When a baby groans in a dream, it scares the mother, especially if she is inexperienced. For the vast majority of women, motherhood is the main mission. A mother’s love for her child persists throughout her life. After childbirth, the physical connection between mother and baby is replaced by an emotional one, which is in no way inferior in strength to the first. The connection is especially pronounced in the first three months after the birth of the newborn. Many pediatric doctors call this period even the fourth trimester of pregnancy. A young mother, of course, wants the baby to grow up healthy and cheerful. Therefore, if strange symptoms appear in the child’s behavior, she is alarmed.
Signs of troubled sleep in a newborn
First you need to find out what can be called restless sleep. In most cases, the tense behavior of an infant during sleep is expressed in the fact that he makes various characteristic sounds: moaning, sobbing, puffing, whining, breathing heavily. At the same time, the newborn sleeps restlessly: tossing and turning, grunting, fidgeting, bending, twitching legs or arms, this leads to frequent interruptions in sleep, the child begins to cry.
For inexperienced parents, this nocturnal behavior of young children is frankly frightening. There are disturbing thoughts that, perhaps, groans and fidgeting indicate some kind of illness or disorder. But don’t panic. In the overwhelming majority of cases, such manifestations in infants are not a sign of illness, and they can not bring any harm to health.
The world that a baby came to quite recently is full of colors, sounds, smells, tactile sensations. During the day, young children experience many new situations for them, while receiving vivid emotions. At night, all daytime impressions are scrolled in the child’s brain like a film strip. The result of these repeated experiences is moaning, grunting, fidgeting during sleep. Therefore, if the child is cheerful and behaves normally during the day, then there is no reason for worry. This means that there are no pathological causes of restless night sleep.
Stages and phases of infant sleep
To fully understand the topic of interest to us, you need to know the features of children’s sleep under the age of one year. It makes no sense to refer to your experience of falling asleep – waking up, since the structure of a baby’s sleep is significantly different from ours. Sleep has two main phases – deep and superficial. It is during the deep phase that the human body undergoes a complete reboot, the nervous system gets rid of stress, the muscles of the body rest. This stage in an adult takes about eighty percent of the entire night’s rest, and the surface phase accounts for about twenty percent of the time.
In infants, the situation is diametrically opposite: eighty percent falls on the surface phase of night rest, and only twenty percent – on the deep one. It is with such layouts that the fact that it is not easy to wake up an adult at night is connected, and the baby wakes up several times during the night, informing his parents about this by crying. The baby can sleep up to 18 – 20 hours a day, this is also due to the short duration of the deep stage of sleep.
The results of medical research have confirmed that dreams come to a person during the superficial phase. Based on this fact, it can be assumed with a high degree of probability that babies have a lot of dreams, because their stage of superficial sleep is long. What do newborns dream about?
Most likely, they have no shortage of plots and themes for dreams. They learn a completely unknown and wonderful world, so the brain receives new information and impressions every day in huge quantities. Dreaming helps your baby learn new experiences. At an early age, in children, the main elements of dreams are mother’s voice, touch, smell, taste of breast milk.
Why does the baby groan at night?
There are many reasons for restless sleep in young children. They can be conditionally divided into three components: physiological, pathological, situational.
Let’s start with the situational reasons. Often, a newborn wakes up at night, moans and wriggles because of the banal discomfort that arises from the incompetence or carelessness of the parents. The most common circumstances are:
- The diapers are very tight. Such conditions do not allow the toddler to move, which, of course, makes him dissatisfied. Learning to swaddle correctly is not difficult: you can seek advice from a pediatrician, ask your parents, more experienced acquaintances in this regard, to find information on the Internet.
- An uncomfortable bed. A big mistake is the desire of parents to choose very soft bedding for their children. It is especially unacceptable to put old feather beds or pillows stuffed with a bird’s feather into the bed. They can lead to allergies or overheating of the baby and sweating. In infancy, the formation of the skeleton and the spinal column occurs, and if the bed is too soft, the baby runs the risk of getting a disease of the musculoskeletal system.
- Wet diapers: the baby is uncomfortable, and if he has a rash, then a burning sensation is added. Better to use baby diapers.
- The child is hungry or thirsty. Perhaps the feeding schedule has not been followed, the baby, feeling discomfort, begins to whimper.
- It’s stuffy in the children’s room. It is important to constantly monitor the microclimate of the bedroom: ventilate it, avoid excessive dryness of the air, especially during the heating season. If it is not possible to buy a humidifier, then you can soak a sheet or towel with water and put it on a warm radiator. Water evaporating from the surface of the fabric will saturate the air with moisture.
- Noise. Loud music or conversation, TV, etc. can interfere with restful sleep for children. You should learn to observe the silence mode so that the baby can rest easy.
It is easy to avoid the listed circumstances that interfere with the night’s rest of the baby – you just need to be careful.
After birth, the baby’s lifestyle changes dramatically. In the womb, he fed through the umbilical cord, did not use the lungs, and so on. In the new conditions, everything is different: the baby eats differently, which means that the digestive system works in a new mode. He breathes using the respiratory organs, the ambient temperature is also significantly different from the mother’s body temperature. The child must get used to these and many other changes. The process of adapting to new living conditions is also a cause of concern for young children in their sleep. Let’s list some more physiological reasons:
- Teeth begin to cut. The process of the appearance of milk teeth is always accompanied by painful sensations. To alleviate the discomfort, after consulting a doctor, you can lubricate the baby’s gums with a special gel, there are also other drugs.
- The consequences of the fact that the child was not full-term. Adaptation to new conditions of existence in such children takes longer, more difficult. This is due to the fact that in the womb they have not completely gone through all the preparatory stages for a new phase of life. Premature babies tend to be more restless than normal term babies.
- Sleep phases change. At the same time, the activity of brain activity changes, this can lead to the fact that the baby moans and moves the limbs.
- Excessive physical or emotional stress. The result can be difficulty getting into deep sleep.
- I had a bad dream. A newborn can have not only good dreams, but also bad ones, which may be caused by fear. If the baby woke up as a result, began to cry, then the problem is solved by mother’s hugs and gentle words. Feeling safe, the baby will fall asleep again.
Physiological reasons cannot harm the health of children, so if restless sleep is caused by them, then there is no reason for fear and panic. They are eliminated by your love, attention, patience.
The kid groans and pushes in a dream
The most common factor that causes children under the age of one to experience anxiety during a night’s rest is the developing digestive system. If the child is pushing during sleep, making grunting sounds, then with a high degree of probability the problem is colic. They form if too much air enters the baby’s esophagus during feeding. To relieve the baby of accumulated gas, you need to give him a light massage of the abdomen, gently pat on the back, bend several times – straighten the legs with your knees to the stomach. Excess air will be released, the cause of discomfort will disappear. If the listed manipulations are ineffective, you need to consult a doctor. Usually, doctors recommend drugs that contribute to the complete digestion of food by the baby’s not fully formed digestive system. In some cases, you have to use a tube to remove gases.
In the future, in order to avoid such circumstances, the rules for latching the baby to the breast during feeding should be followed. Most often, the problem of gas accumulation, which interferes with sleep, goes away on its own by the fourth or fifth month of life. Sometimes grunting at night can be due to constipation. In this case, it is necessary to correct the baby’s diet.
Sometimes restless sleep in children under the age of one year is accompanied by additional manifestations that should concern the parents. Such symptoms most likely indicate the presence of some kind of disease. Here is some of them:
- The baby’s body temperature is kept above thirty-seven degrees.
- Constipation and bloating become chronic.
- The kid suddenly began to lose weight or, conversely, get better.
- Breathing problems appeared, the child wheezed.
- Too much sweat comes out, although the bed is correct.
- The newborn coughs violently, while suffocating.
- The occurrence of diarrhea, vomiting, which does not go away for a long time.
- The appearance of a rash or red spots on the skin.
- A significant increase in the tonsils, lymph nodes.
- The child is crying all the time, his appetite has disappeared.
If any of these symptoms occur, the baby feels discomfort, and possibly pain. This affects the quality of his sleep, the baby can moan, sob, whine, dodge, jerk limbs, and so on. These symptoms are probably a manifestation of some pathological processes, parents should promptly contact a doctor. The baby’s immunity is just beginning to form, so the time factor in such circumstances is decisive.
In addition to somatic pathologies, mental abnormalities can also be the cause of restless sleep. Sometimes mental disorders are diagnosed immediately after birth, while some diseases of this type can only be detected after some time.
Methods for the prevention and normalization of infant sleep
If the causes of a child’s restless sleep are physiological, then there are a number of actions that can be taken to help eliminate these causes. The doctor of the highest category, the famous Ukrainian pediatrician Yevgeniy Olegovich Komarovsky recommends the following:
- The child should have a daily routine that must be adhered to. A doctor observing the baby will help to develop it. When feeding and going to bed begin to occur at the same time, the baby will soon get used to it, it will be better able to navigate in time, and it will become less restless.
- You can not feed the baby just before going to bed. Otherwise, the increased activity of his digestive system will interfere with resting peacefully.
- When bathing in the evening, a herbal decoction with soothing properties can be added to the bath. These herbs include: lavender, chamomile, thyme, calendula, plantain.
- It is not advisable to swing his crib every evening before falling asleep. This will be addictive, in the future, problems may arise when refusing motion sickness.
- Even if the child is two or three months old, you should often walk with him in the fresh air. Such walks have a beneficial effect on its development, temper, and contribute to a calm night’s rest.
- The microclimate in the room where the baby sleeps should be monitored and silence should be observed. Airing and normal air humidity will help him to rest calmly.
- You cannot constantly sleep with an infant in the same bed. He should have his own spacious crib to sleep comfortably. Bedding cannot be random, it is better to buy children’s orthopedic ones.
- The child should have comfortable sleepwear made from natural fabrics.
The implementation of these simple activities will help to establish a calm night rest for the little one, gain strength, so that the next day he will continue to explore the new wonderful world. If the child does not show much concern in his sleep, then the listed tips should also not be neglected, they will become a good prevention and a guarantee of healthy children’s sleep.