Does Your Baby Wake Up Crying at Night? Here are 9 Reasons Behind the Tears

After all the effort to put her to sleep so she can rest, something is bringing your baby back to "wake-up land," and she felt deprived. She wanted to go back to her slumber, and she needs your help.

Does your baby wake up crying in the middle of the night?

If there is one thing I have learned when babies cry, it is identifying the reasons behind all the tears. Understanding why your baby cries will help you find solutions to alleviate her pain and bring her back to sleep. Not only will it relieve your baby, but it will also reduce the number of hours for soothing.


I have listed below the common reasons why your baby wakes up crying at night.

#1 She is Hungry!


Yes, your baby might be hungry in the middle of the night, and her growling stomach might cause her to wake up. The empty feeling in her stomach may disturb her, and the pain is enough reason for her to cry.

Hunger is one of the typical reasons why babies cry, both awake or asleep. When hunger strikes, they will try their best to get your attention for feeding and soothing. For newborn babies to babies below the age of 1 year old, waking up crying in the middle of the night is a typical instance. Since they are only fed with milk all throughout the day, you need to feed them more often.

But, how do you know if your baby is truly hungry?

  • Her whines will transition to louder cries. At first, your baby may be whining. But, when nothing happens to her whines, she will gradually cry louder until you give in to her wishes of being fed.
  • Her whines will transition to louder cries. At first, your baby may be whining. But, when nothing happens to her whines, she will gradually cry louder until you give in to her wishes of being fed.
  • She will eat like it is one entire meal. Your baby will be awake the whole time of feeding, either drinking from her bottle or feeding on your breast. She will be able to drink a load amount of milk and will eventually fall asleep.
  • It is consistent with her daytime feeding schedule. Does your baby wake up at night every after 4 hours? Is your daytime feeding also every 4 hours? If yes, such consistency might be working on your baby even at night. She may be used to feeding at that specific cycle that her body tells her to wake up and feed during those times.

What you can do: Try feeding her a bottle of milk when she is crying louder. If she accepts it and starts drinking to her heart’s content, she will sleep in no time.

#2 She May Experience Night Terrors!

Don’t be alarmed but it happens to some babies! Night terrors are like nightmares that will scare your baby during her sleep. It can cause disturbances while sleeping and will make your baby screaming at night.

While night terrors and nightmares can both frighten your baby, nightmares are scary dreams often remembered the next day. On the other hand, your child will forget night terrors the following day.


Once they go through night terrors, your baby will cry incessantly for several minutes. She may even sit up on her bed and thrash, but she is still in a state of sleep. You may also see your baby opening her eyes, but she is not aware of her surroundings or even your presence. There will be a struggle on her part, and it can last for as long as 30 minutes.

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It is indeed heartbreaking for us to watch our babies going through night terrors and all we want to do is scoop them off their beds and soothe them. However, some experts suggest of being careful in touching our babies during these situations since it can do them more harm than good. Touching can cause them to panic more. It will also wake them up, which can cause them to cry some more.

What you can do: Be alert in these situations and always be by your baby’s side when it happens. Once you identified a night terror, make sure not to wake your baby from her sleep. Keep her safe during these occurrences.

#3 She Woke Up Too Soon!

Who doesn’t want to sleep longer in bed when they have the chance? And the good news is, babies have all these opportunities in the world. They can sleep longer if they have to and they can even sleep in the middle of the day or earlier in the evening.


Sleeping is essential for babies since it helps in their development. They need enough rest and sleep so their bodies can rejuvenate and grow. For infants, they need at least 12 hours of sleep each day.

However, not every day can a baby experience enough sleep. There are times when noises outside or the change in temperature can cause her to wake up early. You may ask, “Why do babies cry when they wake up?" Your baby woke up earlier than intended. She may feel deprived of the last few hours of sleep.

You may need your baby to go back to sleep. It will help soothe her crying. However, your baby will require you to help her rest, otherwise, she will only feel grouchy and restless.

What you can do: Monitor your baby’s sleep cycle. Make sure that she is sleeping at the right time. Create a peaceful and undisturbed sleeping environment for her.

#4 She is ill


When your baby cry while sleeping, it may be because of a sickness she is feeling. The physical discomfort she felt in her body may disturb her sleep and wakes her up. Illnesses can bring pain and hurt the body. The worst part is, she may even have a hard time going back to sleep.

Examples of Illnesses that Wakes Your Baby Up:

  • Fever – the rise in her body temperature causes discomfort all throughout her body
  • Throat pain – your baby will find it hard to swallow and only suffer the throbbing feeling down her throat.
  • ​Colds – she will have a stuffy nose, making her breath through her mouth. Continually doing so will cause dry mouth thus waking her up.
  • ​Infection – depending on where the infected area is, your baby will wake up feeling feverish or continuously coughing. She may even try to vomit or will suffer diarrhea.
  • Stomach Bug – the pain in her stomach is enough reason to wake her up

Babies suffering an illness can give you several rough nights. Not only will your baby experience the pain but you will also end up with nights without sleep. What’s important is to treat your baby’s illness so both of you can go back to better nights.

What you can do: Take your baby to her pediatrician for treatment. Follow what your doctor recommends especially in taking in your baby’s medicine. Do not worry! Be with your baby through these times so she will feel comforted despite the pain she feels.

#5 She is Teething!

Why does my baby wake up screaming? You may hear yourself asking this question when you saw your baby crying in the middle of the night. Your baby may scream for a good reason, and one of these reasons is tooth pain. Your baby may be going through teething.


There are different cases of teething for babies. Some babies may feel their teething as a slight itch in their gums. However, other babies may experience a painful throb in their gum area. Still, no matter how teething goes for your baby, it can be very frustrating, and it will only keep your baby up all night.

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Teething happens when your baby’s teeth are erupting soon. Their gums are beginning to swell up for the teeth to come out in a few weeks. Often, these instances come around six months. Some babies may go through teething as early as five months while others may be a late bloomer and experience teething nearly a year old. Once teething happens, it will go on for months, even up to their toddler years.

What you can do: Be mindful of your child’s development schedule. If he is nearly six months old, expect teething to happen anytime. Talk to your dentist or pediatrician on what you can do to help ease the pain of teething. Avoid self-medicating so as not to risk infection or damage.

#6 She Feels Uncomfortable!

Comfortable bed with soothing music and a cool temperature makes us want to snooze instantly! But, so does your baby! All these essentials to a good night sleep can help keep your baby sleeping all night through. However, once your baby feels physical discomfort while she sleeps, she will soon wake up crying.

Examples of Physical Discomfort:

  • Too hot or too cold environment. The level of the temperature inside the room must be comfortable on their skin. It should not be too warm to make them sweat or too cold to freeze their feet.
  • Itchy beddings. Even your baby will not sleep when her body is itching. It can be her bed cover or her pillow covers that causes the itch.
  • ​Stiff mattress. If the bed is hard, it will cause your baby’s body to become stiff and sore. The same idea works with their head pillow.
  • ​Either too tired or not tired enough. It feels good to sleep when you are tired, so your body can rest. But, when it is too tired, babies feel uncomfortable. Still, if they are not yet tired enough to sleep, they will not sleep at all.
  • ​Wet nappy. Something damp and itchy at the bottom will not encourage a good night sleep.

Comfort is essential to sleep since it allows the body to relax fully. When your baby is comfortable, she can sleep the whole night through, unless being awakened by hunger again!

What you can do: Create a peaceful and comfortable sleeping environment for your baby. Check his beddings and change it regularly. Make sure it is clean, smooth, soft and smells good. Also, check his nappy before sleeping so you can see if it needs a change or not.

#7 She Wakes Up Because of Habit!

Babies crying at night for no reason can be frustrating. No matter what you do, there seems to be no solution for her whines. She continues to cry almost every night.

If you feed her, she ignores the bottle. You checked her body temperature, and she feels okay. Her beddings seem to be okay, and she does not need a nappy change.

So, what may be wrong with your baby? Unfortunately, some babies wake up crying in the night because of habit. Their bodies had gotten used to waking and crying every night, especially if done at the same hour, so even if they do not need to wake up, they do!

Your baby’s body internal clock adjusts to a routine it can pick up as she grows. So, if you continue to allow her to feed during the same hours each night, they will indeed wake up and look for some feeding time.

For most parents, it is a big challenge. Not knowing what is wrong with your baby can be confusing. I was aggravated by the consistent nightly cries of my baby that I lost my temper. I decided to consult my doctor about it, and she recommended a sleep consultation for my baby.

#8 She is Growing!

We all expect our babies to grow and develop. Give it several weeks or months, and you can see a significant difference in your baby from the day she was born. There will be milestones in her development and babies will grow at a rapid rate. These common growth spurts are typical in six weeks, four months, six months or nine months.


As your baby grows, her sleeping pattern also changes and during these times, you will see her waking up crying in the middle of the night more often. The change in her sleep will frustrate her, and she will wake up rolling over her crib and cry.

During growth spurts, her sleeping pattern will be disrupted for several days. Don’t worry since most growth spurts will last about four days. After four days, she will go back to her regular sleeping schedule.

Disrupted sleep during development is typical for children. Though they will wake up more often at night, their bodies will adjust and soon create a new sleeping routine for better nights.

What you can do: Just do your best to soothe your baby to sleep. You can allow feeding time, but make sure not to create a habit of sucking and feeding to soothe. Change your ways of comforting your baby such as rocking her to sleep or allowing your partner to take over for you.

#9 She Wants You!

Sometimes, your baby crying at night can soften your heart especially if you know that what she wants is you, or your partner. Babies also go through a separation anxiety. At the age of 6 months, they will start to yearn for you when you are not by their side. It can be you, your partner or both of you.


Once your baby goes through separation anxiety, she will cry after waking up once or twice every night. She may even scream uncontrollably and throw tantrums. While it may sound sweet to know that your baby wants you, there are times when it is not easy to soothe them after they cried.

Studies are indicating the critical role of parents in changing an infant’s sleep. Sleeping disorders in an infant can be alleviated depending on how many times their parents comfort them during the night. A parent or both parents can stay in the room until the baby is asleep. He or she can rock the baby to sleep and only transfer to the crib after asleep.

These small actions are said to reduce waking moments of babies at night. Studies also show that both parents involved in the day and night care also contributes to their better sleep.

What you can do: Be more intentional when putting your baby to sleep. Spend more time with her while she is awake until she goes to sleep. A little time sacrifice in spending more time with your baby can reward you with better nights ahead.


Did you like the list above?

Knowing all these reasons had helped me identify what is wrong whenever my baby cries at night. It gives me more options so that I can quickly relieve her of whatever she is going through.

Seeing your baby wake up crying at night is a real heartbreaker. But, going through the process with her can help soothe her struggles. Your baby needs you more than ever whenever she cries at night!

Tell us more in the comments what you think are right solutions for babies crying at night. If you loved the article, help us spread the word by sharing!

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