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How To Know if Baby is Overtired?
When babies are getting tired or are overtired, they give us a variety of cues. Seek out these baby sleep cues to determine if your child has reached his limit and needs to be put down for a nap right away.
1. They are past their optimal wake time. Depending on their age, babies can only remain alert and content for a short time before attempting to fight off sleep. For instance, if your infant has been awake for 2.5 hours and her wake window is 1 hour 45 minutes, then the answer is probably yes.
The best way to avoid becoming overtired in the first place is to pay attention to your baby’s awake times and put her to bed at the appropriate time.
2. Zoning out. Your infant may begin to avoid eye contact or fixate off in the distance. They are indicating that they want to sleep rather than play by doing this.
3. Baby will start to rub her eyes or face. Babies who are tired sometimes pull on their ears.
4. Fussy. The baby is fussier than usual. Perhaps your tired baby won’t stop crying or is crying loudly.
5. Short Naps. If the infant wakes up too soon from a nap or right after being put to sleep, she may be overtired. Although it may seem counterproductive, overtired babies frequently take short naps and wake up wailing after 20 to 30 minutes. Babies who are too tired to fall asleep or move on to the next sleep cycle may find it difficult to do so.
6. Clenched fists. Some newborns keep their hands closed or clench them.
7. Clingy. It will be difficult to put the baby down because they will be so attached to their parents or another caregiver.
8. Baby waking up early. Your baby may need more sleep if they consistently wake up early. Make sure she gets the appropriate amount of sleep for her age.
How To Tell If Your Baby Is Sleeping Enough
You can get back on track by being aware of your baby’s developmentally appropriate sleep needs. You can use the following general guidelines to determine whether your baby is getting enough sleep:
- Birth-3 months: Your baby won’t sleep in a consistent pattern during this time. Newborns require 16 to 20 hours of sleep every 24 hours, but they wake up every two to four hours to be fed. Your baby will have 45 to 60-minute wake periods from birth to 6 weeks. By two months, this will have grown to about an hour, and by three months, it will have grown to about an hour and a half.
- 3 to 6 months: During this time, a baby’s sleep pattern starts to become more predictable, but a baby still requires 10 to 18 hours of sleep every 24 hours. There won’t be a set schedule for naps, but on average, there will be three per day. The duration of these months will see an increase in wake times, from 1.5 to 3 hours.
- 6 months to 1 year: In a 24-hour period, babies sleep for about 14 hours. A gradual increase in wake times from two to four hours will occur.
How To Break The Cycle Of An Overtired Baby
You might be able to relate to these erratic sleep cycles very well if you’re here. It’s possible that your baby cries for 20 to 30 minutes before finally dozing off, only to wake up miserable and crying once more. She is irritable all day long, wakes up in the middle of a nap, and doesn’t actually go back to sleep.
Some evenings, she’s up four to five hours before the bedtime routine. Never mind that you still frequently wake up during the night. Unless it seems to be getting worse every day, you wouldn’t be as concerned about this.
How can you help a baby who is too tired to sleep when getting less sleep only makes them feel worse? Thankfully, babies can catch up on missed sleep, breaking the vicious cycle of overtiredness once and for all.
1. Have A Really Early Bedtime
Early bedtime is something that many parents would object to. “We can’t call it a day that early!” you might say. Or, “By the time that time comes around, my spouse has just gotten home from work.”
No need to worry, friend; an early bedtime only needs to be a temporary “reset” to help your baby catch up on sleep and end the cycle of being overtired. You can later adjust to a more reasonable bedtime once he gets back on track.
So, how early is “early”? We’re talking as early as 5 o’clock.
Once more, the goal here is to assist him in overcoming his persistent fatigue rather than establishing a new pattern. He can use that night’s sleep to more accurately adjust his sleep requirements by being put to bed at a ridiculously early hour.
2. Limit Wake Times
Your baby may already have a maximum amount of awake time, which was great when he slept soundly. You may need to be even more aggressive with regards to limiting his wake times given that he is overtired almost all of the time.
Consider, for example, his signs of sleepiness. Put him down for his next nap if he exhibits those signs of sleepiness, even if he has only been awake for a short period of time—even 30 minutes.
3. Hold Your Baby
Every nap should not be taken with your baby in your arms; otherwise, she may not learn to take naps. But if holding her and soothing her is the only way she will fall asleep under the given circumstances, do so.
Right now, getting some rest and resetting her sleep schedule are the top priorities. The only way to get her to sleep through the night is to take whatever steps are necessary.
Although occasionally inconvenient, think of it as a short-term solution to stop the cycle. In order to avoid her feeling overtired, make the most of it and use it as an opportunity to cuddle and bond with her.
Can’t hold her constantly? Consider using baby equipment that works. She may sleep longer when used with infant pillows, swings, swaddling, a baby wrap or carrier, or even stroller rides.
Once you’ve caught up on lost sleep, you can return to your regular sleeping schedule.
4. Check Your Baby’s Wake Up Time
Many of us base the first nap time for our infants on how long they have been awake. If they usually wake up at seven in the morning after 90 minutes of sleep, we can assume they will be ready for bed by 8:30.
But what would have happened if your child had woken up much earlier than 7 am? Despite possibly being awake since 6 am, he remained silent. Putting him to bed at 8:30 a.m. would indicate that he is already exhausted.
5. Create A Soothing Environment
How does the sleeping environment feel for your baby?
Sometimes all it takes to encourage more, not less, of the sleep she needs is a simple adjustment to her surroundings.
Any activities you perform before bed should be relaxing and peaceful. She can avoid being startled by loud noises and bright lights by drawing the blackout curtains and turning on the white noise machine. Make taking a bath before going to bed a soothing activity.
A soothing environment extends to how we behave as well. As I rocked my infant to sleep, I would get frustrated that he wasn’t already asleep. Later, I understood how foolish it was of me to expect him to fall asleep when I was so upset—it wasn’t exactly a calm experience for him.
It can be challenging to get your baby to sleep soundly and restfully. But kicking bad sleep habits is a great place to start if you want to prevent an overtired baby.