How to Tell if a Baby Is Hyperactive

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A baby will exhibit a few specific signs if he or she is hyperactive. Learn how to tell if a baby is hyperactive with help from a postpartum doula and infant specialist in this free video clip.

Part of the Video Series: Newborn Baby Help
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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Kathleen Sullivan. I am a postpartum doula, and I am an infant specialist. And today, the question is, how to tell if your baby is hyperactive, which I think is a really interesting question. And, I think that a lot of people may think that their baby might be hyperactive, but in actuality, they're really overstimulated. Newborns and babies get very stimulated to the point where they actually act out, or they shut down. There's several different signs that I'm going to go over. I'm also going to go over how to counterbalance that so that your baby doesn't become overstimulated. So, with a newborn, a baby who's a newborn should be sleeping every 90 minutes. If they go past that period, what's going to happen is they're going to take in too much around - the surroundings, the sounds, all the things that, once they open their eyes, they're looking at. You have to remember that everything for them is not the way that we perceive it. It's visceral for them, and everything is by sight, and sounds, and smells. And so, we need to keep those things really at a low point, especially for the first three months. Even avoid toys or rattles in their face, even mobiles. You really want to - the human face is the most stimulating for a baby, and that's really all they need to look at. They really don't have to be stimulated by other things. So, by keeping things low-profile for a newborn, you're not going to have a baby that's overstimulated, which some people, I think, might be confused with calling hyperactive. So, keeping a routine, which is really important, and making sure that the baby gets enough sleep during the day, because, as we know, sleep begets sleep for babies. It's not that if I keep my baby up all day, he'll sleep all night, it's actually the opposite. The more a baby sleeps during the day, the better sleepers they are at night. So, that's really going to help with a baby that's overstimulated. So, I'm going to demonstrate a few things that you can do if you notice that your baby's overstimulated. One of the main things we want to do is take them into a quiet room, and if you can, pull down the shades, and turn on that white noise that you might have in your home that we talked about for babies. And, swaddle. Swaddling, once again, for a baby, it emulates the womb, brings them back, makes them feel secure. Those are really important things to do for a baby - swaddling, bringing them into a quiet room, offering a pacifier if you choose. If your baby likes pacifiers, that's something that you would offer. The white noise, holding them close to your body, and if you can, as much as possible, keep out any external stimuli as much as you can. So, lower the lights. These babies really need a lot of downtime, and if you have a baby that's overstimulated, sometimes it's almost, it could take for, you know, hours sometimes to really bring them down. So, if you do this, or wear your baby in a wrap, those are things that are going to bring the baby down, quiet, and asleep. So, I hope that helps you. I'm Kathleen Sullivan, postpartum doula and infant specialist. And today, we talked about how to tell if your baby is hyperactive or overstimulated.


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