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'Why doesn't my baby go to sleep?' 'Why is it so hard for you to fall asleep?' 'How do you know if you are sleepy?' As parents, it is very important to capture the signals that our children send us, those unmistakable symptoms that indicate that the baby is sleepy and that they will help you all to rest better at night.
A baby who arrives exhausted at bedtime means that he is too tired to sleep, will whine and cry. And when it comes time to put him in his crib, he may have a hard time falling asleep, wake up more often, and have a hard time going back to sleep.
When the little one is too tired, it means that his body "is past turning" and possibly the hour of sleep has passed.
You are so physically exhausted that your body's stress response system kicks in. Stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline flood your baby's bloodstream, making it even more difficult for him to relax and calm down. And this tends to be a cyclical pattern - the more tired you are, the harder it is for you to relax and fall asleep.
When babies go through this situation they show some of the following signs: they rub their eyes or face, they touch their ears, they yawn, they complain, they whine and that cry can turn into an inconsolable cry (does it sound like you, right? ?) and becomes over-active.
These signals are very clear and it is very important to catch them to know that the time has come to go ahead and go to bed.
You have detected the signs, that is, your baby is sleepy, but first of all, it's time to calm him down, because only once he is calm, can you start working with him when he goes to sleep. To get him to that state of relaxation, you can use the following strategies:
- Wrap it in a blanket (for children under 4 months). You will feel covered and protected!
- Hug it lovingly. He will notice that there is someone with him and that he is not alone!
- Feed him until he calms down. If you breastfeed, the mother's milk and skin-to-skin contact will relax her.
- Rock it. The movement will make you want to sleep little by little.
- Can use white noise, that is to say, that constant noise emitted by some household appliances in the house and which, being continuous and without ups and downs, contributes to relaxation.
- Sing a lullaby. This practice favors the bond between the baby and the mother.
Once he's calm and collected, you can start a short routine to get him ready for bed. For the older ones, you can read a book in the room in a very dim light, give it a kiss, and then turn off the lights and go to sleep.
But the most important thing is to prevent them from getting tired and, the best thing for this, is to anticipate events. If every day you see that you are arriving late for bedtime, try putting him to bed 30 minutes earlier the next day. If everything is easier for you, you will know that 30 minutes before is the ideal time.
It is also important to know the waking times of your little one according to his age, in order to know how long he can stay awake since he took his last nap. Broadly speaking, waking times are:
- A newborn: from 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- A 6-month-old baby: between 2h to 2: 30h.
- A 12-month-old baby: between 4h to 5h.
- A 2-year-old child: between 5:30 a.m. to 6:00 a.m.
Try not to go over these times and everything will be easier for you. Make sure that he takes the naps that are appropriate for his age and respects his waking times, so you will avoid over-fatigue and achieve a better rest in his sleep.
** All these recommendations are taken from the books of the experts in children's sleep: National Sleep Foundation and a few more.
You can read more articles similar to Signs that the baby or child is sleepy, in the category of children's sleep on site.