Each baby can have their own sleepy cues, and no one knows your baby better than you. These are just some examples of the most common sleepy cues. Yawning is the most common and one of the more obvious sleepy cues. I just like to mention it to remind everyone that is a cue of a tired baby. You want to look out for yawning as an early sign of a sleepy baby. Other babies rub their eyes not just with their hands but with blankets, your shoulder, or anything really. We find most infants 6 months and under will rub their eyes on your shoulders when they are tired. Sometimes it can be confused with hunger if the little one is breastfed. Older infants and toddlers will poke their or play with their eyelashes or rub their eyes with their own hands. Some babies cry when they are tired. Have you ever experienced a crying baby and you did everything possible and they were still crying? Well, they may have been tired or over tired. A lot of people overlook crying as a sleepy cue and assume the baby is just hungry or wet. The baby could be hungry or wet so I’m not saying every time a baby cries they are tired, I just want you to look out for it.
The bedtime routine should be very consistent and last about 5 - 10 minutes with infants and 20 - 30 minutes with toddlers. Little ones like consistency and are more likely to accept sleep when they know it is coming. The routine doesn't have to be anything too complex. Always include a key phrase of your choice, I like “shh it’s night night time.” You can start with the diaper change, say key phrase, read a book or two, repeat key phrase, say goodnight to the animals in the room, key phrase, turn the light off, key phrase, place baby in crib, and repeat the key phrase as you leave the room. You should pick a routine that fits you and stick to it. Consistency is key!
Sleep Wake Chart
Below is a chart to help you see how much sleep your baby should be getting at 1 month, 3 months, 5 months, 7 months, 9 months, 11 months, and 12-18 months. Wake time is the amount of time little ones can stay awake in between sleep. As they get older they are able to stay awake longer allowing them to take fewer naps.