A baby's brain is a busy place! Learning, experiencing, making connections, consolidating... It's tiring work.
What this translates to in practice, is your baby becoming very easily overstimulated by their environment and not being able to cope with being tired in a way older children or adults can.
This is especially true for newborn and very young babies.
If you are struggling to get your new baby to settle or sleep and it's been over 2 hours since they last woke, chances are they’re already overtired. Babies have a narrow sleep window in which they’ll fall asleep easily and sleep well. Anything outside that and they’re either not tired enough and are fighting sleep or they’re overtired and are fighting sleep!
Overtiredness is a common reason some babies won’t settle and sleep as newborns. It is also the thing most commonly misdiagnosed as reflux or colic. Often overtired babies cry and writhe and draw their knees up to their chests, contracting in a way that seems like they’re in pain – this is actually a sign of overtiredness and these babies need to go to bed straight away. It is a common misconception that this meant the baby had a “pain in their tummy”, when in actual fact they just need sleep!
So how do you combat these conditions in your baby? Our top tips are:
- have your baby follow our Sleep Programs, which are designed around babies optimum awake windows at each age
- don’t let the environment around your baby get too overstimulating when they’re really young – bright lights, lots of noise and lots of people is all too much for newbies to handle
- if your baby is overtired or overstimulated putting them in a dark room with loud white noise will help to calm them
- if all else fails try taking them for a drive or a walk in the stroller with a dark cover over the car seat/stroller