Babies, both newborn and young, all have one thing in common: they will cry. They will cry an awful lot because when they are that young, it is the only way that they have to communicate. They can’t tell you what is wrong or what they want, so this is their only method of letting you know that they want something.
There are many babies, but not all, that will cry in their sleep. This is not something to be alarmed about, at least not right away. There can be serious problems when a baby cries in their sleep but it is more often than not simply a phase that is no cause for alarm (but is cause for a lot of lost sleep for the parents or caregivers).
Why do babies cry in their sleep?
For newborn and young babies, it is a possibility that they may cry, grunt, or scream while they are sleeping. At this stage in their development, a regular sleep cycle is something babies have not conquered. For this reason, it is not uncommon for them to wake up with some frequency or to make sounds in their sleep.
As mentioned above, crying is the only form of communication that young babies have. Crying in their sleep can let you know that they are cold, gassy, or any other number of things that are definitely not concerning.
Crying in their sleep is still nothing to ignore. There can be other concerning symptoms that accompany crying in their sleep; signs of pain or illness. This is normally apart of their development but it is important to keep an eye on your baby should they cry in their sleep. Better safe than sorry, after all.
One common reason that babies may cry in their sleep is that, as they develop, nightmares or night terrors are beginning to occur. Babies who cry while sleeping while also making other sounds or moving around in bed may be experiencing night terrors. This is different from a nightmare as the baby can become extremely agitated while in the deeper phases of the sleep cycle.
Ultimately though, it is just your baby attempting to communicate that something is amiss. So check their diaper, make sure that they are snuggled up in a sleeper or wrapped up tightly to keep them warm. Maybe even try to burp them to alleviate any potential gas issues.
How do I soothe a baby that is crying in their sleep?
More often than not, it is best to let the baby settle themselves. Picking them up right away may wake them up fully, disrupting their sleep cycle. If the crying persists, try to talk to them softly or rub their stomach or back. Ultimately, it will come down to providing a simple soothing to get the back to sleep.
When it is an issue of illness or a greater issue, there is little else that can be done by you; it is important to consult a caretaker. Babies crying in their sleep is more often than not completely normal and will take care of itself in short order.