How To Get An Overtired Newborn To Sleep

Practice Makes Perfect When It Comes To Baby Sleep Skills

Overtired Newborn Baby: Signs & How to get an Overtired Baby to Sleep

The same goes for figuring out where your baby sleeps. Yes, a baby prefers the closeness of being in your arms. But dont assume that your baby will ONLY sleep in your arms forever and ever.

After two months, think of everything as sleep as practice. Keep practicing putting your baby down drowsy but awake. Keep practicing putting your baby down for a nap in your crib. As soon as your baby gets used to sleeping independently or in different places, it can be more accessible and easier for your baby to be able to stay asleep in a different location

Signs Of An Overtired Baby

Babies who dont sleep enough and who stay awake for longer than they can handle end up having a stress response an increase in adrenaline and cortisol making it trickier for them to wind down for bed.

Sometimes its obvious your baby is overtired and other times the signs are subtle. Heres what to look for in your little one:

  • She only takes brief catnaps instead of full-blown naps.
  • She doesnt get a lot of sleep at night.
  • Shes very cranky or fussy.
  • Shes less able to handle frustration or pain.
  • Shes more prone to meltdowns .
  • She falls asleep at random times during the day .

What Is A Sleep Debt

Your baby will exhibit a sleep debt as they arent getting the amount of sleep that is required. The more sleep they are missing, the bigger the sleep debt which could lead to mental and physical fatigue.

Two studies show that with babies at 8 weeks and 12 weeks, the sleep deprived babies needed to be awoken with louder blasts of white noise than those babies that were well-rested. This shows us that in an overtired state, our baby isnt functioning at their best.

Once youre trying to fix sleep, you dont just automatically catch up you have to dig your Way out of the debt, slowly, but surely.

Think of when you lose weight you dont just lose 20 lbs. In a week the weight slowly comes off through healthy changes in both diet and exercise. In this example, the more and more weight you lose the better and healthier you feel. Same goes for your baby. The more sleep your baby gets, the better your baby will feel!

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What Are An Infant’s Sleep Needs

Sleep needs for babies vary depending on their age. Newborns do sleep much of the time. But their sleep is in very short segments. As a baby grows, the total amount of sleep slowly decreases. But the length of nighttime sleep increases.

Generally, newborns sleep about 8 to 9 hours in the daytime and about 8 hours at night. But they may not sleep more than 1 to 2 hours at a time. Most babies don’t start sleeping through the night without waking until they are about 3 months old, or until they weigh 12 to 13 pounds. About two-thirds of babies are able to sleep through the night on a regular basis by age 6 months.

Babies also have different sleep cycles than adults. Babies spend much less time in rapid eye movement sleep . And the cycles are shorter. The following are the usual nighttime and daytime sleep needs for newborns through 2 years old:

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How to Get an Overtired Baby to Sleep

According to the 2015 State of Motherhood report, 83% of babies being born are from moms born 18 to age 32, coined as the Millennial Mom. This breed of moms spend $13k per year on spending for their kids, always have a smartphone in hand and typically find parenting exhausting, but fun.

I dont remember spending this much money for my kids, but hey, things add up! I got in trouble buying the newest shiny object from Target. summarized the study Perhaps due in part to the rise of social media, 64% of moms say that parenting is more competitive today than it used to be, with 3 out of 4 admitting that its important to try to be a perfect mom. Interestingly, that number is higher among stay-at-home moms.

With new moms striving for perfection, its pretty easy to assume that parents are pretty disappointed when their baby doesnt sleep well.

The act of self-soothing, or allowing a baby to fall asleep independently is easy for some and not for others. While some parents have that unicorn baby that sleeps and eats perfectly, there are other parents that are dealing with a baby that is up every hour on the hour, needing help to get back to sleep. ALL. NIGHT. LONG.

When parents come to me for a sleep consultation, the exhausted parents are typically at the point where they have failed at gentler or preventative sleep measures, and they are looking for help creating sleep a sleep plan and receiving ongoing support.

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Rice Cereal Isnt The Go

Rice cereal used to be the go-to first food recommendation among pediatricians especially since the rice has such a bland taste. But since the F.D.A. warned about high arsenic levels in rice cereal, the recommendations have been changed. Increased exposure for babies exposed to high levels of arsenic has been linked to learning problems. The F.D.A. still recommends iron-fortified cereals as babies first food, but there are better options, such as rice and barley.

Why Rocking + Lullabies Really Can Work

Making children feel sleepy requires decreasing their level of cortisol, the hormone that keeps them revved up and ready to go, says pediatrician Maureen Ahmann, DO. To decrease cortisol, calm their senses.

Rocking your baby andsinging a lullaby may be the best-known calming techniques, but any type of sensorysoothing can work, says Dr. Ahmann. Try:

  • Swaddling .
  • Any light, repetitive movement, like swaying or swinging.
  • Feeding .
  • Dimming the lights.
  • Playing soft music or tranquil sounds from a white noise machine or app.

The key is removingstimulation and signaling the body that its time to rest, says Dr. Ahmann.

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How To Know If Baby Is Overtired

There are a few different hints that babies give us when they are getting tired or overtired. Look for these baby sleep cues to know if your baby is past his max and needs to be put down for a nap ASAP!

1. They are past their optimal wake time: Babies are only able to stay awake and happy for short periods of time depending on their age before they start to fight sleep. For example, if your baby has been up for 2.5 hours and her wake window is 1 hour 45 minutes, then yes, she is likely exhausted! The best way to prevent overtiredness in the first place is to pay attention to your babys awake times and put her down for sleep at the right time.

2. Zoning out: Your baby may start to avoid eye contact or stare off into the distance. This is a sign that they dont want to play anymore and they want to sleep.

3. Baby will start to rub her eyes or face: Some babies will also tug on their ears when theyre tired.

4. Clenched fists. Some babies will clench their fists or keep them closed.

5. Clingy: Baby will be very clingy to mom, dad, or another caregiver, making it harder to be put down.

6. Fussy: Baby is fussier than normal. Perhaps your overtired baby wont stop crying or is crying loudly.

8. Baby waking up early: If your baby is consistently having early mornings, it may be because they need more sleep! Make sure you are allowing enough sleep for her age.

How Do You Know If Your Baby Is Overtired

Get an Overtired Baby to Sleep

Signs of an overtired baby include:

  • Rubbing eyes and tugging ears. Your baby may attempt to soothe herself by bringing her hands toward her face.
  • Yawning. Yawning signals the onset of drowsiness and change in her physiological state.
  • Crossing of the eyes. Focusing becomes a struggle.
  • Avoiding eye contact. Your baby may disengage with you and stare off into the distance.
  • Clinginess. Between three and 12 months old, babies tend to become clingy when overtired.
  • Fussiness. Your baby may appear irritable.
  • Arching the back and squirming. She may also appear uncomfortable.
  • Being demanding. Your baby is unhappy whether you pick her up or put her down.
  • Clumsiness. Older babies tend to become especially clumsy and unable to focus.
  • Hyperactivity. She may seem playful even though sheâs exhausted.
  • Taking shorter naps than usual. You can blame those hormones again for interrupting your babyâs nap time.

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What May Be Other Reasons My Tired Baby Is Fighting Sleep

Every baby is different, and most babies go through a period where getting the sleep they need becomes difficult. Some reasons you may find that your baby is fighting sleep and/or appears to have trouble getting to sleep is that theyre overstimulated. This can simply be a matter of extra light from flashing toys, computers, phones, and other electronic devices. It could also be ringing and beeping, traffic sounds, other children playing, banging pots and pans, the list goes on! Adults are used to daily sounds and noises just from living life, and have adjusted to this kind of constant stimulation. But to a baby, its all new and exciting.

Oftentimes, too, fighting sleep is related to typical developmental growth like teething, a cold, a change in routine most of the time these issues are worked out on their own.

How To Help An Overtired Newborn Sleep

In addition to the tips above, the following are perfect for your newborn:

  • Swaddling: Swaddling your newborn is sought out to be the best way for your newborn to sleep. The comfort from the swaddle mimics the closeness of the womb and allows them to stay warm and soothed.
  • Skin to Skin: An even better idea is skin-to-skin time! According to Shari Criso, registered nurse, and certified lactation consultant, Your breasts are able to detect even a one-degree drop in your babys temperature and warm up. You are the best incubator/warmer there is. Wrapping that baby up like a little burrito is only necessary if he/she will be away from you. But the best way to keep her warm in the early days is to cuddle with them skin-to-skin with a blanket over the two of you. Your skin contact means that baby will have to expend fewer calories regulating her own temperature. Skin-to-skin also helps Baby regulate her heart and breathing, and it helps her stay in a deep sleep longer.
  • Feeding: If you are breastfeeding, try feeding your little one to sleep for the reasons above.

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Better Than Dealing With Overtiredness Is Preventing It Before It Occurs

You need to learn the first signs of tiredness and place the sleepy baby in the crib right away. Taking the right steps at the right moment is the most important here!

You will soon learn when and how long your baby sleeps. If you stick to the sleeping schedule, your baby will fall asleep sooner and wakes up happy and rested.

Babys sleeping guidelines:

Rocking And Lullabies Can Help Your Overtired Baby Fall Asleep

How to Get an Overtired Newborn to Sleep

Putting an overtired baby to sleep requires lowering their level of cortisol. Cortisol is the hormone that is responsible for keeping people awake and revved up. To reduce the levels of cortisol, you need to calm the senses.

The best way to decrease your babys cortisol levels is to rock them or sing lullabies. These two methods are some of the best-known calming techniques. Apart from singing and swaying, you can try any sensory soothing method, including the following:

  • Light repetitive movements like swaying or swinging
  • Feeding the baby to induce drowsiness
  • Dimming the lights

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Learn Your Babys Tiredness Cues

I would encourage you to keep a journal of the times when your baby displays signs of being overtired. With this information, you can re-create nap schedules and bedtime routines. If your babe is showing signs of being overtired, consider laying them down for a nap or early bedtime.

I know that this may be a hard season for you, mama. Fatigue on your end combined with not knowing how to comfort your baby when they are exhausted can be discouraging.

Let me encourage you in that you are the perfect mom for your baby. No one on earth can give your baby the extent of what you can.

Be patient, reach out for help, and give yourself grace. It is a long road, but it will be worth it, and you will come out on the other side.

How And When To Adjust Babies Sleep After A Short Nap

If your little one has a failed nap and they are really irritable and grossly overtired, you can consider doing a reset. What this means is, if you can, get bub to sleep even if itâs in your arms, in a dark room, with some white noise on â however you need to. Try and preserve that sleep however you can, and then reset after that with the usual awake times etc. Remember that sometimes just a car, carrier or pram nap is okay, rather than trying to get them into bed if that just isnât happening in this instance. These types of naps are a good way to reset bub and then try again on the next sleep without overtiredness being such an over-riding factor.

Babies who are overtired are overstimulated. Being in their face, rattling toys, and passing them around etc. will only exacerbate this sense of overwhelm for them.

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How To Prevent Your Baby From Getting Overtired

In general, make sure youre giving your baby ample opportunity to meet her sleep needs. Here’s how much sleep baby needs by age:

  • A 1-month-old should get about 14 to 17 hours of sleep a day. Thatll usually break down to about eight to nine hours at night and another seven to nine hours in naps during the day.
  • A 2-month-old should get a total of around 12 to 16 hours of sleep a day. Expect her to get approximately eight to 10 hours at night and four to eight in naps.
  • A 3-month-old should get about nine to 10 hours at night and a few naps of 90 minutes to two hours each during the day.
  • your baby should be sleeping between 12 and 15 hours a day, with two or three daytime naps that total around three to four hours, and about 10 to 11 hours of sleep at night .
  • When your baby nears 6 months old, she should be sleeping about nine to 11 hours at night, with two longer naps during the day. Shes now capable of “sleeping through the night” or sleeping for six to eight hours at a time most nights.

In a perfect scenario, youd stop your babys overtiredness before it even starts. These tips for preventing your baby from getting overtired can help:

The Swaddle Is Helpful Not Hurtful

Get Your Baby To Sleep: Overtired Baby

The American Academy of Pediatrics says that swaddling can be an effective technique to help calm infants and promote sleep when done correctly.

After a baby fusses by being swaddled, many parents assume that a newborn doesnt like the swaddle, and the parents stop swaddling. This leads to a baby sleeping shorter stretches since the babys moro reflex wakes the baby up. So now the baby isnt sleeping well, is more overtired, and parents are getting more and more frustrated.

So how can you solve this?


Keep swaddling a baby until your baby is ready to roll or bust out of the swaddle.

Try different positions or try other swaddles. Dont give up!

Try Different swaddle positions:

  • One arm up, one arm down
  • Both hands by face

Here are the most popular swaddles to try :

Dont just assume that the swaddle wont work for your baby. Try something new over and over. A for your friends to borrow their swaddles there are so many different swaddles to try go ahead and see what works best for them!

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How Do I Know If My Child Is Overtired

Remember how we talked about how things spiral out of control when youre exhausted and thats for us adults?

Its the same with our kids. Thats why its so important to help them learn to sleep so they can process their day and learn how to handle things well. So, lets help you get that overtired baby to sleep already! Then, after sleep training, we can all go back to our normal days of parenting cute kids.

Not sure if your child is overtired? Heres how you can know for sure.

Look at how theyre acting. Are they:

  • More cranky than normal for most of the day
  • Prone to crying about everything
  • Angrier than usual most of the day
  • Throwing more tantrums than usual
  • Screaming for no visible reason more frequently or multiple times throughout the day

If so, odds are that theyre overtired. Because while being 6 or 11 months old is rough, anger and tantrums shouldnt be the majority of your day. Sure, theyll happen. But when my kids were rested at this age, they were generally happy, content babies who loved to play, eat, and play some more.

So if your baby is the flaming monster version of Baby Jack-Jack who didnt get a cookie, Id bet theyre too tired.

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