Why does my newborn cry/frown in his sleep? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 05-22-2008, 05:38 PM - Thread Starter
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It breaks my heart to see this. My little boy has been frowning and crying out occasionally in his sleep from day one (he is now 4 weeks old). Why does he do this? Are these signs that he is having bad dreams? What negative things could he be dreaming about with so few life experiences? We are very attached in our method of parenting. He is almost always asleep in our arms or close to us in our bed or his co-sleeper. He is breastfed on cue and gets lots of love and affection. He rarely cries and has a fairly short fussy time in the evenings, and he has just recently started smiling interactively with us.

Is there something wrong here? I am a bit worried because my dad died of brain cancer early in my second-tri, and it was a really hard time for me personally. I'm wondering if my baby experienced some sort of emotional trauma due to my grief and it is playing out in his dreams. Or are these reactions during sleep normal?
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#2 of 8 Old 05-22-2008, 06:52 PM
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At around 4 weeks, my daughter started getting fussy, grunting and crying in her sleep. Her PED says she has reflux and prescribed Zantac. I stopped giving to her after a month. She's great now, an easy baby.

Mother to DD (9) DS (6) DD (3)
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#3 of 8 Old 05-22-2008, 08:30 PM
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This probably isn't the answer that you are looking for, but my dad use to tell me that babies cry in their sleep because angels are taunting them making motions to take them away from their mommies. When they laugh in their sleep, their guardian angels are playing with them. My children did both when they were newborns. It use to freak me out, but it was cute too.
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#4 of 8 Old 05-22-2008, 08:39 PM
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I think that's normal. If I remember, my dd did that a lot the first month or two. Now when she naps she'll sometimes frown or silent cry for a second. I've seen other babies do it too, so I'm not worried.
I do wonder what they think though.

Trying to balance a preschooler and peace....
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#5 of 8 Old 05-22-2008, 08:42 PM
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I believe that crying out can signal a change to a different cycle of sleep in the normal sleep cycles that occur. We all have them but while you or I would sigh or roll over, babies will laugh, cry out, whimper, or frown. I don't think you need to worry.

I have heard that babies whose mothers were very anxious or depressed during pregnancy (especially untreated) tend to be more fussy, but it sounds like your little one is doing just fine!
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#6 of 8 Old 05-22-2008, 08:54 PM
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Most of the facial expression that newborns make are reflexes. In my infant development class we learned that the expressions made during sleep in the newborn stage are the same they will make as older children and adults when expressing an emotion, it is like muscle practice!

My DS will also cry out in his sleep but as soon as I touch him he relaxes. It makes sense that it would be when changing sleep cycles. He used to do it more often when a newborn but even now he will occasionally go from sleeping and looking peaceful to a cry, I touch him and tell him momma is here and he seems to go into a deeper sleep.

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#7 of 8 Old 05-23-2008, 12:44 AM
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my little one (1 wk old) is doing that too, and I think a lot of it is just poopies passing through the chutes, and like the pp's said, changing sleep cycles. The expressions seem to go as fast as they come, and she has some of that when she's in her half-awake times, too. I've wondered if she were dreaming, (I mean, she probably does dream, but what would she dream about this early on???), but I don't think she's having bad / scary / negative dreams - the expressions would last longer probably and be more consistently *bad* rather than randomly intermixed with smiles and grunts, etc. I think it's normal and no big deal. And, my LO also relaxes when I touch her and talk to her when it happens, at least usually she does.

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Tracey R. Happy Helpmeet to Jeff, and Mama to Corey (ds, 22yo), Justin (ds, 20yo), Bekah (dd, 3yo), and Miah (Jeremiah, ds, 17mo), and baby Rachel, vasa previa survivor, 4 wks old.

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#8 of 8 Old 05-23-2008, 03:10 AM
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I always check the diaper after that little cry... usually, he's peed. They have to wake up a tiny bit to pee.
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