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How to get an overtired baby to sleep

Tips and methods to get your overtired baby back to sleep - 1) Lots of close contact and cuddles. 2) A regular bathtime routine 3) Swaddle

Michelle Baynham

07 Jun 2021

Tips & methods to help settle your overtired baby

It’s vitally important to connect with your little one as much as possible to help them with their sleep. Go overtime with bonding, lots of cuddles and holding with skin on skin contact. Get Dad to take his top off and have your baby lay on his chest to really build a strong connection between you all as a family. 

Do baths help babies sleep better?

Most definitely! As your baby grows and gets bigger, skin on skin contact during baths can be a beautiful bonding experience for you both to develop a powerful connection. Work this into a regular bedtime routine and your baby will begin to relate bathtime with sleep time. Baths are also a great place for your child to develop their learning. It’s common that as babies get bigger they will begin to splash and play with bath bubbles and their toys in the water, this gives them the chance to develop their baby babbling and chatting talents.

Baby feeding schedule

Whether breast or bottle-feeding, establish a feeding routine to help your baby understand its queues as to when bedtime may be. A simple trick of extra milk before bed resulting in a bigger meal will also aid in your child sleeping longer.

Baby circadian rhythm

Your baby needs to understand it’s natural body clock (circadian rhythm) and to learn the difference between day and nighttime. Lot’s of long walks with exposure to both daylight and artificial light are great ways for your baby to help develop their circadian rhythm. Then at night time make sure that the brightness from lights within your home is on a low/dim setting.

Baby communication

Smiling at your little one with lots of eye contact and mimicking what they are doing is another method when setting up your babies circadian rhythm. By doing this towards bedtime you can help your baby learn when it’s daytime, and when it’s nighttime.

Does white noise help babies sleep?

I would strongly recommend the use of white noise to help your overtired baby sleep. White noise can replicate the surrounding noise of a womb and can aid greatly in helping your baby settle for bedtime.

Signs of overtired baby

At 3-6 months your baby should have developed its circadian rhythm and their melatonin sleep hormone to help them sleep much more. Set a mental note of your babies naps and the duration of these and how long they are awake for. Take note of their tired queues, are they rubbing their eyes? not giving you eye contact? These are clear signs that your baby is ready for a nap and can help you establish a consistent time for them to sleep.

Baby evening routine

A bedtime routine of making sure your child gets into their PJs straight after a bath subconsciously tells them “must be bedtime soon” and take note of the time your babies last nap time finished. At this age, you’re looking at a sleep duration of around 2-2.5 hours, so a nice early bedtime can really help with an overtired baby.

Baby wakes up in the middle of the night

It can be normal for babies to wake up in the night to have a little whinge or chat to themselves. It’s perhaps best to leave them and let themself fall back to sleep, we need to give our little ones the opportunity for this before instantly rushing to them for a feed or cuddle.

Practical tips to help baby sleep

Using a sling can help your baby settle down, especially if they develop any reflux or colic by keeping them upright and close to you. Swaddling and setting up a pre-bedtime routine are also reliable ways to settle an overtired baby. Perhaps 5 minutes before bed of changing their nappy and singing the same songs (even if it drives you crazy) and keeping everything consistent and really making sure your babies sleeping environment is nice and clean without any light breaking into the room.

I hope you found these tips and methods helpful in getting your overtired baby back to sleep. Feel free to take a look at the expert advice section of the website where we have leading industry specialists who give their advice on first aid, children’s emotional wellbeing and more on sleep.

Love Michelle x