One of the keys to getting babies to sleep well is making sure they get to bed when they’re tired – but before they’re overtired.
The easiest way to spot tiredness is if your child shows one of the typical signs:
Rubbing/pulling their ears, eyes or nose
Arching their back or squirming
Spacing out with a “seven mile stare”
Slow, droopy blink (especially on the breast or bottle)
Burrowing into whomever is holding him or her
Clenching their fists
Pulling their knees up to chest
But sometimes babies are good at hiding their fatigue. That doesnt mean they’re not tired; it just means it’s a whole lot harder for you to tell that they’re tired.
I’ve had clients who have a happy baby one moment, and then – BOOM – the next moment he’s a cranky, crabby, irritable bundle of nerves. What gives and what are you supposed to do?
Like all of us, babies have limits to how long they can be awake before getting overtired. But for those who hide their fatigue, they’ll push through the tiredness with some activity, and turn that tired into wired – hyper, giddy, even slightly manic. You know, the kid who starts jumping on the couch for no reason, or the baby who can’t sit still and laughs away one moment, and breaks down in tears the next.
This is why, while I hate using the word “schedule” I do encourage parents to watch the clock when their child is awake. Knowing your child’s awake limit is an invaluable tool you can always use to know when your child is tired and ready for the next nap (or for bed!)
Steal this! I’ve got a wake times guide for you – you can use this to figure out if your child is ready for the next nap, or just needs a wee bit more time of being awake!