Getting a baby to sleep under the best of circumstances can be tricky, but when your little one is overtired, it can be even more difficult. That’s because overtired babies have a harder time settling down for sleep, sleep only intermittently and wake up more often throughout the night.
The result? Overtired babies tend to sleep less and sleep less well, making them more tired, which continues the tired-overtired cycle. And it can be especially difficult to sleep train an overtired baby.
How can you tell if your baby is overtired? Here are the signs, plus tips on how to steer your baby toward better sleep habits.
Signs of an overtired baby
Babies who don’t 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 it’s obvious your baby is overtired … and other times the signs are subtle. Here’s what to look for in your little one:
What can I do to avoid them getting overtired:
Contributed by Pam Jones, RN
Do you have more questions? Contact Nurse Pam!
Newborns need to eat often. In the first few weeks of baby's life, breastfeeding will probably happen 8-12 times every 24 hours. Sometimes, baby will want to nurse even more often. When feedings are bunched together, especially in the evening, this is called cluster feeding.
It may seem like a lot of nursing but it's completely normal!
Don't forget that in addition to helping baby get nice and full in the nighttime hours, cluster feeding also helps increase milk supply, helping to get nursing off to a good start and keeping up milk production. The baby to breast relationship truly is symbiotic! Cluster feeding typically ends for baby between 3 and 4 months old but there are times when it may resurface such as during a growth spurt. Again completely normal!