An overtired baby often mimics a colicky one! While colic is real and I can’t imagine the struggles you mamas are facing, there are things to try before just accepting that babe will scream uncontrollably for the next “n” number of weeks.
I personally went through this with my kiddo. I was told over and over that he had colic and it would pass with time. I was desperate to try anything. But honestly …I was very skeptical that sleep could even begin to solve this problem. As I’m sure you can guess, I was wrong. I started following a strict schedule with appropriate wake windows and watched him transform into the happy, well rested baby we missed so dearly.
So here are a few things to consider.
Evaluate your child’s daily routine to determine if they are following appropriate wake windows based on their age. While these wake windows may seem very bizarre, trust me and give it a shot. I think you will be surprised at the results. The biggest argument sleep consultants get against wake windows is that their baby just doesn’t seem tired by the end of that window. The trouble is that we wait for those big dramatic sleepy cues like yawning, rubbing eyes and fussiness to recognize that they are tired. Instead, you need to be looking for more subtle signs of fatigue that show up long before. This will help you get baby down for a nap BEFORE they become overtired. Babies can’t regulate sleep on their own so they need a bit of guidance from us to guide them along the way.
Sleepy Cues to look for:
- Redness around eyes or eyebrows
- Turning/looking away from stimulation
- 1,000 mile stare off into space
Hunger versus Fatigue
Sleepy cues can often look a lot like hunger cues. But instinctively, our first stop is to always feed a fussy baby. That can lead to #1 overfeeding and #2 overtiredness! The best way to avoid this is to follow a Eat, Play, Sleep routine throughout your day. Feeds should fall about 2.5-3.5hours apart. So, if baby is starting to act hungry only 1.5hrs after their last feed, pause and ask yourself how long ago was their last nap? Could they be tired instead of hungry? Obviously, we always feed a hungry baby. However, we do need to take caution that feeding doesn’t become our crutch to soothe a fussy baby when the root issue could be something completely different.
This may not solve all your problems and your baby certainly could be suffering from colic. If that is the case, you can at least be confident that they are as well rested as possible.