I often hear from parents saying that their baby hates bedtime. Or hates their cot. Or hates their sleeping bag. Or hates sleep! I’m here to tell you…none of these are true. If a baby cries at bedtime this does not mean that they hate bedtime. In fact, they are almost certainly not capable of hate at this point in their existence! So, why are they crying? One of the following is usually the cause:
They are tired - Babies cry when they are tired, they might be cranky too and these are both signs that they are ready for sleep
They are overtired – If there is excessive crying and even screaming at bedtime then they could well be overtired. Being aware of how much daytime sleep they need for their age and working to a 12 hour day can both be helpful for avoiding overtiredness
They are undertired– If it has not been long enough since their last nap then they will cry out of frustration: “Mum, I’m not ready yet!”
This is new & different – if they are used to something different at bedtime, your little one’s crying can also be reacting to change. If something is different to usual, i.e. falling asleep in the cot instead of in your arms then they will be signalling to you to find out if this is ok. And it is your job at that point to reassure and comfort them through this change. They adjust quickly to change which is the amazing thing about babies!
Wind – If they have fed too close to bedtime than a bit of pesky wind can cause crying. Making sure their bedtime feed (or pre-nap feed) is not happening so close to sleep that there isn’t sufficient time for burping is a good suggestion for avoiding this.