Trying to figure out why your baby is crying can often seem like a fruitless exercise. Since cries are essentially the only way babies can communicate, it always feels like you're missing a piece of the conversation when you can't decipher it. Some baby cries are clear — dirty diapers, hunger, illness, pain — but what about when it's less clear? Why does your baby wake up crying, for instance? Can babies just cry for no reason?
If your baby is waking up crying in the middle of the night, there could be a few explicable reasons, according to Children's Hospital Colorado. All people, including babies, wake up four to five times a night, but if your baby is used to being rocked or cuddled to sleep, they may cry from not being able to put themselves back down. As Kids Health noted, allowing your baby a few minutes to learn to get back to sleep can help ease this sort of middle-of-the-night crying.
If your baby is waking up screaming, night terrors might be the root. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, night terrors can affect one to six percent of children, and though they are less common in infants, they are possible. Night terrors can be aggravated by unpredictable night routines and being overtired.
More than likely, if your baby is waking crying from a nap or in the morning, it could be that they are arousing in the middle of a sleep cycle, according to The Baby Sleep Site. That might mean that your baby isn't done sleeping and could need more rest.
But, as The Baby Sleep Site mentioned, if your baby is waking up crying from a long nap or restful overnight sleep, it could just be their temperament. Some babies are perpetually cranky upon waking (adults, too, for that matter), and need some time to wake up slowly. If this sounds like your baby, allowing them some time for a cuddle or a drink can help them ease into their awake time. After all, I know I don't wake up bright-eyed and content all the time, why should anyone expect the same of little babes?