or whine instead of crying loudly.

For more invaluable information on sleep see the Sister Lilian Centre Sleep Like a Baby Workshop.

Now the question remains: why is Baby crying? And what can you do about it?

Crying is often Baby’s way of saying that she wants to spend some time with you, or it might be a release for her tension and emotions. Going with your motherly instinct to comfort her is the practical and emotionally intelligent solution.

The first thing to do, if cuddling doesn’t stop her crying, is to check that she isn’t simply uncomfortable. She might be hungry, so try feeding her – small babies need to feed frequently and night breast milk is especially nutritious. Check that her clothing isn’t restrictive and that she isn’t too hot or too cold. Shift things around slightly, she might have been lying in one position for too long. If none of that helps, try my five tried and trusted tips for soothing a crying baby:

  1. Run a deep, warm bath – no matter what time of day it is – and soak with Baby for half an hour. Put a facecloth over Baby’s tummy for extra security, and offer her a feed right there. This beats pyjama parade any day – or night!
  2. Massage Baby; try gently massaging her chest between the nipples, and making soft circular fingertip movements between her eyebrows, on her temples, and behind her ears. Giving her a full body massage before bed can help prevent night crying too.
  3. Play soothing music and dance gently with Baby – yes, even if it’s night. This works particularly well if you play the same music that you used to play while you were pregnant.
  4. Take Baby into bed with you and let her lie with her head by the left side of your chest so that she can listen to your heartbeat. This will provide her with comfort and the close proximity to you that she is probably craving.
  5. Surround yourself with supportive people, and don’t take to heart the people who offer all sorts of advice and imply that it is somehow your fault. Broken sleep does not make you a bad mother, so banish all of those negative thoughts and feelings!

If you suspect that Baby is not well, read my blog What to do about fever, earache and croup at night.

Remember: all babies grow up and one day you will be able to get a full night’s sleep again! Then you’ll probably find yourself missing those midnight moments spent cuddled together…