Trying to figure out what is going on in a baby’s head can be extremely confusing and at times quite frustrating. It can be especially difficult to determine the reason behind why your baby, despite being overtired, will not stay asleep!
What Not Do To Help An Overtired Baby Sleep
Before we go over what tips can be successful in keeping your overtired baby sleeping. Let’s discuss what not to do as well as dispel some common baby sleeping myths.
Myth Number 1: Tiring out or keeping your baby up during the day helps your baby sleep at night
Babies can get stressed when they do not sleep enough. This stress releases a hormone called cortisol which directly inhibits melatonin. Melatonin is very important for sleep as it is responsible for sleep onset and sleep duration.
Staying up later and avoiding naps causes cortisol to build up in your baby throughout the day. By the time night time runs around your baby has all of this built up cortisol! This built up cortisol will act like adrenaline leading to overactivity!
“Imagine feeling incredibly stressed then have someone try to put you to bed”
These are the types of feelings your baby might experience but instead of being able to vocalize their discomfort it is expressed in symptoms such as
- Lots of yawning
- Lots of crying
- Difficulty to soothe
- Lower frustration or pain threshold
- Falling asleep at inappropriate times
- Short naps followed by restlessness (catnaps)
Myth Number 2: Feeding your 4 month and older solid food before bed helps them sleep better
According to a national survey, 62% of parents start introducing solid foods to their babies between the ages of 4-6 months. It's important to know that introducing solid foods after 6 months of age is not optimal as it can cause deficiencies in zinc, protein, iron, vitamin D, the B vitamins which can result in growth issues and lead to further feeding problems.
You are the expert of your baby so these are general guidelines that are not tailored to your baby. Always be in contact with your pediatrician to figure out what your baby needs.
When babies are first introduced to solid food, their stomachs are not ready at first. This can cause stomach cramps as well as gas which can lead to discomfort. In fact digestive issues can be a reason behind false starts.
Myth Number 3: Getting your baby to fall asleep in your arms helps them sleep
This myth is a bit more complex as it is true that your baby will be able to fall asleep in your arms better. The issue is that this is not an effective long term solution as when you put your baby into their crib they will wake up! This will create a vicious cycle!
If you are caught in this vicious cycle already check out our blog post on the 4 tips to help get your baby to sleep without being held. These tips can help you break out of this cycle and establish good sleep habits.
Tips That Can Help Your Overtired Baby Sleep
We want to preface these tips by saying that you know your baby best and should always listen to yourself before deciding to implement any of these tips. We will always say that you are the expert of your baby.
That being said, we will provide you with some tips that could help you soothe an overtired baby to sleep.
Tip 1: Swaddling and/or rocking your baby in your arms lightly
Swaddling is an extremely useful strategy to help babies sleep better, safer and for longer. This method helps babies get to sleep as it simulates the feeling of being held! The reason it can be paired with rocking your baby lightly is because rocking can help ease your baby to sleep. It does this by synchronizing activity between various parts of your baby’s brain which will promote sleep onset and increase sleep duration.
Tip 2: Reducing light exposure
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Tip 3: Singing a lullaby and/or noises on a white noise machine
Lullabies and/or white noise machines can help your baby associate those sounds with calming activities. This can help with sleep promotion.
Tip 4: A massage and/or a warm bath
Massages and/or a warm bath can help release any trapped gas in your baby. Trapped gas can cause bloating leading to discomfort which could be a reason why your baby has difficulty sleeping.
Tip 5: Feeding your baby to the point where they are drowsy
It’s best to put your baby to bed when they are drowsy. If your baby falls asleep in one location and wakes up in another this can cause confusion and potentially frighten them. They may vocalize these emotions through crying.
Another tip when it comes to feeding your baby is to put them on their left side during and after feeding as this can prevent digestion issues. The reason behind this is because your baby’s stomach is located on their left side and when you put them in this position it allows their stomach to expand more!
Tip 6: Use a pacifier
Pacifiers can be helpful as sucking is a natural reflex for your baby. Another reason why pacifiers are beneficial is because they have been linked to lowering the risk of sleep-related death such as sudden infant death syndrome in babies.
If you are interested in natural/homoeopathic baby safe sleep remedies. Check out our blog post on this topic!
Now We Want To Hear From You!
Which tip have you tried? Are there any tips that we missed?
Did you believe in any of these myths beforehand? Which myth bust surprised you the most?
Leave a comment down below!