An over tired baby is not a pleasant thing to deal with. Over tired babies are hard work! But you know yourself when you’re tired and can’t get to sleep- you can be grumpy and irritable too. The difference being you know what can ease it a little. You can light some candles, take a bubble bath or go out for a walk, for example. Babies? They rely on you, so you need some tricks up your sleeve! Hopefully today’s post will help when dealing with an over tired baby.
An over tired baby isn’t always easy to spot, and in some cases you can be fooled into thinking all is ok. Some babies are able to keep going right up until the last minute, before collapsing in a screaming heap of exhaustion. We need to avoid that at all costs! But it does happen. Here are some sure fire signs that your baby is over tired:
- Baby tries to stay alert- by rubbing the eyes, pulling/ rubbing the ears and turning away from stimulation.
- Baby attempts a little self soothing, such as sucking her thumb or looking for a pacifier.
- Baby steps up the cues- hiccups, sneezing (yes, really!), rapid breathing.
- Baby starts to cry. And fuss. And probably scream.
- Baby starts to fight sleep, refusing to feed and arches her back to prevent you from lying her in crib or pram etc.
So by the time you reach the last step, you have a very over tired baby, and most likely a fight on your hands! But don’t panic, help is at hand!
How to deal with an over tired baby
When your baby is over tired, she may seem to fight sleep. Think about how you feel when you’re so tired but cannot sleep. You might toss and turn for what seems like hours, while your body is crying out for your brain to relax and for you to go to sleep. Its so frustrating! Well, your baby gets it too. She can’t tell you how she’s feeling though, so she’s likely to just cry. And this can be hard. When you, as a parent, know that she’s tired and the best thing for her is to go to sleep- her fighting the sleep is so frustrating! Here are some steps you can take in this situation:
Newborn babies that are over tired can be made worse by stimulation. So…
- swaddling is a great idea here, because that with stifle the jerk reflex and help her to relax. Other ways to calm- dim the lights, turn off the TV/ music and keep calm
- Rocking your baby can help
- Feeding your baby can relax and soothe
- Play white noise
Older babies might need a little more persuading when it comes to falling to sleep once they’re over tired! Some ideas to try include:
- Spend at least 15 minutes calming her down, in her bedroom, before you attempt lying down for sleep.
- Read a book, keeping the lights dim, or sing a song- whatever works for you both.
- Play white noise, make sure all other distractions are eliminated
Again, too much stimulation for an over tired baby can be bad news. So once you spot that your baby can gone past the point of tired, make sure you tackle this straight away.
Why do babies get over tired?
Babies need way more sleep than we do as adults. And depending on their age, they can only really be awake for short periods of time in between naps. If their awake times are too long, they are going to make you pay! So keep a check, and take a look at my 3 minute Q&A video here, as I talk about awake times a little more.
How to prevent baby becoming over tired
Sometimes it just can’t be avoided. And if this is the case, don’t beat yourself up over it. All you can do is make sure you keep an eye on awake times, but also be led by your baby. If she starts to yawn and show other early signs of tiredness, don’t ignore it just because she has only been awake for one hour rather than an hour and a half. If she needs to sleep, just adjust your schedule accordingly.