Overstimulating a newborn is very easy to do and it’s important to learn the cues to avoid crossing this delicate line. When your baby is overtired or overstimulated, a pacifier can’t always do the trick! A Doula or Newborn Care Specialist can teach you about the secrets of the fourth trimester and how to nurture your newborn back into feeling a familiar safe, secure environment which mimics your womb.
Signs of Sleepy Baby
They are calming down, they’re sucking slower, they’re yawning, eyes do not look around, eyelids start to droop.
Signs of an Overstimulated Baby
They’re cranky, irritable, they’re crying uncontrollably, they look away from you, they’re staring at a wall (gaze aversion), crying, arching of back and neck, tremors, coughing, flailing arms or legs, sneezing, rubbing eyes, twitching, grasping, sighing, breathing rate may be faster or slower or may have pauses that last 2 seconds or more, skin may be pale, dusky, red or/and blotchy, arms and/or legs may be extended or stretched out, fingers and/or toes splayed, hands in fists, high arm position where arms are over the head and forearms lay across the face in self-protecting or shielding manner, rigid flaccid body, squirming, jerking, mouth open limply, or tongue extending beyond lips.
Calming Your Baby
Too many visitors, whether it be relative or friends, too early just after giving birth can also overstimulate your baby. It is important to have your baby on a sleep training schedule to avoid overstimulating. Ensure there is Daddy time and sibling time, but also be instinctive of your baby’s needs. A Doula or Newborn Care Specialist can help you by telling guests when it’s an appropriate time to visit or distract siblings when Mommy needs to breastfeed or bathe the baby, as well as educate parents on soothing techniques which the baby instinctually already knows and effectively responds to.