It’s time to put your little one in bed. She already falls asleep in your arms and you’re ready to get some sleep too. But only minutes after that, she wakes up and starts to cry. Is she hungry? Is she hurt? Is she sick? You really have no idea. If you’re new to this, you may be wondering what exactly happens to her.
Babies sleep cycle
The first reason why your baby cries when put down one is the sleep cycle. The baby sleep cycle is different than yours. She needs more sleep than you do. Newborns need to sleep around 16 hours a day. When they’re entering the third month, the needs decrease to 15 hours, and from three months onwards, babies only need to sleep for 12 hours.
However, babies don’t take those hours in one deep sleep. They do it in a sleep-wake cycle throughout the day. That’s why sometimes in the middle of the night, you hear her voices calling out for your presence. Moreover, a baby needs at least 20 minutes to reach the stage where they’re comfortable sleeping. And when you put her in a crib before that time, it’s likely that your baby is going to wake up again because she’s in an active sleep state and easily disturbed.
You can solve the problem by putting your baby in a crib after 20 minutes. But if that still doesn’t work, let’s talk about the second reason.
Besides the sleep cycle, the most common problem is due to the sense of separation. Your baby spends nine months inside your belly. Inside, she doesn’t have to worry about anything. She gets everything she wants from food to love. That routine forms a strong bond between the baby and the mother.
After she’s delivered to this world, that sensation cannot be achieved on a daily basis, especially during bedtime. When you put your baby to sleep separated from you, she starts feeling anxious and wanting that safe and calming sensation again.
That separation from the caregiver is sensed as a danger. Your baby senses through their skin that something is not the way it is supposed to. She may be missing the tenderness of your touch or the heat of your body, which gives her a feeling of being protected. When you held your baby in your arms, she feels more protected and less likely to wake up. Holding her also prevents her from startling. It’s a reflex found in newborns that cause her arms and legs to flail.
A baby’ brain has not developed the ability to understand the concept that she’s apart from her mother. What she understands is that she’s one with her mother, just what she experiences before she comes to the world.
What can you do?
Fortunately, this is not a permanent condition as you can tell as she grows older. Usually, this separation anxiety only lasts for six to nine months after your baby is born. However, there’s not much you can do about it.
There are no ways to make her understand the condition that she’s in. It’s your baby biological process, her way to survive in the world that she never saw before. It’s you, parents, who have to adapt and understand the situation.
When you’re in this situation again, try to be patient and keep in mind that she’s still a baby. She understands nothing. Calm her down until she stops crying and put her back to sleep again. If you decide to ignore her crying, you can make her even more anxious. She may think that she’s abandoned and lost the love that she has all this time.