November 14, 2023

Over.... or Under Tired?

Over.... or Under Tired?

As parents you are constantly reminded to follow awake windows, with the biggest pressure being around making sure your baby is not over tired, but would you believe that from experience the biggest culprit is actually a baby that is under tired.

But how can you tell if your baby is under or over tired?  The signs are actually quite similar as you will see by that table below, but there are some very distinct differences that will help you.


With both under and over tired babies you will see that catnapping is quite common however, an under tired baby will typically sleep 30-45 minutes which is approximately a baby sleep cycle. An overtired baby struggles to get into the deeper stage of sleep which occur at the 20 minute mark, these babies typically wake at this time and may be difficult to resettle.


Another very distinct difference between the two is in relation to their overall mood, an under tired baby will generally be happy, chirpy and smiling whereas a baby that is overtired may be grumpy, irritable and overall fussy. You may notice they become a little koala and cling on to you for extra support.


Babies that are well rested will feed well, this is for both their solid and milk intake. They won't have any issues in comparison to a baby that is overtired and may struggle to feed.

You may notice that they are not feeding well both on the breast or their bottle intake is reduced, you may notice they are fussier or completely disinterested in their solids. 

A baby that is tired, is simply too tired to eat and this may translate into more feeds overnight. 


It's really important to remember that awake windows are not research based, these are completely anecdotal based on personal experience.  

Based on the routines we use, the awake windows do not increase as the day progresses until your baby is established on 2 naps which tends to happen between 6-8 months of age.

Until then, these are the awake window guides that we use:

If your baby's awake windows seem to be in line with our recommendations with sleep is still messy, we can help!

  • For small tweaks to routine, have a look at our Quick Chat - 15min option
  • For parents struggling with several things such as catnapping, frequent night waking, early morning rising or things that simply no longer work, have a look at our Phone + One Week Support option.
  • Not sure what is right for you? Get on the phone to one of our experienced consultants with our FREE 15min Discovery Call