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  • Jenni - Mellow Baby

The Body Language Series No 4 - Yawning and Sleeping

Updated: Jul 7, 2019

Two hours old and I’m bored already!

Just after birth, a baby will often take several huge yawns. It is natural to suppose that he is tired after such an exhausting commute on the birth canal, but the real reason is that these yarns are reflex action and allow the brand-new, never before use lungs, to take in large amounts of much needed oxygen. According to old superstitions of ancient Rome, yarning was seen as a foreteller of doom. At birth it was thought that a piece of their soul could escape if they kept their mouth open, so theirs mothers were encouraged to cover the yarn with their hands in order to halt this deterioration of the soul. This is where the custom of covering your mouth when you yawn with one hand originates. Cool eh?


Later on, a yawn can definitely be a sign of tiredness. For a parent, it is important to be able to read the moods of your child despite the fact that he may not be able to express them verbally. By watching and remembering the tell-tale clues you should be able to predict his actions and therefore settle him more easily into a routine. Learning to tell when he is tired is extremely important. Drooping eyelids, blinking slowly and stiff erratic movements are classic signals of fatigue in babies. When children get slightly older they may become irritable are overexcited they usually rub their eyes a lot and often exhibit clinginess.


It is almost impossible to communicate well with a tired child. Babies are much more receptive to you while alert. Choose the time of day when your child will be bright and active and talk to him quietly and rhythmically is in lots of facial expressions and sounds. He will watch and learn from everything you do and will soon try to respond.

One of the most indicative signs that your baby is tired is when she starts rubbing her eyes. Most babies scrunch up her eyes and rub their curled fists over their eyelids when sleepy, it is universal signal but it’s time for a nap. why eye rubbing in particular? As babies grow the muscles in their eyes become sore and just like when an adult uses a particular muscle too much it will become tender. Rubbing relieves this discomfort it also encourages the tear ducts to begin producing moisture as tired eyes are often hot and dry.


Whether first born, or six months old, most children will go through a difficult phase of resisting sleep. This is a gruelling time for sleep deprived parents as the little bundle of joy forces herself to stay awake despite the late hour. Babies resist going to sleep for two main reasons; the first is now they’re in this exciting sensory rich world and they do not want to leave it for something as dull as sleep, and the second is that they do not want to be parted from their parents.

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