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7 Signs Your Baby Is Exhausted, Not Just Fussy

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Life would be so different for parents if babies understood the beauty of sleep. In the first few months of their lives, babies can spend as many as 18 hours a day asleep. And yet it can feel like they’re awake so much longer than that because of their tendency to do everything in their power to fight sleep. But being able to read the signs your baby is exhausted and not just fussy can help you win more bedtime battles.

When my daughter was a newborn, I remember staring at her as she slept the day away and hoping she would wake up so we could play. Now that she’s nearly a toddler, sleep seems to be her archenemy. I spend a decent amount of time every day watching to see if she’s getting tired, and pouncing on her and putting her down for a nap when it seems the time is right.

It would be amazing if babies could clearly communicate what they need when it comes to sleep. But since they can’t, it’s up to moms and dads to decipher their cues. Luckily, babies seem to have some pretty universal signals that help their parents figure out they’re feeling tired. Here are seven things to look out for when you think your baby might be on his or way to Dreamland.

1They Yawn

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Babies are just like adults when it comes to their most obvious sign of sleepiness. When you see your baby let out a big yawn, chances are it's time for a nap.

2They Rub Their Eyes Or Ears

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Whenever I see my daughter rubbing her eyes or ears, I know I need to tread carefully or risk triggering an exhaustion induced meltdown. I'm probably not alone, because Parenting listed eye and ear rubbing as one major sign of sleepiness.

3They Avoid Eye Contact

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When your baby is so tired they literally can't deal, they'll avoid eye contact and look away from you, according to Baby Sleep Site. I do the same thing when I'm just totally over something, like being awake.

4Their Eyes Are Glazed Or Droopy

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The eyes have it when it comes to baby sleep signals. You may notice glazed eyes and drooping eyelids when your baby is getting tired, according to WIC Works.

5Their Cries Become Long And Whimpering

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Your baby's sleep cry may sound distinctly different from other kinds of crying, according to What to Expect. Listen for a long, whimpering cry when nap time is near.

6They're Not Interested In Playing

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You'll have a tough time trying to engage your baby when he or she is getting tired. Parents noted that babies will no longer be interested in people or playing when they're ready to sleep.

7They Get Quiet

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A baby who's suddenly gone silent is a sign of sleepiness, according to Parenting. I can totally relate, because I don't want to talk to anyone when I'm sleepy either.