It would be so nice if your baby could tell you when she is ready to go for a nap. You are right! She can! Your little one can communicate with you, even though she doesn’t speak yet. Understanding newborn sleepy cues is key.
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Your baby’s sleepy cues is a way to tell you if he’s feeling tired, ready to take a nap, or that he’s overtired.
Can you see the changes in sleepy cues? This can happen slowly, sometimes. Sometimes you might see “the stare”, then the yawning and finally, crying. Sometimes, your child may appear to go from being tired to being overtired in a flash. The “ready to nap” sweet spot is in the middle. To make sure you have enough time to get your baby ready for a nap at that sweet spot in middle, it is important to begin moving in that direction once you hear the “I’m Tired”.
What if I don’t see any sleepy cues at all?
It can happen! It’s easy to forget sleepy cues in the hustle and bustle of daily life. Perhaps you’re not noticing any sleepy cues until your “I’m Overtired” stage.
What can you do then?
Knowing your baby’s wake times can help you prevent a tired newborn. A wake window refers to the time that your baby spends awake in between naps. For a newborn, the typical wake window is between 60 and 90 minutes. Your baby will fall asleep more quickly and stay asleep for longer if you aim for the right age-appropriate wake windows. We will be focusing on sleepy cues with newborns. You can help your baby by being aware of their wake windows and knowing when to search for them.
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What if my baby is sleeping through the full wake window but not showing any sleepy cues?
We want to ensure that your baby wakes up at least half of the time without causing fatigue. Sometimes babies will yawn and look away, if they need to be alone or are ready for something different.
Try changing your baby’s environment if your baby is displaying sleepy cues or waking up at night when there hasn’t been a full wake window. Try something new, such as going outside or incorporating a different kind of newborn play. Sometimes, a change in scenery or an activity can be enough to get him back on track and give him the full wake window.
What can I do if my baby gets too tired?
Sometimes, even with our best intentions, we can miss the sweet spot, and baby may become tired. Your baby may not get the nap he needs. It is possible to notice that it can be easier later in the day to miss these cues. This is one reason we often end up with “colic” symptoms in the witching hour.
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It’s okay if you didn’t hear the sleepy cues. Give yourself grace. You can always try again at your next sleep or bedtime.