I always hear and read about making sure a baby is not overtired but I'm having difficulty picking up on these overtired cues. I'm having a hard time getting my two month old to sleep at night and every second night find myself driving around the block as that's the only way I am certain my cherub will fall asleep. Can you help me?
It is essential that you pick up on your baby’s first tired signs, rather than waiting till he is overtired. Once he is overtired it is at that point that you are desperate to do anything to stop the crying and the hours of trying to get him to sleep. Solutions include driving around the block, rocking till your arms break, patting continuously, putting them in your bed or having them sleep on you just to name a few.
At two months it is likely that he will only be awake for about 50 – 60 mins before he starts to wear out. I would guess that at this point you have him up too long. Some babies are more subtle with the signs of tiredness than others and will cope quite well, move into overtiredness and then just start crying.
So at this point I would just go by the clock, so once he wakes up hungry for a feed, calculate the 50 – 60 mins from there. At the end of that time you would want to be back in his room having a cuddle, wrapped or in a sleeping bag and putting him down sleepy but awake.
Expect it to take him 10 – 15 mins to fall asleep, and you do not need to be there watching him. There is an exception to this and it is at the end of the day after his final day feed, around 6pm. If he is still unsettled after an hour I would do a rescue feed and resettle him again.
Educate yourself as to what the tired cues are, the signs your baby is giving you no matter how subtle and watch for them and see which ones he does first. Another way to notice is too look for the change of mood from being up, happy and interacting with you in a good mood, to becoming ‘scratchy’ once you see this change in mood don’t wait until he is crying to act, act straight away and go through your bedtime routine.
He will give you about a 3-5 minute warning that he is becoming tired, then you need to get him ready for bed. Once he is crying unfortunately you have missed so watch him closely for these signs. You can learn all about these signs, and a general outline of what a day should look like for a baby of 0 - 6 months, it does change with age, in my book BabyCare 0-6 Months.