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When should my newborn sleep?

How do I know if my newborn is tired?

Getting your newborn baby to sleep seems to be the endless, challenging goal of the first few weeks of parenthood, which can be made all the more difficult if your baby is over-tired.

Missing the early signs of a tired baby can result in a newborn going from tired and ready to sleep to over-tired and over stimulated in an incredibly short amount of time. It is therefore essential to learn the cues that baby is giving you that they are ready for a sleep.

In the first 6 weeks a newborn will generally be ready for a sleep about an hour after waking so start looking for signs of tiredness about 50 minute after they have woken from their last nap. In this time you will most likely only manage to feed them and change their nappy with very little time for play.

What are the signs that my newborn is tired?

Below are the most common signs that your baby is tired and ready for a sleep.

Early tired signs:

  • Grizzling
  • Making fists
  • Staring into space
  • Frowning or looking worried/knotting eyebrows
  • Looking away from you
  • Looking bored
  • Making jerky arm and leg movements, or arching backwards

If you miss these early cues your baby will then start to show signs of being over-tired

Over-tired signs:

  • Crying/Fussing
  • Yawning
  • Rubbing eyes, nose or ears

It will take a while to learn your baby’s cues but by spending time with them and being aware of what to look for you will soon learn when the right time is to put them down for a sleep. And the quicker you respond to the early signs of tiredness the, the quicker your baby will settle.

 Photo credit: Katie Garber