What Are my Baby Sleepy Cues?

Your baby sleepy cues are behaviors we can observe that tell us how tired they are. I like to think of them in 3 categories!

I’m Tired

  • Staring off
  • Averts eyes
  • Pinkish eyebrows
  • Turning head away

I’m Ready for Sleep

  • Getting fussy
  • Eye fubbing
  • Wants to be held
  • Losts of effort to keep happy
  • Several yawns
  • Pulling ears

I’m Overtired

  • Arching
  • Rigid body
  • Hands in fists
  • Hysterical crying

Why do my Baby Sleepy Cues Matter?

Our baby sleepy cues matter because this gives us a gauge of when is the right time to put them down for their next sleep. We don’t want our babies to be undertired where they haven’t built up enough sleep pressure to fall asleep easily. On the other end, we don’t want them to be overtired either as this can cause more crying at sleep time, short naps, and increased night wakings.

How to use my Baby Sleepy Cues

We want to find the right amount of awake time for your particular baby! These are approximate times by age, but again these are starting points. You will want to watch for your baby’s cues and put them down when you see enough signs that they are ready for sleep. We should shoot for falling asleep within 5-15 minutes. That tells us our timing is pretty good. 

Need Help Finding Your Baby’s Sweet Spot?

There is so much going on in any given day that sometimes we have a hard time identifying when the right time to put our baby down to sleep is. My best suggestion is to keep a sleep log for 3 days. Pick a 3 day timeframe where you plan to be home and in your ordinary routine. You can easily print our Awake Time Tracker! You will begin to see patterns that emerge of what awake windows worked well and which ones did not. 

Short Awake Window, Short Nap Cycle 

Sometimes babies can get into a cycle where they take short naps so they can only stay awake for a short period of time and on and on. If your baby is under 5 months of age, short naps are developmentally normal and can be expected to be between 20-90 min! After 5 months of age though, naps can consolidate and lengthen beyond that. If your babe is stuck in this cycle, try to lengthen their awake window by 15 minutes. Use the awake time chart above as a guide, but again track your baby’s schedule to find their particular sweet spot.

If you are struggling with your baby sleepy cues or just can’t seem to find your baby’s sweet spot, then we at the Mama Coach would love to work with you! 
Save your time and sanity by working with qualified help! We work with you to develop and support you and your baby through personalized sleep plans!

Find a Mama Coach near you, here.

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