By Tracy G. Cassels
With all the press scrambling to tell parents just to leave their kids to cry-it-out at night (see my response to the latest here), I thought I’d just present a few of the many reasons a baby or toddler may be waking and/or crying in the night. And why you should respond.
許多媒體隨便建議父母應該讓孩子在晚上接受cry it out哭泣式睡眠訓練 (對此請看我的回應)，我要提出一些寶寶晚上會醒來哭的原因，以及為何你應該要回應哭泣。
1. They are hungry. Especially younger babies need to nurse frequently and expecting them to sleep long stretches without food is actually starving them and messing with their ability to regulate how much they eat at a given time.
2. They are scared. Night is freaking scary. It’s dark and quiet and eerie. I’ve been scared as an adult when left alone to sleep, is it any wonder our babies and toddlers get scared? Especially if they’ve had a bad dream?
3. They need you. Especially around the time of separation anxiety, babies will fear that you aren’t coming back and need to see you and be reassured by your presence. This is one of the hypotheses around why so many families see a “sleep regression” between six months and over a year. But regardless, they are experiencing rather severe anxiety and need to be reassured by your presence.
寶寶需要你。特別是在分離焦慮期。寶寶會怕你走掉不見，他需要看到你確認你還在。這是造成很多6個月至一歲多寶寶會出現 “睡眠退化” 的假設原因之一。無論如何他感受到了嚴重焦慮並需要確定你在身邊。
4. They are in pain. For some it’s reflux, for some it’s food intolerance, for some it’s gas, for some it’s teething, for some it’s a growth spurt. And there are probably other reasons I’m not thinking of now too. But our babies are growing at an astronomical rate with so much happening to their bodies and it HURTS. And they need comfort.
寶寶不舒服。有時候是胃食道逆流，有時是食物耐受性不佳（food intolerance），有時是有gas (脹氣)，有時是長牙，有時是生長陡增 (growh spurt)。有很多其他可能原因我沒想到的。但我們的寶寶是用很快的速率成長的，他們的身體會發生很多事造成不舒服，而他們需要安撫。
5. They are learning to move in new ways. One that won’t surprise many parents, but researchers are just figuring out that babies who are learning to crawl tend to wake more at night. Reason is currently unknown but it wouldn’t surprise me to know that some of it comes from muscle pain. Have you ever started using muscles you weren’t using before? Yeah, it hurts. Most parents I know report a similar rise in wakings when babe starts walking and I imagine it would be for the same or similar reasons as with crawling.
6. They are, quite simply, awake. As frustrating as it can be, many children go through a period of waking for an extended period at night and want to play (quite like we used to sleep as adults – 2 periods of shorter sleep with an extended waking in between in the middle of the night). These often don’t last too long (a few months perhaps), and no one quite knows why, but they are very normal and your child simply won’t go back to sleep, just as you probably wouldn’t at 4pm.
寶寶就只是醒來了。令人無力地，很多小孩都會經過一段在晚上會想玩的期間 (就像我們大人有時候的睡眠一樣－晚上兩段較短的睡眠中有一段時間不想睡)。這通常不會維持很久的時間 (可能幾個月)，而且沒有明確的理由，但這很普通就只是小朋友不想睡覺，就像你有時可能晚上4點不想睡。
7. They peed or pooed. While younger babies may sleep through this (though often not at the start as they are attuned to this), toddlers who are toilet learned or learning will regularly wake for this reason and sometimes the realization they wet themselves can be traumatic and upsetting. They need to be changed and comforted before being able to return to sleep.
8. They are too cold. If they are too hot, it’s a danger, but we often forget that babies can be too cold as well. When a child is cold, they will often search for breastmilk (or formula if that’s what they have) to help warm them. But especially nursing babies will seek out the boob as a source of human contact for warmth and food to warm their bellies. Just please, please be careful to not make them too hot. It’s a huge risk factor for SIDS.
寶寶太冷了。如果寶寶太熱了，是危險的。但我們常忘了寶寶也會太冷。當小孩太冷時，他常常會找奶喝 (或配方奶，如果這是他喝的。) 來讓自己溫暖。特別是喝母奶的寶寶會找nene來尋求媽媽的體溫接觸及nene，來暖和他的肚子。請千萬小心不要讓寶寶太熱，這是造成SIDS (嬰兒猝死症)的高風險因素。
At any point do you look at these reasons and think they are cause to leave a child to scream by themselves? Would you like it if you were ignored during any of these times or forced to lie in bed not moving without comfort? I hope that if you’re able to put yourself in the place of your child and imagine what it’s like feeling any of these things and then imagine how your response must seem, you will see there are a lot of things going on that don’t include a child manipulating you or needing to be taught to sleep. What they need is love and responsiveness so please, give them that instead.
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