10 Sleepy Cues

Interpreting your baby’s sleepy cues can take some time to figure out. In those early weeks it can be especially complicated as you get to know your newborn and are learning to navigate all of their needs. They won’t always show us with a big clear yawn; and because of this, sleepy cues are often missed. It isn’t until babies begin fussing or crying before parents realize they are ready for sleep, and at this point they are likely, overtired. Unfortunately overtired babies and adults have a hard time falling asleep and staying asleep.
As you may have guessed, learning to read sleepy cues can be instrumental in developing a “good sleeper.“ And since I wholeheartedly feel that #SleepIsEssential and timing is everything, I wish to share my top 10 sleepy cues to watch for in your newborn.
  1. Yawning
  2. Red eyebrows
  3. Going cross eyed or a “lazy/wandering eye”
  4. Staring off
  5. Avoiding eye contact
  6. Hiccups
  7. Sneezing
  8. Quick breathing
  9. Blueness around the mouth
  10. Fussing/crying
As you spend more time observing your baby and finding a rhythm, you may notice your baby is consistently one who stares off while they hiccup, or has a wandering eye as naptime approaches, but what I found to be most helpful to all new parents is paying attention to the length of awake time between naps.
From birth to three months newborns are happiest with short wake windows of 60 to 90 minutes. This includes the time it takes to eat, change, swaddle, and soothe. Especially in those early weeks it feels as if you’re feeding and putting back down for sleep around the clock. It’s more than a feeling…You are! Newborns require between 4-6 hours of sleep a day and 11-12hr a night.

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