The last time I visited my friend and her six month old daughter, I was so impressed by how smoothly their day went. She seemed to always know, when her little one was tired, hungry or anything else that was bothering her. Even though her little daughter wasn’t able to communicate with actual words, she could read her behaviour, cues and expressions. Earlier I had offered to babysit, since mom was telling me how exhausted she was and as a friend I wanted to help. I started to now worry about my offer, would I be able to understand what her baby needed, was it mother’s intuition that made her able to understand her baby without words? Would I know when to try to make the nap or when the right time to feed her was? What if she just cried all the time with me? I started to panic a little, but this got me thinking and I started to do some research on my own to better understand tired signs in babies and toddlers. What I found out was fascinating.
Why is it important to recognize tired signs?
Babies are processing everything they experience during the day in their sleep. That is also why the nap times in the afternoon are very important. If tired signs are overlooked, babies can get overtired because of too much stimulation for their little brains. When they have passed that point, it can take some effort to get them to rest again.
How do you sense tired signs?
Some tired signs can be very obvious, such as yawning or thumb sucking. Others can be trickier to see. Since all children are different and also show their tiredness differently, it is important that you observe your baby well and get to know their own signs. Anyhow, there are some common signs which I will shortly outline for you.
Tired signs of newborns:
Newborns tend to sleep very often and don’t stay awake for too long. Mostly, they are awake for one hour up to ninety minutes. Some signals can be:
Making a fist
Staring without eye contact
Head gets heavier
Putting their hands in front of their face
Blushing red skin around the eyes
Tired signs of babies 3 months and more
Babies older than three months tend to stay awake longer. Babies between three and six months usually stay awake for ninety minutes. Anyhow, in this stage babies can stay awake for up to three hours without being overstimulated. Babies older than six months usually stay awake two to three hours. That said, please be aware that these are just some common numbers. Your baby can have a different sleeping rhythm. Your best bet is to try to follow the common tired signs.
Sighing or groaning
You see tired signs, but baby still doesn’t want to sleep?
When you see tired signs, try to reduce stimulation and settle babies for sleep. Stimulation can be anything from background music, people talking, the sound of the TV to your pets. Often it can help to bring your baby to a separate room and away from the noise.
Darkening the baby’s room can also help, since darkness helps to distribute melatonin. Don’t be afraid to leave your baby in a dark room, troubling topics such as fears from monsters won’t appear until they‘re toddlers. Plus, you can always have your baby monitor to keep an eye on them.
Other stimuli such as a baby mobile over their beds can be disrupting, too. Try to create a calm atmosphere where the baby can relax and easily fall into sleep.
Noise muffling beanie can prevent overstimulation
Even though you have taken all the necessary steps, it can still happen that your baby is just over the limit. I have seen that with my friend, too. We were baking cookies talking and listening to quiet music. Unfortunately, this was already too much to take for her small daughter. We missed the window to settle her for sleep and the rest of the day she was very agitated. It took my friend a lot of effort to get her to sleep and the lightest sound would wake her up again, starting the process all over again. Today, I would like to know how the situation would have been had the baby been wearing our Little Snooze beanie leading up to nap time, not just for calming her down for sleep, but also to prevent her from the noises which caused the overstimulation in the first place. Could the Little Snooze beanie be a great help to moms? I believe yes, and also a new babysitter’s best friend!