How will I know when my baby needs a nap?

Tired Baby

If you ask most new parents about the hardest part of early parenthood, most people talk about sleep. Their own sleep is dependant on baby's sleep and that is the tricky part!

Is my baby over-tired? Not yet tired? Hungry? Bored? While you may never know the exact reason for an upset baby, there are some signs that your baby is tired that you can look out for. Start to look for some of these signs in your baby and you will start to learn their own signals that they are ready for bedtime. 

Babies can go from happy and engaged, to tired very quickly. When you notice some of these signs in your baby, you will know that it is time to start preparing them for a sleep.

Some of the most common tired signs in babies include:

  • rubbing their eyes
  • jerking their arms and legs
  • sucking on hands
  • grizzling or crying
  • yawning
  • staring into space
  • pulling at their ears
  • their eyebrows are 'red' (see photo below)

Red Eyebrows on a tired baby

For some babies it can be difficult to work out whether they are tired until it is too late. For these babies in particular it might help to 'watch the clock!' to make sure that they have not been awake for too long to avoid them becoming overtired. For newborn babies this is longer than 1.5-2 hours. For babies aged 3-6 months they will usually become overtired if awake for longer than 1.5-2.5 hours and for babies aged 6-12 months this might be longer than 2-3 hours.

Once you start to notice your baby is tired, get them ready for bed by changing their nappy and giving them a cuddle. If you have a bedtime routine, make sure it doesn't take too long as babies are most difficult to put to sleep when they are overtired!

What signs does your baby show that they are ready for a nap? Or do you find it easier to watch the clock for your baby? Let us know your tips in the comments.

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