Why Does My Baby Cry In Her Sleep?

Sleeping babies are a sight to behold, but what happens when your little angel starts crying in their sleep? It can be disconcerting, especially for new parents, to hear their child crying when they’re supposed to be peaceful and quiet. The question then arises, ‘Why does my baby cry in her sleep?’ 

We’ll explore this question and more in this detailed guide, aimed at helping you understand and address your baby’s sleep crying.

Why Does My Baby Cry In Her Sleep? Decoding the Mystery

crying baby can create a cloud of worry for parents, and it’s no different when your little one cries in their sleep. But before you panic, know it’s fairly common in infants. Sleep crying does not always indicate your baby is in distress or discomfort; sometimes, it’s simply a part of their sleep cycle. According to the Cleveland Clinic, babies can cry during the REM (Rapid Eye Movement) stage of sleep without even waking up.

Babies Cry In Their Sleep: Is It Normal?

Yes, babies cry in their sleep quite frequently. It’s essential to understand that infants go through different stages of sleep, just like adults do. During the REM stage, your baby might whimper, laugh, or even cry without fully waking up. This behavior is generally normal and nothing to be overly concerned about.

Understanding the Phenomenon: Crying in Their Sleep

When you hear your baby crying in their sleep, it could be due to a few reasons. They might be transitioning between sleep cycles or in the REM stage. Sometimes, your baby might have a bad dream or be slightly disturbed by a wet diaper or a change in temperature.

Fussy Baby At Night: What Can You Do?

If your baby becomes fussy at night and begins to cry, consider possible reasons. Are they hungry? Is their diaper wet or uncomfortable? Could they be feeling unwell? Attend to their needs promptly, but avoid stimulating them too much, as you want to encourage them to return to sleep.

Why Does My Baby Cry In Sleep: When To Worry?

While occasional sleep crying is normal, continuous crying or signs of distress could indicate a problem. Inconsolable crying could be a sign of illness or discomfort. If your baby is in pain, has a fever, or other symptoms accompany their crying, you should contact your pediatrician immediately.

Sleep At Months: Crying Patterns and What They Mean

Sleeping patterns change significantly as your baby grows. Let’s explore how crying in sleep varies at different stages.

6-Month Baby Crying In Sleep, But Not Awake

By the time your baby is six months old, they have a more established sleep pattern, and their sleep crying might decrease. However, if your 6-month-old baby is crying in sleep but not awake, they may be experiencing sleep regression or teething discomfort. Monitor their behavior, and if it continues, discuss it with your pediatrician.

1 Month Baby Crying In Sleep, But Not Awake

A one-month-old baby crying in sleep is usually not a cause for concern. At this age, babies are still adjusting to life outside the womb and may have irregular sleep patterns. If the crying is persistent or seems to be causing distress, consult your healthcare provider.

Why Does My 3 Month Baby Cry In Her Sleep?

Around the 3-month mark, your baby might experience a growth spurt or developmental leap, which can temporarily disrupt their sleep. Also, the 4-month sleep regression may start to kick in around this time. Therefore, if your 3-month-old baby cries in sleep, it may be due to these transitions. Remember, these periods are temporary, and your baby’s sleep should stabilize with time.

Why Does My Baby Suddenly Cry In His Sleep?

If your baby suddenly cries in sleep after a period of peaceful nights, it could be due to a myriad of reasons. Teething, illness, or environmental change could disrupt their sleep. Also, as they grow and start achieving milestones like rolling over or crawling, it could temporarily affect their sleep.

Addressing the Issue: Tips to Soothe Your Sleep-Crying Baby

Here are some strategies to soothe your crying baby in their sleep:

  1. Wait a moment: Sometimes, your baby might settle down on their own. If they’re not fully awake and not showing signs of distress, give them a minute to self-soothe.
  2. Gentle touch: A gentle pat or rub on the back can help reassure your baby that you’re there without fully waking them up.
  3. Check for discomfort: Ensure their diaper is clean and the room temperature is comfortable.
  4. Keep the environment calm and quiet: A quiet, dim environment can help signal to your baby that it’s time to sleep.
  5. Stick to a routine: A consistent bedtime routine can help your baby understand it’s time for sleep.

Wrapping Up: Understanding and Navigating Sleep Crying

While hearing your baby cry in sleep can be worrisome, it’s essential to remember that it’s quite normal. However, if your baby’s sleep crying is persistent, they seem distressed, or if you notice any other symptoms, it’s essential to seek medical advice. The American Academy of Pediatrics is a valuable resource for understanding safe sleep practices and when to reach out to a healthcare provider.

Related Topics

Now that we’ve extensively answered the question ‘Why does my baby cry in her sleep?’ you might have more inquiries about your baby’s sleep habits. Here are a couple of related topics you might find interesting:

The Transition from Cot to Bed

As your baby grows, there’ll come a time when you need to transition them from their cot to a bed. Understanding how to navigate this change will make the process smoother for both you and your little one.

Dealing with Night Terrors in Babies

Night terrors are a sleep disorder that causes individuals to react violently as if terrified, even though asleep. If your baby seems particularly distressed during their sleep crying episodes, you might want to explore the possibility of night terrors.

Sleep Training Techniques for Babies

If your baby is having a hard time establishing a good sleep routine, sleep training might be the solution. You can use various sleep training methods to help your baby sleep better and longer.

In the world of parenthood, the questions never seem to end, but remember, you’re not alone! Every parent goes through similar challenges, and with time, you’ll become an expert on your baby’s unique needs and behaviors.

The Effect of Feeding on Sleep

Nutrition plays a significant role in a baby’s sleep pattern. If your baby is not feeding well or is hungry, they might wake up more often or cry during sleep. Ensure your baby is feeding adequately, whether breastfeeding, formula feeding, or eating solids for older babies. 

Overfeeding can also cause discomfort, leading to disrupted sleep. If you’re having difficulties with feeding, consider speaking with a lactation consultant or your pediatrician for advice.

Understanding Sleep Regression

Sleep regression is a period where your baby, who has been sleeping well, suddenly starts waking up at night and has difficulty falling back asleep. It typically happens at around four months, eight months, and again around the 1-year mark, correlating with significant developmental milestones. Understanding sleep regression and knowing how to handle it can help you maintain a good sleep routine during these challenging periods.

How to Handle Teething and Sleep

Teething can cause discomfort and disrupt your baby’s sleep. Symptoms of teething include:

  • Excessive drooling
  • A rash around the mouth
  • Increased biting
  • Rubbing of the ear or cheek
  • Decreased appetite for solid foods
  • Disrupted sleep

You can help soothe your teething baby by providing a cold teething ring, using a clean finger to rub their gums gently, or, with your pediatrician’s approval, providing an appropriate dose of pain relief.

The Role of White Noise in Baby Sleep

White noise machines can be a helpful tool for helping babies sleep. The consistent sound can create a calming environment and mask disruptive noises. Some babies find white noise similar to the sounds they hear in the womb, which can be soothing. However, it’s essential to use white noise safely – keeping the volume at a safe level and placing the machine away from your baby’s crib to prevent harm to your baby’s hearing.

What are Nightmares and Night Terrors?

Babies and toddlers can have nightmares and night terrors, which can disrupt sleep. Nightmares are scary dreams that often wake children, leaving them frightened and needing comfort. Night terrors are more intense and can cause behaviors like screaming, intense crying, and flailing while the child remains asleep. Understanding these differences can help you manage and reassure your child during these frightening episodes.


Navigating the ever-changing world of baby sleep can be challenging, but remember, each baby is unique, and what works for one might not work for another. Be patient with yourself and your little one as you both figure out what’s best. Contact your pediatrician or a qualified healthcare provider if you’re unsure or concerned about your baby’s sleep or overall health.