The ABC's of Infant Sleep-Awake Times!

Infant sleep! Raise your hand if the mention of your baby's naps or bedtime put a pit in your stomach? Give me that virtual head nod if you dread the night because you haven't had a full night of sleep in...we aren't even going to say how many days.

Just know...that I know. I've been there.

Almost 6 years ago my husband and I had our third baby. Our first daughter, our first baby who made it a solid 10 months before sleeping through night. I thought this was "just the way it was". I thought that because I was still breastfeeding her that I had to feed on demand, all the time. We shared a bed and girlfriend stayed attached to me, my nipple, all night long.

Now for a lot of women, they are okay with this kind of sleep. I, my friends, was not. So fast forward to when we had our fourth {our baby bird}, I had one baby item on my list...sleep. Can you buy that though? Yep. Turns out you can and I did.

Learning all about infant sleep was the slingshot into my journey of working with clients and their baby's on how to get wonderfully, restful sleep. And THIS is why I am so excited to do this blog series, The ABC's of Infant Sleep!

I'm so glad awake times is the first topic because this is one of the most important topics when it comes to maximizing your baby's sleep at night.

This is part of the foundation of healthy sleep.

So what are awake times? Your baby's awake time is how long they go in between naps. Say your 6 week old wakes up 7:30am and goes back down for a nap at 8:30am, his awake time was 1 hour.

We have often been told that if we keep our baby awake all day they will sleep all night.

This is so far from the truth and is advice that WILL backfire on you.

I don't want this for you!

In this scenario you will end up with an overtired, overstimulated baby. Overtiredness in babies has been described similarly to how we feel when we are restless, but at a more intense level.

An overtired baby is harder to soothe and you will usually end up with a lot of crying and flustered parents.

When you really nail down your baby's awake times, it give you the best shot for solid naps and a more consolidated night of sleep.

So how can you implement this?

You want to find what your baby's wake window is. Using the graphic I have shared with you will give you the range to look at and by working with your baby some, you will find their sweet spot.

So save this image and starting at your baby's next wake up, watch what they start to do, what they start to tell you right around the time the wake window will be coming to a close.

***TIP!*** If your baby hasn't been awake long enough to be truly tired, but is showing you some sleepy cues, you may want to gently stretch their awake time just a bit passed those first signs of being tired. This can help you avoid naps turning into battles, being too short and frequent night wakings.

Ideas to stretch awake time:

  • dance to some music for a few minutes

  • do tummy time

  • talk with your baby

  • go on a wagon ride

  • take a short walk outside around your yard

If you are caught up in the cycle of dreading naps or bedtime, take this first step and remember that helping your baby {and your family!} get a restful night of sleep is all about progress and none at all about perfection.

Do you have a question about sleep? We can help you. Send it on over to and let's make some progress together!

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