Time to sleep… your baby’s tired signs
While babies cannot talk, when it comes to their most important requirements – the need for food, comfort and lots of sleep – they can communicate very clearly!
Ask any parent and they will tell you their new baby was soon able to tell them what they needed and when! Even the very youngest of babies can communicate when they are tired and need to sleep. And, no, it’s not necessarily through crying.
Most babies give quite clear signs and signals that they are tired. For new parents, recognising your baby’s tired signs is an important skill that will help you get your baby off to sleep with little fussiness.
Common signs young babies are tired include:
- Changing facial expressions – relaxed to grimacing
- Frowning and looking unhappy
- Looking away from you or staring into space
- Rigid, Jerky or tense arm, hand and leg movements
- Fists clenched
- Rubbing eyes and ears
- Crying, fussing, being unsettled – this is a late cue!
Sometimes too late…
Early tired signs may be subtle and easy to miss. Certainly not as obvious as being completed unsettled, fussing or crying, crying, crying! Watching your baby and understanding their tired signs will help you know when it is best (and easiest) to put them to bed.
For babies, being tired and needing sleep is not just about the length of time they have been awake, so the signals that your baby gives you are a helpful and reliable cue that sleep is near! Observe your baby, trust your own knowledge and read the signs your baby is giving you.
When your baby shows some, or all, of the tired signs listed, it is sleep time! Some babies settle best when put to sleep at the first sign of being tired (such as staring into space) while others will need to be a little more tired before they are ready for bedtime. Trust yourself that you will learn and know your baby’s tired signs best.
Both you and your baby will be pleased that when they have ‘spoken’ about their tiredness, you have listened!