I’m a new mommy, so every day I learn something new at parenting and in motherhood-land.
Today I want to share newborn baby tired signs I wish I knew sooner.
These cues are based on my experience with my firstborn child, Daniel, and it is important to remember that each baby is an individual and may express other signs unique to him and therefore only you will recognize.
These signs are physical and behavioral, and if you can identify them in real time, you will be able to lead your baby to the first and necessary stage of falling asleep, which is a state of general relaxation. Overlooking these signs could cause your newborn baby reaching the point of overtiredness, in which state he might find it difficult to fall asleep.
A sure sign for fatigue. When a baby is yawning it means he is tired, and when a baby is tired he will yawn. When we recognize the first yawn we know the baby should be put to bed soon. We need to complete the preparations for bed-time, a sleep ritual, shower, etc. and help the baby fall asleep.
The more tired the baby is the yawns frequency increases. However, while an overtired baby will still yawn, it would be harder to put him to sleep in this condition.
Sucking on fingers
The sucking reflex is expressed when the baby is hungry, but this might also mean that he is trying to find ways to settle to sleep. In order to begin the process of falling asleep, the body must be relaxed and the baby should reach a state of general relaxation, which in turn stimulates the sucking reflex, which among other things calms the baby.
Breastfeeding, eating from a bottle or taking a pacifier, all these allow the baby to fulfill this desire to suck and relax. As parents, we need to distinguish between real hunger and the need for sucking as an attempt to calm, considering our existing circumstances and experience.
For example, if he ate half an hour ago, it is likely that he’s not hungry at the moment and is making his way back to the breast to seek comfort and not as a result of real hunger.
Grumpiness / Restlessness / Impatience
Overtiredness can get a baby feel distressed, and he might appear like he’s ‘fighting’ going to sleep or that something is preventing him from sleeping. This distress is commonly mistaken as pain. Additional stimulation that occurs when parents use strategies aimed at relieving a distressed, overtired baby’s ‘pain’ (e.g. burping, tummy massage, etc), combined with overtiredness can very quickly turn into crying, screaming, and hysteria.
It is important to remember, when the baby experiencing excessive fatigue, it will be very difficult for him to fall asleep. Therefore, it is crucial that we relax him first and only then help him fall asleep.
Some more tired signs I noticed:
- Clenching his fists into tight balls.
- Facial grimacing (a painful looking facial expression).
- Frowning or knotting his eyebrows.
- Glazed stare and difficulty focusing, seem to be staring into space.
- looking away // turning head away // Losing interest in people and toys.
- making jerky arm and leg movements, or arching backward.
- Light redness around the eyes and eyebrows – will be expressed in some babies when they are extremely tired.
- Rubbing his eyes – This is a sign of a relatively late stage of fatigue, so if we notice this sign, we should hurry (but really hurry) help the baby to fall asleep soon.