Overtired baby won’t sleep easily – What to do?
It is typical that overtired baby, despite the tiredness, can’t fall asleep. Overtired baby constantly cries, kicking with her little legs, hitting with hands, and usually can’t calm down very easily.
Finding the proper time to place your baby into bed is crucial for both of you. Don’t be too late, otherwise, your baby will cry and scream until she finally falls asleep. And when she does, she will wake up quickly and have a hard time falling back to sleep again.
Even 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.
First, you can help yourself with guidelines on our infographic:
Signs of an overtired baby
Some signs are the same as for an adult. For example:
- baby rubs her eyes or face
- her eyes are red
- baby withdrawing the face away from you
Other overtiredness signs typical only for newborns and babies:
- overtired baby hiccups or sneezing frequently
- eyes rolling
- becomes irritable
Eventually, the fussing may spiral into kicking and full-blown inconsolable crying. The baby can become very demanding. She wants mom or dad constantly. It is impossible to put her down to sleep because she upsets too much if you try to put her in the crib.
Interesting fact: It is also possible that an overtired baby becomes more physically active until she can’t bear the tiredness anymore and becomes fussy, screaming and crying.
But these are only general signs, as each baby is different and unique. So observe your baby, learn to recognize individual symptoms of fatigue, and you will be able to take actions before it is too late.
How to get an overtired baby to sleep
When your baby becomes overtired, it is crucial to calm her down first. Only when she is calm, start with your sleeping routine.
What can you do as a first step?
There are many possibilities, but you need to find out which one is the best for both of you!
- Hold your baby and walk with her around the room.
- Talk or sing to her with a calm, quiet voice!
- Put a baby in the stroller and walk around. It does help! But walk around only until she calms down. Babies get used to sleeping only in a stroller very quickly!
- The same applies to carriers and slings. Babies feel comfortable, safe and calm in them. Carry her around until she is calm, then transfer her into the crib.
- Lay down on your back and place your baby on the chest. That is especially very good technique for dads. Why? Because the mommy’ smell of milk, so the baby wants to breastfeed.
- Although nursing helps, it is better for both of you, that baby doesn’t learn to fall asleep only on your breast.
- When your baby calms down, place her in the cradle or a crib.
- Many babies like white noises. Buy a baby crib mobile. With gentle movements and calming music, nature sounds or white noises they gently soothe babies into sleep.
- Don’t forget to dim the room.
- Read a book, or make a snuggle nest from pillows for older babies.
Why do babies become overtired?
Because you didn’t stick to your sleeping routine and you missed the right sleeping time.
An overtired baby had already crossed the point when his body was ready for sleep. He is physically so tired that his body activates the stress response system. Stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol, overflow the blood system, making the baby very difficult to calm down and relax.
That has reciprocal consequences, as she is in a circle of tiredness and stress. With increasing fatigue, problems with relaxation are also increasing! Because of that, the overtiredness is even higher, so the baby calms and relax even harder … and so on and one.
That lasts until baby falls into sleep because of the exhaustion, not because of a normal sleeping routine. And this is not a quality sleep at all!
Causes of baby’s overtiredness
- overtiredness occurs when the baby stays awake too long between daily naps
- when she is awake too long in the evenings
While older babies can be awake extended periods of time, newborns need a lot of sleep. Many newborns are not awake for more than an hour! And this short period is the biggest reason why newborns and young babies can become overtired so soon.
Overtiredness is stressful for babies and parents, that’s why learning to recognize the signs and take prompt actions right away is the key! Sticking to the sleeping routine will help the whole family. If the baby is rested, all family is rested and happy!
You can find out how to establish a healthy baby sleeping routine in our article “How many hours does the average newborn sleep per day?“.