How to identify my baby’s sleep cues?

Baby sleep cues are signs your baby gives that they’re ready for sleep.

Recognizing them so that you put him to bed before the cortisol rush is crucial. 

Here’s what you should look for: 

  • Eye rubbing, eyelids drooping
  • Yawning
  • Decreased activity-slower motion, less vocal, baby stops moving around and stares off
  • Loss of interest in people and toys
  • Pulling hair
  • Thumb or finger sucking
  • Bating at ears
  • Whining and fussing

These are the most common sleep cues. Don’t forget there is a long list of other many potential sleep cues. What is a sleep cue for one baby is insignificant for the next. To make things even more complicated, your baby’s sleep cues can change over time, so the definite sleep cues from a month ago can lead you astray today. You may even find your baby has no discernible cues. This is especially true for alert children who are expert in hiding them! 

Interestingly enough, fussiness actually means “too late” for most children. Many parents wait for their child to be very fussy before putting them down. Extreme fussiness is typically a sign that baby is way over tired and you actually missed their sleep window. 

Try to go into a quiet, dimly lit room and engaging in a very gentle activity when you think nap time or bedtime is approaching. The signs may then appear. 


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