A newborn child spends most of his life in a dream, resembling a little angel. But sometimes his peace of mind is disturbed, delivering sincere concern to his parents. In a dream, a baby can make a lot of obscure movements and sounds: start, bend, move legs and arms snort, whimper … Each attentive mother will have something to add to this list. Similar to adults, some parents explain this behavior as a natural reaction to dreams, but this is not always true. The neonatal period is a very special time of infant life when body language is especially important for understanding the crumbs. Let’s try to figure out why the child shudders in a dream, and what to do in this case? Let’s start with completely natural causes, which are common to all newborns and should not cause any concern.
The human dream only looks like in action. In fact, incredibly complex processes take place in the sleeping brain. Sleep rhythms are divided into two phases – fast (surface), when we see dreams, and slow (deep).
In the fast phase, the processing and assimilation of knowledge and impressions obtained in the waking state takes place. In the slow phase, consciousness builds up all the systems of the body and lays the information in long-term memory. In adults, the fast sleep phase is much shorter than the slow one: approximately 20 minutes. Against 60 min. When one cycle ends, we wake up briefly, usually without noticing it.
In newborns, the structure of sleep is completely different: the fast phase prevails over the slow because the knowledge and skills it needs to absorb immeasurably more. That is why the baby sleeps more time superficially, often shudders, and makes involuntary movements.
Sometimes he wakes himself up and shouts, unable to fall asleep again. If to calm the child at this vulnerable moment of night wakefulness: stroke the head, rock the crib, sing the lullaby, you will help him to go through the light sleep phase without waking up.
The situation changes after 3-4 months. At this age, the structure of a child’s sleep becomes similar to an adult; it shudders less and acquires the ability to fall asleep between cycles independently. If a baby after 4 months not only shudders in a dream but often wakes up at night and looks frightened at the same time, it is worth contacting a pediatric neurologist.
Babies are born with a set of built-in mechanisms for survival. The reflex of Morovoznikaet when the baby seems that he falls. At the same time, he abruptly throws his hands forward, trying to restore balance and, sometimes, shudders and cries. The reflex may occur from loud sounds or when changing the position of the body, for example, when you put the sleeping child in bed. This is an absolutely natural reaction that disappears by 4-5 months of the baby’s life. If the Moro reflex persists in a child older than 5 months, this is a reason to consult a doctor.
Flinching can cause painful sensations that the newborn experiences during intestinal colic due to increased gas formation. In this case, the baby can jerk legs and cry. Urination and bowel movements may also disturb the sleep of a newborn. Especially emotional kids get scared of uncontrolled movements of their own pens. Older kids may shudder in their sleep due to teething pain.
From a sharp sound, not only children but also adults, tremble in their sleep. This reason usually does not cause parental anxiety, as it is easy to recognize and, therefore, eliminate. Do not tiptoe around the bed toddler. Habitual sounds, such as low voices, washing machine noise, should not disturb the newborn.
However, if your neighbor started repairs outside the wall of the room where the child sleeps, try to move him to a quieter place. It happens that for some time after removing the source of noise, the baby continues to shudder due to irritation of the nervous system.
The sleep of a newborn can become restless if, on the eve, he experienced strong emotions, both negative and positive. A baby may become overwhelmed by the presence of unfamiliar guests, changes in daytime mode, and even by being in the bright sun. From such stressful factors, the baby should be protected.
A team of scientists from the University of Iowa, USA, suggests that a newborn can often wince in a dream when it develops motor skills. The researchers put forward an interesting hypothesis that the child moves in this way because the brain sends information to other parts of the body. This is a kind of learning how to control your body during waking hours.
During the observations, a link was noted between the twitching of the neck during sleep and the ability of the newborn to keep his head awake. Similarly, wincing of the fingers is associated with the awakening ability to pull the handles towards things. This is a hint to parents to start keeping sharp and other dangerous objects away from the child.
Twitching of this kind suggests that the newborn develops coordination for complex movements. So the next time your baby starts to shudder in a dream, do not wake him up. You can interrupt the vital learning process!
It is important for parents to know the symptoms in which constant startles may indicate various diseases. Convulsive movements of the baby, which are repeated every night and are accompanied by crying – a sign of a clear impairment of health. A child can shake violently in a dream against the background of neurological disorders. Newborns with a birth injury, hypoxia during labor and premature babies are at risk. The twitching of the chin and handles (tremor) doctors explain the overall immaturity of the nervous and muscular systems.
Another likely cause of pathological convulsions is a metabolic disorder, which is associated with a shortage or excess of vital elements. The most common disorder of this kind is rickets caused by a lack of calcium and vitamin D. Accompanying signs of rickets: flattening of the head, sour smell of sweat, a curvature of the legs. Convulsive muscle spasms are characteristic of spasmophilia and anemia.
If newborn shudders against the background of high temperature, immediately call an ambulance. Such a tremor can mask subfebrile seizures.
Case of life
The newly minted parents showed their weekly baby to the family doctor after they saw that he starts to shudder uncontrollably in his sleep. The movements of the newborn resembled epileptic seizures, and the doctor sent him for examination to the children’s hospital. But when the pediatrician saw the baby, he gave him an innocent diagnosis of “benign myoclonusna.” It was no more dangerous than another form of myoclonus – hiccup!
Why did the pediatrician decide that the baby is all right? Because his convulsive movements arose only during sleep and ceased instantly when he woke up. Child neurologists explain what happens in this case: “The newborns have an immature nervous system, and their movements during sleep are even more coordinated than when they are awake.”
Doctors do not know why benign myoclonus of sleep occurs, but they noticed that it can be caused by a loud noise or touch. Studies have shown that these movements are completely harmless.
A key indicator of a true epileptic seizure is abnormal eye movements that are inconsistent with body movements. If your child has breathing problems, he turns blue, or the seizure lasts longer than five minutes, immediately call an ambulance.
How to help a newborn who constantly shudders in his sleep?
When the doctor has excluded any diseases, parents do not need to panic because of unusual crumbs of the crumbs. But also to disregard them is also wrong. The best thing is to try to create the most comfortable conditions for a restful baby.
Many baby shaking babies will be helped by swaddling at night, which will create their intrauterine sensations. For anxious and excitable newborns, this is a recognized way to alleviate natural winches caused by a change in sleep phases and the Moro reflex.
It is recommended to swaddle a child from birth to 5 months while observing the safety rules:
- Choose a loose swaddle, in which the baby’s legs are not wrapped in a diaper too much. Otherwise, there is a risk of impaired blood circulation, which can lead to dysplasia.
- Choose a diaper or blanket according to the temperature of the room so that the newborn does not overheat during sleep.
- The swaddled baby must lie on its back. Make sure that he does not turn on his stomach.
- In the crib should not be extra items: pillows, toys, loose ribs, etc.
There are many safe diapering systems: cocoons, envelopes, and covers that gently fix the legs and handles of a newborn. In them they cease to wave their hands, frightened by involuntary movements.
So that the baby does not flinch because of over-excitement, try to ensure that it is as calm and comfortable as possible. Some modern moms can meet with babies in a sling in noisy public places, cafes, shops, etc. Is it any wonder that then they start to shudder?
Pay special attention to preparing for bed. It should be a pleasant ritual for the baby, which is repeated every day at the same time. It is best to take a relaxing bath with a decoction of herbs, make a soft massage, not forgetting about the tummy, then carry out hygienic procedures, feed and lull the baby. While falling asleep, muffle the volume of home appliances, ask the household to be quiet.
If you notice that the baby shudders in a dream, do not rush to take him in your arms, this can only aggravate the situation. At this moment, he is in a half-dream and may be afraid. It is better to say “Shhhhh”, gently stroke the crumbs on the handle or back and sit with him. So he will feel safe and fall asleep again quickly.