Ask Meg: Balancing Stimulation and Sleep

Stimulation And Sleep

Ask Meg: Balancing stimulation to get my baby to settle & sleep

Dear Meg,

I have a four-month-old baby boy who seems to be very fussy during the day and does not sleep through at night yet.  There are nights where he wakes up on the hour. Why is this?  I am starting to introduce solids, as he seems hungry all the time.  (I’ve been breastfeeding exclusively and intend continuing).  Sometimes he gets so irritated and fussy that I can only get him to fall asleep in my arms to music with a beat.  Other times he allows me to put him in his cot and he falls asleep by himself.  Am I over stimulating him?  How do I stimulate him without overdoing it?  I would like my child to develop sufficiently.  Also, when should he take daytime naps?

Meg’s reply:

Every baby is different and each baby can deal with differing amounts of stimulation. From your letter it sounds as if your baby is battling to cope with stimulation. He is obviously fussing a fair amount in that you say he is hungry all the time. Furthermore you mention that he also gets irritable and fussy.

At four months old, your baby can only cope with a small amount of stimulation and his awake times are still quite short. You should try to put your baby to sleep an hour and a half after he wakes from a sleep. This will mean you will have time for a feed, a short playtime and then start to calm your baby in his room before putting him down.

As you are aware, stimulation is important but it is possible that if your little guy is alert he is finding his world quite stimulating anyway. Play games and stimulate him when he is happy, rested and fed and don’t forget to put him down to sleep regularly.

Help to balance stimulation

Download Parent Sense – the all-in-one baby app that suggests a custom routine for your baby based on his age and development stage. The app will alert you with friendly reminders for when it’s time for the next sleep or feed so you don’t miss a nap time or wait until your little one is already fussy before trying to settle him. The app also sends you an age-appropriate daily play tip to stimulate your baby’s development without overwhelming him.

Meg faure

Meg Faure

Hi, I’m Meg Faure. I am an Occupational Therapist and the founder of Parent Sense. My ‘why’ is to support parents like you and help you to make the most of your parenting journey. Over the last 25 years, I’ve worked with thousands of babies, and I’ve come to understand that what works for fussy babies works just as well for all babies, worldwide.