If Your Baby Cries at Night, Here Are Some Possible Reasons


Consultant Paediatrician with the Federal Medical Centre, Jabi, Abuja, Dr. Eziechila Ressie, says newborn babies often cry at night because of the air they swallow alongside their feeding.

She said that such crying usually happens when the baby is between one and three months old.

Ressie spoke in response to mothers whose babies sleep during the day but cry at night.

The mothers said they were concerned that their infants might be ‘terrorised’ by invisible beings, noting that they were mostly confused because they did not have the experience to deal with the situation.

They said they thought of different possible causes, such as ‘stomach ache due to issues relating to their babies’ umbilical cord.’

Speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria, one of such mothers, Fatima Umar, a businesswoman and mother of two living in Abuja, said whenever she was due for delivery, her major worry was the sleepless nights she would have to contend with afterwards, as each of her two children cried nonstop every night from birth up until they were three months old.

“Sometimes, I used to wonder if each of my babies was seeing something that I wasn’t seeing that made them cry so much.

“When I had my second baby, I even took him to our chief imam to pray for him because I didn’t understand why he would start to cry once it was 2AM till around 4.30AM. or 5AM.

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“My neighbour kept assuring me that he would stop and I just endured and got used to it and as soon as he was three months, the crying stopped and we could sleep throughout the night,” Fatima narrated.

Another mother, Amaka Njoku, a civil servant and mother of five who also lives in Abuja, said all her children cried at night and that she got used to it.

Amaka said that when she had her first daughter, there was a day she took her to the clinic near her house twice at night when she couldn’t endure the baby’s cry, but the nurses examined her and said nothing was wrong with her.

She added that when she told her female colleagues, many of them said that they also experienced the same thing and advised her to learn to make the baby comfortable while the cry lasted.

In response, Consultant Paediatrician with the Federal Medical Centre, Jabi, Abuja, Dr. Eziechila Ressie, says newborn babies often cry at night because of the air they swallow alongside breast milk.

She told NAN in Abuja on Sunday that night cries by babies of between one month and three months old had been the commonest complaints by mothers, adding that “it is common, especially among new or first time mothers.”

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According to her, one of the reasons babies cry at night is because they are able to take in a lot of milk and they are aggressive in their feeding.

“And they are not able to coordinate the swallowing of breast milk and swallowing of air; they breath in and swallow at the same time and have the problem of swallowing a whole lot of food alongside air,” she said

She explained that the air that babies swallow along with feeding usually does not get absorbed into their system.

“Because the baby’s intestine is narrow, as the air passes, it dilates and causes pain because of the volume of milk and air they consume and they experience a lot of colic,” she said.

She also noted that some babies experience more pain than others.

She also explained that babies cry more at night because during the day when mothers feed them, they carry them until they belch.

“They put them on the shoulder and make them belch; but at night, the mothers are tired, and she may not be able to hold the baby for that long.

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“Infact, some mothers feed their babies while lying down and dozing and nobody has time to keep the baby up for long time to belch.

“So, all the gas that the baby swallowed while feeding must go down the intestine, causing dilation.”

She added that the pain subsides very significantly when the child is about three months old, and that this happens because babies are able to manage the pain, and also because they are able to coordinate swallowing milk and air.

“So, they suck in less air, compared to the initial stage. Again, we teach mothers breastfeeding technique by ensuring that a large portion of the areola is into the baby’s mouth,” she said.

Meanwhile, a Senior Nursing Officer at FMC Jabi, Abuja, Mrs. Akueshi Uchechi, said that  when babies cry, parents should check the diapers.

“It is important to change baby’s diaper often and when the baby continues to cry, then feed him,” she counselled.

She also advised nursing mothers to learn to observe their rest when their babies are sleeping, adding that a new mother would usually need help so as not to enter into postpartum depression.




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