Baby Squeals During Naps

Julie Kirk
Contributor: Ann Roberts
A baby napping

If your baby squeals during naps, you likely have a healthy rambunctious infant on your hands. There are a few tips circulating the parenting world regarding how to achieve a more tranquil naptime experience for your baby, but on the whole, squealing is considered normal.

When Your Baby Squeals During Naps

There are various reasons why your baby squeals during naps. Placing an active infant in his crib or cradle and anticipating an instant REM cycle is more than idealistic: it's a downright unrealistic expectation.

A large contributing factor in baby's naptime behavior will be his age. Newborns often require supplementary sleep measures such as external stimulation in order to fall asleep. Many nursing infants will fall asleep while breastfeeding. Formula-fed babies may tire while taking a bottle. Occasionally, just a pacifier will do the trick as the very act of sucking can exhaust a newborn. As your baby grows older, he can stimulate himself more easily. He will take an interest in his surroundings. If his crib supplies ample toys and activity centers, he may exhaust himself during playtime.

Should I Worry if My Baby Squeals During a Nap?

Everyone's heard of or referred to the saying 'slept like a baby'. You may (or may not) be surprised to learn that many babies are actually not sound sleepers. They can be incredibly noisy sleepers. If you hear your baby squeal, squeak, grunt or groan while sleeping, it is completely normal. As your baby moves through their sleep cycles, there will be episodes of peaceful, sound sleep in tandem with their noisy, 'squealy, groany' sleep. This is all considered normal sleep behavior.

What Do the Different Types of Squeals Mean?

In general, a squealing baby usually means your little one is quite happy and excited. On the other end of the spectrum, a squeal can be one of fear or discomfort depending on the situation. At times babies may even go through a phase where they feel they need to excessively and loudly squeal or screech. This typically indicates that your baby has found his voice. Be reassured that it's a normal phase and he will eventually outgrow it.

If you notice a high-pitched squeak or noise when you baby inhales while sleeping, it could be a sign of stridor or laryngomalacia. It will sound worse when the baby is sleeping, eating or agitated. This is caused by excess tissue around the larynx and is not serious. This condition will usually resolve by the time your baby is two-years-old.

Naptime Challenges

Your baby's naptime routine can change or be disrupted by various circumstances which include:

Baby sleeping in crib

Maybe He's Just Not That Tired

The simplest explanation for baby's naptime distress is that he's genuinely not tired. An infant's nap schedule will change as he develops. Many parents find themselves happily adjusting to a routine that their baby soon outgrows. Suddenly junior doesn't want to go down at 11 AM anymore. Moreover, around 10 months, your infant may no longer desire two naps a day, which can drastically throw off the scheduled hour of his first nap.

Parents can often be too liberal with naps, believing that their baby requires more rest than is actually needed. The nuances of an infant's behavior can be difficult to interpret because sometimes a baby will fight naps because he's too tired as well.

Maybe He's Just Too Tired

Infants that are exhausted will often fight their naptime with even more vociferation than if they are not tired at all. A baby who is not tired may attempt to entertain himself for a few brief minutes before determining that a nap is unacceptable. In contrast, an exhausted infant may do more than squeal. He may outright rage against the idea. You'll know clearly that this is the case when baby yawns in the middle of his furious screams.

An exhausted baby can pose a real challenge for parents. Some mothers ignore this situation by opting for the cry-out method. Others adopt a series of simple lulling techniques that may be helpful.

Tips to Lull Your Baby to Sleep

There is something to be said for lulling a child to sleep. Although this is not the preferred method for busy parents, everything from a rocking chair and a song to walking your baby around the house in a sling can be considered a lulling technique. Such methods distract a child from the focus point: his nap. While your infant remains distracted by a rocking or walking motion, he will often doze off.

An infant swing can be an extremely handy appliance for lulling your child to sleep. The rhythmic rocking motion of the swing is usually accompanied by a sound and song machine. The repetition of certain songs or noises combined with the rocking is a perfect routine for coaxing baby into a slumber. Swings are also an excellent choice for mothers of multiple children. In such cases, a mother may not have time to always rock her infant to sleep, so a swing acts as a "naptime nanny."

Meeting Baby's Needs

If your child is hungry, wet, or soiled, you may experience some agitated, sleepy-time squeals. It's important to ensure that all your baby's needs have been met before he goes down for a nap. Wet diapers are uncomfortable, as is an empty stomach, so it's hard to expect your child to nap congenially when his environment and personal needs are lacking.

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Baby Squeals During Naps