How to Soothe an Overtired Baby

By Lara Lawrence
Overtired babies can get fussy and irritable.

Babies naturally exhibit signs of sleepiness when they get tired, such as yawning and droopy eyes. If a baby does not fall asleep soon after tiring, he can easily become agitated and overtired. Signs of overtiredness are fussiness, irritability, rubbing of the eyes and general crankiness. Parents can avoid overtiredness in their baby by responding to signs of sleepiness and putting him to bed. Unavoidably, situations will arise that cannot be helped and a baby will get fussy and irritable. Parents can take steps to help soothe their baby and lull him to sleep.

Remove your baby from external stimuli that might keep her awake. Take her to a different room, if necessary. Keep her away from loud noises and lots of motion.

Remove restrictive clothing, such as bulky sweatshirts, jackets or pants that bind around the waist. Take off your baby's shoes and gently massage his feet. Make your baby is as comfortable as possible.

Dim the lights or plug in a nightlight. Pull the shades or close the blinds if your baby is napping during the day, to darken the room.

Give your baby a favorite object that she likes to cuddle with, such as a stuffed animal, toy or blanket. Be sure to remove the object after she has fallen asleep to avoid possible suffocation or injury.

Turn on soft music if your baby is used to and enjoys it. Create white noise by turning a fan on low speed.

Use a calm, soothing voice and sing or talk to him while he is trying to fall asleep. Whisper reassuring words to provide comfort.

Gently rock your baby in a rocking chair to help her relax. Place her in the crib while she is still awake to avoid dependency on being rocked to sleep. Your baby should be able to fall asleep on her own.

Tip

Whatever methods you choose to soothe your overtired baby, be consistent. Babies learn to recognize the pattern you establish. A change in routine will more likely keep them alert and restless. Routine is comforting to babies and will help them fall asleep more easily.

Warning

Try to avoid feeding your baby a bottle just because he is fussy. Consistently eating when he is upset can lead to overeating as a source of comfort. Use car rides as a last resort to avoid getting your baby into this habit. Resist the urge to keep everything completely quiet before and during sleep, because he will more likely awaken with noise.

About the Author

Lara Lawrence has been writing professionally since 2008, with articles appearing in “The Pioneer East." Lawrence is a professional pianist and has been teaching piano for more than 20 years. She is a member of the National Federation of Music Clubs and holds a Bachelor of Science in business administration from Central Michigan University.