activated? Well, the body assumes there’s a reason that it hasn’t been allowed to get to sleep, assumes there’s a need to stay awake, and fires up those daytime hormones again. And that’s when the troublestarts. Because once those signals to stay awake get fired up, they’re tough to shut down, and baby’s already tired. So, less sleep leads to more daytime hormones, and the cycle perpetuates itself. So, the best way to prevent this situation is to get baby to sleep before they get past that window of opportunity. But babies, especially newborns, are a little bit cryptic when it comes to signalling when they’re ready for bed. However, if you know what to look for, it can work wonders in assessing the right time to put baby down. Some good signs to watch for include tugging at their ears, or rubbing their eyes and nose, arching their back, and turning their face into your chest. Now, those are all strong signs that your baby’s ready for bed, but they’re also easily mistaken for signs that your baby’s hungry, so it’s best to combine your keen eye for signals with a keen eye on the clock. Newborns can usually only handle about an hour of awake time in a stretch, so make a note of the time when they wake up and set a reminder or make a mental note that they need to be headed down for a nap around 60 short minutes after that. They’ll be able to stay awake for longer stretches as they get older. Toddlers have their own quirky little habit when they get overtired. The sudden influx of those daytime hormones can actually make them quite manic, so they might seem to be super
happy and giggly for a while; just the opposite of what you would expect from a child who needs to get to bed. But you’ll see before long that their mood will take a big shift into grumpiness, and then you’ve probably got a bedtime battle on your hands. I know that this schedule can sound a little rigid for some parents who aren’t used to it. After all, an hour at a time is barely enough time to get a nappy changed, a feed in, and a little bit of playtime before baby’s got to get back into their cot and down for another nap. But I can assure you, no client I’ve ever worked with has ever come back to me after implementing it and said, “I have a feeling that baby’s getting too much sleep.” So, give it a try for a couple of weeks and see how it works. I can almost guarantee you’ll be seeing a happier baby!