At 3 o’clock in the morning I was awoken by the crying of the baby. I had to pick her up and give her to her mom.

Um 3 Uhr morgens wurde ich vom Schreien des Babys geweckt. Ich musste sie vom Bett aufheben und sie ihrer Mutter geben.

I am not sure if I can also say “ich wurde beim Schreien des Babys geweckt” in this context.

  • 2
    I'd prefer "3 Uhr früh" or "in der Früh" over "morgens". And "Ich musste es vom Bett aufheben und seiner Mutter geben".
    – Twinkles
    Commented Apr 22, 2014 at 10:10
  • pick up translates to aus dem Bett nehmen in that sentence. German focuses on the action of taking the baby out of the bed rather than lifting it.
    – Janka
    Commented Oct 10, 2016 at 14:48

5 Answers 5


No, “Ich wurde beim Schreien des Babys geweckt” would deny that the crying baby is the cause of being woken up (like “I woke up during the time the baby was crying”).

Also remember that Germans prefer compound words:

Um drei Uhr früh wurde ich von Babygeschrei geweckt.


I am surprised to see so many posts confirming the expression vom Bett aufheben. To me it sounds rather un-idiomatic, and I'd prefer aus dem Bett nehmen or simply hochnehmen. (Note that the English sentence doesn't mention a bed at all.)

Additionally, in German you could also say um 3 Uhr in der Nacht or um 3 Uhr nachts. I am not sure whether at 3 o'clock at night would be possible (and idiomatic) in English.

And last but not least: IMHO we do not use das Baby very frequently to speak of our own children. (I might be biased in this point, but at least I want to mention it). It is more kind of a neutral term, a word that can be used to speak about very young children in general.

To sum it up, and to make a point for not always sticking too close to the original, I would propose

Um 3 Uhr in der Nacht bin ich aufgewacht, weil die Kleine schrie. Ich musste sie aus dem Bett nehmen und ihrer Mutter geben.

  • Both drei Uhr morgens and drei Uhr in der Früh as proposed by OP and other answers are fine according to my understanding. However, your version (in der Nacht) works just as well, too.
    – Jan
    Commented Sep 28, 2015 at 23:11
  • 1
    @Jan Of course, I do not want to doubt this. I just wanted to point out that we don't neccesarily need to translate "in the morning" with "morgens" or "in der Früh".
    – Matthias
    Commented Sep 29, 2015 at 9:09

Passive by translates as von or durch. Beim would translate as while.

Also, Baby is neutrum, so the second sentence should contain es rather than sie:

Ich musste es vom Bett aufheben und es seiner Mutter geben.

  • 7
    Außerdem würde man ein Kind vor allem dann aufheben, wenn man es vorher hat fallen lassen. (Das mögen nicht alle Sprecher so empfinden.)
    – Carsten S
    Commented Apr 22, 2014 at 7:17
  • It should be: "... und es seiner Mutter geben" since it is indeed a neuter. Also, "beim" is "during" or better yet "to". It's a preposition while "while" is a conjunction
    – Emanuel
    Commented Apr 22, 2014 at 10:23
  • It is perfectly fine to refer to a baby with sie and ihrer if it’s a girl.
    – Jan
    Commented Sep 28, 2015 at 23:10

You would rather say “Ich wurde vom Schreien des Babys geweckt” instead of beim.

What you want to express with this sentence is, that you was awoken by the crying of the baby. Therefore you use the word vom/von dem, which is the correct translation of by.

Um 3 Uhr morgens wurde ich vom Schreien des Babys geweckt. Ich musste sie vom Bett aufheben und sie ihrer Mutter geben.

This is the way you say it in German.


Your suggestion is wrong. Beim schreien does not translate to by (the crying of) the baby but rather to by crying. So your suggestion would mean:

I was awoken at 3 a.m. by crying of the baby

That is just a great mess of weirdness. Immediately, the suggestion to correct it pops to my mind:

Ich wurde um 3 (Uhr) in der Früh beim Schreien nach dem Baby geweckt …

This ‘correction’ sounds closest to what I would expect with beim schreien; however, it means by crying at the baby. So we have the paradox that it was you crying at the baby that woke you up … you see how this is just getting more terrible by the minute?

I assume that your inital assumption was something along the lines of ‘bei is a preposition, too, isn’t it? Can’t I add it to that noun there?’ Yes, we can possible think of grammatical ways to use bei with a noun in the context of waking up, but in that case it would be the place where you woke up.

Ich wurde um 3 in der Früh beim Brunnen (vom Nachtwächter) geweckt …

Note that the original construction is passive voice using a by-agent in English to denote the active agent. In German, the active agent is denoted by von in the passive voice.

Furthermore, I wish to restate, that picking up a baby would be much better translated as hochheben or hochnehmen rather than aufheben. Aufheben is something you do to things that fell, usually on the ground. We don’t want our baby falling, do we?

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