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Signs of an overstimulated baby

And tried-and-true techniques to help soothe your child

Article Author: Juice Staff

Article Date:

An overstimulated baby

Whether you're a seasoned parent or new to the game, it's important to know the signs of overstimulation in your child. Babies go from the cozy, quiet womb out into the big, loud world, and it can be a lot for your little one to take in.

How to tell if baby is overstimulated

Vicki Hartley, OTR, a registered occupational therapist and clinical rehabilitation supervisor at Wolfson Children's Hospital, shared some ways to recognize signs of overstimulation in your little one.

If your newborn is overstimulated, you may see him or her:

  • Appear limp with glassy eyes
  • Change colors and become red or splotchy
  • Cover his or her eyes or face
  • Cry excessively
  • Grimace
  • Turn his or her head away
  • Wave or kick arms and legs in an agitated way
  • Yawn or hiccup excessively

If your toddler is overstimulated, you may see him or her:

  • Become angry or irritable with touching or holding
  • Become unreasonably cranky and irritable
  • Cry and become unable to use words to describe feelings
  • Refuse to be consoled
  • Throw a temper tantrum

Tips to soothe your overstimulated child

The best thing you can do to avoid overstimulating your infant is to stick to a predictable routine. While you might be ready to hit the town, head to lunch with friends, or do some shopping at Target, all of that activity could be too much for your little one.

When you see these signs of stress from your newborn, don't fret. There are several tried-and-true techniques to soothe your baby. Start by addressing any needs, like feeding or changing their diaper.

  1. Always check to see if your baby needs a clean diaper, a burp, or just a new position.
  2. Reduce visual, auditory and social stimulation. Dim the lights and move to a quieter place.
  3. Provide white noise such as the sound of a running dishwasher, a fan or soft music.
  4. Offer their hand or pacifier to their mouth to suck.
  5. Swaddle your baby in a blanket firmly, but not too tightly, if he or she isn't yet rolling over.
  6. Properly secure your baby in the car seat and take him or her for a drive.

When you see signs of overstimulation from your toddler, try to remove them from the situation, provide noise-reducing headphones or find a relaxing activity to focus on. It could just be time for a nap!

Calming a baby or toddler can be trying, even for the most patient of parents, and the process requires a lot of trial and error. Experiment with some of these tips and see what works for you and your little one.

Need help finding a pediatrician?

Together, Baptist Health and Wolfson Children's Hospital provide all types of care for kids. Regular well-child checkups are the key to good health throughout your child's early years. If you're looking for a pediatrician, you can request an appointment online.

Find a pediatrician

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