New parents have surely gone through the stage: the babies seem to cry a lot when they wake up from nap. Some babies even carry this behavior in their toddler years. The crying might alarm you and tear your heart. Why does your baby cry for seemingly no reason at all? Should it be worried? Actually, this problem is quite common; it is most likely nothing to be concerned about, especially if it doesn’t happen in every nap. But always consult your pediatrician if you are concerned.
Why Does Your Baby Wake Up Crying from Nap?
There could be many good reasons why your baby wakes up crying from nap. Here are some of the most common.
1. Basic Needs
Babies who wake up crying might do so because they are hungry, they have a wet or dirty diaper, or they are simply too hot or too cold. When your baby wakes up crying, always go through these things first.
2. Sleep Inertia
Sleep inertia happens to babies who are disturbed during their deep sleep, which makes them feel disoriented and strange. Babies may cry due to lack of too much sleep.
Even small babies might suffer some form of anxiety, especially if they are away from their parents. If a baby wakes up alone, he/she might suddenly become worried and scared, which leads to crying. But this tends to go away as they get older and start to become more independent.
Babies who are dealing with colds, acid reflux, ear infections, and any other sort of aches and pains can wake up crying from a nap. They do this because they wake up into a world where something immediately hurts or bothers them. Anything like this is a very good reason to take your child to the doctor as soon as possible.
Any noise might disturb a sleeping baby. If your baby wakes up crying from nap, look at the room around them. Is there a television or radio they can hear? How about sounds from outside? It is important to keep the room quiet, so use a white noise machine if necessary.
6. Sleep Associations
Unfortunately, many parents wind up making the problem worse by trying to do the best things for their child. For instance, a baby who always falls asleep in his parents’ arms might not be able to fall asleep in a crib. A baby who needs a pacifier might immediately wake up crying if the pacifier falls out. All of this translates into a baby who will wake up crying until you replace the association he/she needs to get back to sleep.
What to Do When Your Baby Wakes Up Crying
If your baby wakes up crying from nap, there are a few things you can do that might help.
- Have milks and snacks ready. Some babies really want to eat or drink something the moment they wake up. Have their snacks ready so as to soothe them as soon as possible.
- Offer a lovey. A child might like to sleep with one particular toy, known as a ‘lovey.’ When he/she wakes up, the offer of the lovey will help comfort them.
- Give your baby a few minutes. Some babies just need time to get accustomed to being awake. Don’t rush straight to your child. Wait to see if he can calm down on his own.
- Soothe your baby. Sometimes a baby just needs to know you are there in order to go back to sleep. Simply rub the back or give a quick cuddle and then put him/her back to bed.
- Read books. Keep things quiet when your baby wakes up by pulling him into your lap and reading a book. This quiet time can calm the baby down and help him pay attention.
- Keep calm. Your child is likely to respond to how you are acting or feeling. If your baby wakes up crying, stay perfectly calm and keep your voice level. Don’t let your baby sense your frustration which will only make the condition worse.
- This shall pass. Almost everyone wakes up a bit groggy and tired after a nap. Remember that your child is just like anyone else in that regard. Babies will learn to deal with it better when they are older.
When to See a Doctor
When your baby wakes up crying from nap and nothing seems to soothe him/her, it’s time to talk to the doctor about what is going on. At the very least, a thorough medical checkup can ease your worries.
Other Mothers' Experience
"My little one is usually a good sleeper, but a few times a week he will wake up from a nap screaming at the top of his little lungs. I worried that he might be having bad dreams, or a tummy ache from eating too much. The only thing that helps is nursing, but even then it takes him a while to calm down."
"My little girl is six months old, and she wakes up crying from her nap every single time. It’s usually just a few whimpers, but sometimes she cries as though she is terrified! I wish I knew what was going on. Even our pediatrician seems to be confused, but insists that she will grow out of it when she gets a little older. I certainly hope so!"