do you witness one or all of these things in your child? does it happen once in a day? all day? if you answered yes to ANY of these questions, than your child is over-tired! once you have an over-tired child and the ideal window for sleep has been missed, than i can probably say you have your work cut out for you! by paying close attention to your baby’s behaviour and schedule (feeds, sleep, stimulation time) you will more easily distinguish his/her tired signs. by figuring these signals out you will have half the battle in the bag!
an over-tired child is extremely hard to settle. often parents will say that their child has bad gas, reflux, colic, and so on, when in fact their baby is just continuously over-tired. i’m not saying this is the case for all babies, because some babies have been diagnosed by doctors with one or more of the above issues. for those families i am truly sorry and am wishing you the best during those hard days and nights. for all you others i hope this post finds you some new found peace and quiet!
many moms explain to me a very similar situation to the one i’m about to describe. my baby won’t go to sleep unless i rock, shush, nurse or a combination of all 3. he/she wakes the second i lay her down and begins to cry. therefore, they get the baby back up assuming that they don’t need sleep or will try to get them to sleep later on. parents are certain they will for sure be tired by this point and go straight down. the day goes on, the pattern continues, but just gets worse and worse. by evening time your baby is screaming inconsolably and you want to pull your hair out and go running through the streets screaming at the top of your lungs! you would do anything for the baby to just be happy awake or go down to sleep so you could simply shower and eat your dinner in peace!
i hear this scenario or versions stemming from this and i feel your pain. many don’t know what to do when they get caught up in this cycle and they all feel strongly about not wanting to let their babies cry at all. yes, i had to hear crying, fussing, etc when i was teaching them the skills to self-soothe and learning to be happy and independent in their own space and beds. therefore, i do know how hard the crying can be but trust me when i say if you added up the time your over-tired child cries/fusses it would totally outweigh the amount of tears he/she would have during the sleep training process. to teach your baby to sleep is only a short amount of time. for some it’s just days, others a couple weeks and for some it may take 1 month to get all the naps and nighttime issues sorted out. that being said, even if you are one of the families that takes a full month it is still way shorter than the months, plural, or even years of dealing with over-tired kids whom have poor sleeping habits.
if you aren’t ready to officially sleep train, but have a situation similar to the one i talked about than there are some things you can try. try to start your child’s nap soothing routine BEFORE you see tired signs. once you notice the tired signs it is too late! it will most likely be a struggle to get them down to sleep. try and be as consistent as possible when preparing for naps and nighttime. this way they are given constant cues that signal sleep is approaching. try and have them sleeping motionless in a quiet environment. not on the go in buggies, cars or out in the world. you have a hard time sleeping with commotion and so do they! those who say my baby only sleeps in the swing or car seat, etc. will need to teach your baby to sleep motionless. the habit of motion sleep has been created and therefore will need to be broken. it can be done and you aren’t the first to have this problem! remember, you are never the first for anything! many of us mom’s have the same issues as the mom next door:)
remember: if you see yawning, fussing or rubbing eyes…you missed the window!! next time try to get them down for sleep before you witness these signs! good luck and i hope you find a less tearful home by carefully watching your baby and his/her tired signs!
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