Waketime Length - How long should baby stay awake?


**See average waketime lengths at end of post** 


What is Waketime?
Waketime length is how long your child can stay awake between sleep periods before he's ready for another nap or bedtime. It includes any time baby is awake, including feeding time and wind-down time before naps/bed.

How does Waketime Length Change?
Waketime is continually changing so you need to be on the look out for your baby's Sleep Cues and monitor how well your child's naps and night time sleep are going since
an inappropriate waketime can cause problems in these areas. Here's how the waketime generally goes:
  • In very young babies waketime is often the same length throughout the day with the exception of a fussy, long waketime in the evening for some babies
  • In older babies, waketime generally increases throughout the day, with the exception of the waketime before bed which may anywhere between the longest and shortest waketime of the day. If the opposite is happening, it may be a sign that your child is not getting enough rest if the opposite is happening.
  • The first nap in the morning is one of the main times a baby usually stays awake for less time compared to other times of the day (usually 15-60 minutes less). This is the case even with some very young babies.
  • It's possible for waketime to decrease overall which may occur when baby has had a shorter than normal nap, is sick, is going through a growth spurt, is starting to take in more of his environment (newborn age) or is especially active one day
  • It is not uncommon for babies to have a sudden increase in waketime between 4-6 months.
  • As babies get older you will probably begin to have naps at a set time each day instead of after X amount of waketime. You may still need to put baby down early for a nap, though, if he didn't sleep good for an earlier one, has had a particularly active day or seems extra tired for whatever reason. In fact, I still put my 3 year old Joshua down a bit early (15-30 minutes) for his afternoon nap if he wakes early in the morning.

Getting Perfect Timing
Your goal with waketime is to get perfect timing so that baby goes to sleep quickly, easily and without crying. This doesn't sound very complicated, but it's pretty tricky to do. Keeping on a good schedule/routine and keeping a sleep log will make getting the right waketime easier. Some signs of perfect timing are:
  • your baby goes to sleep easily for a nap with minimal or no crying and playing, 
  • your child takes a long nap (see nap lengths) and then wakes up happy (is happy after being fed for a young baby)
  • your child seems to be happy and alert during his awake time
If your child doesn't go to sleep perfectly, don't fret. Your waketime may still be right, some babies just need a little more help learning to sleep than others. 

Problem Solving Waketime Length
If baby is playing before a nap he may be over or undertired. Some people find that if their baby plays for over 30 minutes then he is undertired but if he plays for less time than this or plays for a while and then starts crying then he is overtired. This may or may not be true for your baby. Keeping a sleep log and some trial and error will help you figure out what your baby does.

Pushing baby to stay awake longer than he is able can cause many sleep problems such as baby not being able to fall asleep for naps, baby waking early from naps and baby waking up distressed and crying during sleep periods. At the same time, continuing a short waketime when baby can handle a longer one can also lead to sleep problems since baby won't be tired enough to fall asleep when put down and may not sleep for as long as desired.

Situations can also occur when baby doesn't seem to be able to handle a longer waketime (e.g. he gets cranky when kept up longer than a certain amount of time) but his sleep suffers because of such a short waketime. In this situation baby needs to be helped to slowly stay awake for longer periods of time (probably no more than 10-15 minute increases at a time). This is pretty uncommon for very young babies and most of the time overtiredness from being awake too long will be your problem.

With newborns, you'll have to work on having enough waketime (but not too much!) during the day to help you adjust the nights and days around. This can be done by doing a routine like eat/activity/sleep although this isn't necessary. As baby gets older (closer to 4-5 months) too short of waketimes and too much napping can cause problems with night sleep.

Waketime Estimates
Below are some estimates of waketimes from different books/followers of different books. They are averaged throughout the day. Remember that these waketimes are all just estimates. Every baby is different (genes, weight, how long they sleep at night) so some will be able to stay awake for longer or shorter periods of time than other babies. If your baby's waketime varies considerably from these guidelines then I would look closely at your baby to make sure he is not overtired or undertired (again, not usually the case).

Average waketimes I've observed over the years. These are optimal lengths for a well rested child, not what is necessarily common (since many children are overtired which would make these averages much more).


       How long should baby be awake?
Age
Waketime Length
Birth - 6 weeks
45-60 minutes
2 months
1 hour
3 months
1-1.5 hours
4 months
1.25-1.75 hours
5 months
1.5-2.25 hours
6 months
2-2.5 hours
7 months
2.25-2.75 hours
8 months
2.25-3 hours
9 months
2.5-3 hours
10 months
3-3.5 hours
11 months
3-4 hours
12 months
3-4 hours
12-18 months (2 naps)
3-4 hours
12- 18 months (1 nap)
4.5-6 hours
18-24 months (1 nap)
5-6 hours
2-3 years (1 nap)
5.5-7 hours (before nap)
3-4 years (1 nap)
6-8 hours (before nap)



Mom to Mom ideas:
This works for a lot of people-- 1 month you are often at 45 min. Add approximately 15 minutes on for each additional month up to 6 months of age (you'll be at 2 hours then).


"Baby Whisperer Moms":
Newborn: 50-60 mins.
1 month: 60 mins.-1 hour and 15
2 months: 1 hour and 15 mins. - 1 hour and 20 mins.
3 months: 1 hour and 20 mins. - 1 hour and 30 mins.
4 months: 1 hour and 45 mins. - 2 hours
5 months: 2 hours - 2.25 hours
Late 5 months/early 6 months: 2.25-2.5 hours
6.5 - 7 months: 2.75-3 hours
8 - 10 months: 3 - 4 hours
11 - 12 months: 3.5 -4.5 hours

"Babywise Moms":
Newborn: 30-60 minutes
4 weeks: 45-60 minutes
1-2 months: 45-70 minutes
2-3 months: 50-80 minutes
3-4 months: 60-90 minutes
4-5 months: 75 mins.-2 hours
5-6 months: 75 mins- 2 hours 10 mins.
6-7 months: 95 mins- 2 hour 20 mins.
7-8 months: 1 hour 45 mins- 2 hours 30 mins.
8-9 months: 1 hour45 mins.-3 hours
9-10 months: 2-3 hours 15 mins.
10-11 months: 2 hours 15 min-3 hours 45 mins.
11-12 monhts: 2 hours 15 mins-4 hours

Gina Ford (The Complete Sleep Guide)
Newborn: 1.5 hours
2 months: 2 hours
6 months: almost 2.5 hours

No-Cry Sleep Solution:
Newborn: 1-2 hours
6 month: 2-3 hours
12 month: 3-4 hours
18 month: 4-6 hours
2 year: 5-7 hours
3 year: 6-8 hours
4 year: 6-12 hours

Sleeping Through The Night:
Newborn: Only awake to eat
6-8 weeks: 2 hours

56 comments :

  1. Hmm... I wonder why the waketimes are so much longer with Baby Whisperer than Babywise?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Anonymous,

    I've been meaning to comment about that. I think with BW mom's they may not take into account the time it takes baby to fall asleep (which is still included in waketime) bc often times they are not in visible range when this happens. A "Baby Whisperer mom" is more likely to stay until a baby falls asleep which would mean she would include the extra waketime. Also, I think Babywise moms are more likely to "train" their child to be happy in their cribs at a sooner age than Baby Whisperer moms so a Babywise baby may be awake and playing quietly without mom even knowing which would alter perceived waketime. Lastly, The Baby Whisperer encourages you to extend waketime around 4 months which many Babywise moms do not do, especially bc many of them wait until sleep is 10-12 hours at night before doing this (they drop the dream feed first before extending day feeds).

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi, I am a baby whisperer mum and the Awake times given are a guideline only, they work really well but we advise people not to force their children to stay awake that long, you need to know your child and read his cues. Awake time is considered "eyes open to eyes shut" we usually have the baby in bed drowsy but awake 10mins before they would fall asleep, allowing them that 10mins to settle themselves into sleep. also their is no way on earth my baby would go to sleep so early at the ages given in babywhise, at 8 months old if i put him down any earlier than 3 hours he wouldve screamed his head off, he just simply was not ready, i see the same thing with alot of other mothers.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Anonymous,

    Yes, waketimes listed are just guidelines bc every baby is so different (which is why your baby could handle 3 hours at 8 months but other babies can't handle that long). Some of "babywise babies" do have surprisingly short waketimes for their ages. But if it works, then it works :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. I have been reading through as many of your posts as possible to try to figure out what my next step should be with my daughter. She is 4 months old and has recently started waking up a lot at night. Last night she woke up 3 times which is crazy for her. I realized that I may have not adjusted her waketimes properly. I have still been putting her down after about an hour and a half and I guess I should start extending that. I also have not quite mastered how to do the eat/activity/sleep thing and have it be predictable. Does it just end up working out that your baby stays on a predictable schedule even though you're not forcing the issue? Instead of doing that I have been scheduling feedings and then having the naptimes be random but not exceed the waketimes. Am I just overly exhausted, or is all of this very confusing sometimes?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Darcy,
    Some babies will fall into a predictable schedule easily either by themselves, or with a little help from you. Some babies will kind of be all over the place if you don't provide a lot of structure though. I personally think the structure is a good idea. It helps baby get used to eating and sleeping at the same time of day which make these things happen with more ease. Babies (and most people in general) like structure. I think the eat/wake/sleep routine is a good idea bc it helps establish this structure in an easy to follow way. It makes it easy to recognize babies needs bc they follow this pattern. IMO, it creates a happy baby bc he is well rested and well fed whenever he is up. But as baby gets older he will fall out of this pattern a bit to fit better with his eating and sleeping, and that is fine. For example, he will probably eat then have a wake time followed by eating then bed in the evening.

    If he has been sleeping good at 1.5 hours of wake time and now isn't, then he very well might need it increased. I would make sure to do it gradually. It is possible that he has been overtired and it is suddenly catching up to him or he suddenly needs a decrease in waketime (sometimes happens but at this age the opposite is probably true). Right now is a common growth spurt time. My 4 month old is going through one. It is also a wonder week time (time of lots of development where babies can sleep worse and be fussy). So make sure to feed him if he is hungry (although I doubt he'd need to be fed anymore than 1 extra time than usual at night), consider adding an extra feeding in the day and keep in mind that if it is a developmental thing, it might be over before you know it! Also make sure it there isn't a sleep prop going on that could be causing the night wakings. Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Do these waketimes include the feeding? Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Anna,
    Yep, they include the feeding time.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Not sure what to do. My 6 week old had his last feeding at 10am. We had wake time and I put him down at 11:30. It is 12:38 and he is still crying on and off in his crib. It is almost time for him to eat again and he has not slept? What is my next step?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rjeantet,
      Not so much use a few days later, but if it happens again...

      Feed him now and then put him to bed again shortly after his feeding, trying to get him to take as full a feed as you can. Usually at this age I suggest helping babies get to sleep after a period of time (for me I usually do 15-30 minutes) during a nap so they don't get overtired and end up sleeping badly and eating badly the rest of the day.

      Consider possible reasons he may be waking on and off throughout his nap--gas, overtiredness etc.

      Good luck!
      Rachel

      Delete
  10. My 6-week-old is a little bit of a fussy baby - not during wake times, but she does like to protest naps. It is also very hard to read her sleep cues. She yawns at the 30 minute mark, but then when we go upstairs to change her diaper and swaddle her, she's in this amazingly social, talkative mood. I've just chosen 45 minutes as the wake time because "watching" her no longer works.

    Here's the problem: I lay her down, and she is quiet for about 10 minutes, but then she begins to fuss on & off for another 10-15 minutes. Does this mean she is overtired or undertired? Is the quiet 10 minutes her way of "playing?" (She does her naps in a dark room). I thought maybe it was, and so, yesterday, I kept her up until 50 minutes, and that nap was HORRIBLE! "Horrible" like she must have been overstimulated "horrible." I have no idea how to pin down her wake time. And I have no idea when/how to extend it. 45 minutes seems really short for a 6-week-old. Shouldn't it be somewhere near an hour? But it seems the one time I tried to move it even 5 minutes, the whole nap fell apart!

    I subscribe mostly to Babywise, if that helps you know how to help me. This is my 3rd child. My first was severely colicky, and no amount of scheduling helped. Only a chiropractor did when she was 6 months old. My 2nd was on Babywise, but not until about this age (6 weeks), and I had PPD, so my memory of how I did things is kind of a blur. She never has a day where all 4 naps go fairly well. At MOST, 3 of them do. On AVERAGE, 2 of them do.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tiff,
      An hour would be more average but that is just a reference point. You may be above or below it. The best way I know to work with that waketime is just to keep a log and change the time around a bit to see what works. And of course try to change it with them as they get older. Make sure to do something for at least a few days so you can see what effect it has. I would work at one nap at a time. Likely the morning nap is going to keep pretty short so maybe work on another nap right now.

      Does this mean she is overtired or under tired? Usually under tired, but that isn't always the case. My youngest will get more upset is under tired than overtired. You'll have to see if she is average or not. I know , a terrible response. Some babies are so predictable but others really require a lot of trial and error and evaluation.

      Also watch how much stimulation she is getting. That can make a big difference at this age.

      Oh, another way to find the right waketime is to hold her during her naps. See when she falls asleep and keep track of it. At this age, doing this a handful of times probably won't make any difference for your sleep progress.

      Delete
    2. We gave her an hour for her morning nap and that was fine. We gave her an hour for her 2nd nap. She cried about 20 minutes into it for about 5 minutes but it was otherwise fine. We gave her an hour wake time for her 3rd nap and it's been terrible. She took a 45-minute nap and has been screaming ever since. I plan to go in in 5 minutes and just feed her.

      Holding her for a nap isn't really an option because, like both of her sisters before her, she doesn't know how to shut out the world. She's very alert and shows no sleep cues.

      Delete
    3. Tiff,
      Sounds like She may have been getting progressively overtired? Do you have a video monitor to see if she actualsleps asleep when she isn't making sounds (and seems asleep) or if she is sitting quietly? If she won't fall asleep with holding maybe he will in the car? Or maybe logs I'll be your best bet.

      Delete
    4. I don't have a video monitor. Her room is dark. She does seem to be getting progressively overtired as each consecutive nap gets worse than the one before it. I know that at this young of an age, all wake times are supposed to be about the same length. No matter what we do for her 4th nap, that one is almost always bad. She seems hyper sensitive to stimulation. While she's awake she's very alert and content, but when she has naps, is a whole other game.

      Delete
    5. Yesterday she only took one nap. It was her 2nd one because she was so exhausted screaming through her 1st one. How can a baby go from taking 3 decent naps with a 4th witching hour nap at 4 weeks old to 1 nap out of exhaustion and 3 naps where she's losing her mind?

      I took her to church on Sunday where her 1st nap was in arms. She fell asleep after an hour and a half wake time but I had to take a walk outside while she screamed for about 10 minutes before it (see what I mean about shutting out the world)? We still aren't getting sleep cues and when I sing to her before her nap she fights me as opposed to getting drowsy.

      I cried do hard in the last 24 hours that I gave myself a headache, and I usually pride myself on being pretty composed. How many days do I try a new wake time? I only tried one hour for one day because I had to shorten wake times after bad naps.

      Delete
    6. Sorry for the late reply tiff, I have been out of town. I'm so sorry you've had such a tough time lately.

      At this age, you might have a good idea with the waketime after one day since babies can get overtired so easily. So if it is too long she'll struggle at the end of the day. But it kind of tough to tell what she can handle because she isn't having constantly good naps. So you will need to have an idea of what waketime she can handle with a good long nap and a short nap. and If she doesn't fall asleep at all during a nap time you will have to kind of consider all of that wakeitme. She is in her bed but she is still awake. So she will likely be ready to eat sooner than normal (since she's been up and alert instead of sleeping) and then go to sleep right after that. With newborns I generally encourage a short set amount of time before going in to help them fall asleep. If they stay up for the entire nap they will struggle from over tiredness the rest of the day and from then on. It turns into a vicious cycle. So I help them go to sleep if they cannot fall asleep after like 15 minutes (people seem to do anywhere from 5-30 minutes). Just a thought. You'd think this would make them dependent on you but with most babies it doesn't cause too many issues and they get progressively better at falling asleep, especially once they get past the 3/4 month mark. Another method that can be helpful for babies this young that have a hard time settling down when they get upset is going in every 3-5 minutes and staying until they are calm ( do shush-pat, offer pacifier etc) then leaving and returning after that length of time to calm again if needed. This way they are able to teach themselves to fall asleep when they aren't in an overstimulated state which can be really difficult for them to work with. Just some thoughts which you of course do not need to follow. You do whatever you feel will work best for you guys.

      Rachel

      Delete
    7. Hi Tiff -- I dont know if this is helpful but by DS sounds JUST like your DD. His first 6 weeks were bliss, I think because he was good at "shutting out the world" so he would nap anywhere. When he hit is 7wk growth spurt his naps just became a hot. mess. First I will say that I love BW --I am totally for all of it but with my son i think i was just a little too determined to force him into the "average" waketimes. He was napping 20-30 min at a time for a long time and I was SOOO at the end of my rope! I finally did increase his WT dramataically It was by accident -- we were out one day and he didnt get a nap. he got a little fussy, but accepted his paci and was happy. He went 3 hours that day and then took a 2 HOUR nap! I was dancing around the house I couldnt believe it! His wakesitmes arent all 3 hours though. In the morning I feed him, then keep him up 1.5 hours, then feed him again and put him down (so total about 2 hours). This sort of "tanks him up". It works for him like cluster feeding worked for his night sleep. Then he usually takes a 1-1.5 hour nap. Then he's up for 2.5-3 hours and takes a looong afternoon nap. 2- sometimes 3 hours! then he takes a little catnap in the evening -- like 30-45 min. I was so frustrated for so long ad I know it seems counter to what BW says, but I just can't argue with results! My little boy doesnt cry AT ALL to go to sleep and he is now sleeping 12 hours at night too! I think there might just be a minority of BW babies that need longer waketimes? he was like your DD too where he was so happy when he was awake it just seemed hard to put him to bed. Anyway, take what you want from that -- just one experiece:) And good luck!

      Delete
    8. Thanks for sharing your experience katie.

      Rachel

      Delete
  11. Thanks for the reply... even late. :) I'll take it.

    So naps got better for about 3 days (with a wake time of 50 minutes), and then they got even worse again. I took her to the pediatrician today to rule out any possible causes for disruption (i.e. pain, reflux, sickness, etc.) and she was given a clean bill of health. The pediatrician suggested I keep her up for much longer (likes 1.5-2 hours)! in order to get better naps. That seems crazy to me since she is only 8 weeks old. I smiled and nodded, but couldn't bring myself to agree. That seems like too much, right?!

    Her morning nap consisted of nothing but 20 minute spurts. She put herself to sleep every time, but there was always a minute or 2 of crying... Every 20 minutes! Her 2nd and 3rd naps have both been the same, even though I have been gradually decreasing the wake time.

    This last Sunday, I was holding her at Church, and she fell asleep, in arms, EXACTLY 1 hour after having woken up for the day. She didn't fuss or anything. She just closed her eyes and fell asleep. The nap was short because she was in my arms, but I'm wondering if that means exactly one hour is her ideal wake time WHEN she's well-rested. And since I lay her down awake, does that mean to lay her down at the one-hour mark or to get her down a little before it?

    This is my 3rd child, and my 2nd fit Babywise to a "T" and so I'm having a hard time accepting that this one doesn't. She just seems more sensitive to stimulation. When she's awake, she's very pleasant. And I think that's why I'm struggling with her wake time. She is so happy and social even up until I lay her in her crib... no tired signs at all - even if the previous nap was awful.

    Is there an e-mail address or something that I can contact you at? Or am I depleting your resources? (I'm sorry if that's the case). I'm am just grabbing at straws and it's not in my nature to do so very well. :/ I used to feel like I knew all about baby sleep. I have read almost all of the books. I read them with my 1st. But for some reason, this time around, I feel at a total loss and could really use some consistent objective outside wisdom.

    Thank you so much for your help so far!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I will answer your email in a moment tiff.

      Delete
  12. My three week old son is having a hard time falling asleep for his naps. I am doing a feed/wake/sleep cycle and he will sometimes go the whole three hours without sleeping. I wait until he starts to show sleepy cues and then rock him for a few minutes then lay him down in his bed. He stays awake in his crib for the whole two hours, not fussing until the last thirty minutes or so. He normally does this about two or three naps a day, sleeping well during his other naps and at night. Any suggestions on getting him to sleep for all his naps?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Landonsmommy,
      How long is he usually awake?
      Is he swaddled?
      Do you put him down drowsy?
      Are you sure he never falls asleep? I'm just wondering if he is sleeping on and off.
      If you hold him or put him in a swing will he sleep for each nap?

      Delete
    2. I think I was trying to put him down before he was really sleepy. Now for most of his awake time he is awake for about an hour, I put a pacifier and rock him until he is asleep. I don't want to use these props but it has been the only thing that works right now. I take the pacifier out once he falls asleep because if I put him down with it in his mouth he wakes up when if falls out. Eventually I will try again to put him down drowsy, without the pacifier. I do swaddle him, and right now he is not a fan of the swing, hopefully when he is older. Thanks so much for all your blogs, they have been so helpful.

      Delete
    3. Landsonsmommy,
      You do what you need to do ;) At least rocking to less sleepy is an easier transition than some props. Good luck with everything.

      Rachel

      Delete
  13. I stumbled across your blog in a google search in desperation to get my 11 week old to nap better. I wish I had found it earlier as I have realized that I've made a lot of mistakes in sleep training my son. Currently my son goes to bed for the night around 7-7:30 wakes anywhere from 2-4 times a night to feed or just be comforted back to sleep and is up for the day around 6:30 am. During the day he will only nap 30-50 minutes at a time. He seems to only be able to handle being awake for about 45 minutes before it is almost impossible to settle him to sleep. This seems very short to me for his age. Currently I give him a pacifier and hold him in a cradle position until he is in a deep sleep then I lay him down in his bouncy seat in the living room. I have begun to realize that I may be a sleep prop for him - eeek. I have 2 questions. 1) How do I extend his waketime? I think he might nap longer and sleep better through the night if his waketime were longer. 2) how do I wean him from needing me as a sleep prop? Thanks for any advice!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hello,new to your site,and so far its very helpful. My six month old son has had sleep problems for a month. He sleept all night for a month started cereal/food and wakes up one to two times a night with horrible gas. Originally treated for reflux at two months but we stopped medicine as it didnt help, after a month. Tried soy formula a week and didnt change sleep problems. Biggest concern is grandma watches hime during day and sometimes he only sleeps 3o minutes. I know he is overtired but how do i get her to follow a suggested routine? We put him to bed at 730 and wake him at 5am due to our work schedule. What schedule do you recommend for his naps? Please help us!
    LK

    ReplyDelete
  15. will be 10 weeKs on thanksgiving. I'm still figuring out her wake times sometimes great naps sometimes awful. Sometimes wake time is 30 min.. Seems so short for her age? Do babies ever nap bad when they haven't had enough wake time? I don't see really any cues for when she's ready for a nap so it's been hard to get an ideal time and therefore an inconsistent nap. Any suggestions would be great! Also we still are in witching hour mode when does it usually end

    ReplyDelete
  16. Thank you so much for the chart on average waketimes, and then also showing the comparison of the different baby sleep methods and how those waketimes average. This was a big help as my LO have very few tired signs. He is 11 weeks old and can happily be awake for 2-3 hours before he starts losing it. Before then he doesn't yawn, he doesn't grizzle, he's barely jerky and he's always alert and ready to smile - he just doesn't slow down....he just suddenly comes to a complete stop.
    I used Gina Ford with my first son starting at 4 months and he fell into it nicely, but he was always a great napper. My new son is NOT a good napper and without tired signs, I'm having trouble getting him into any form of routine. This chart/guide will be a big help.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I wonder how this works if a 4 months old's longest wake time is 2 hours, and he has to drop nap by 4:30-5:00pm, and his ideal night sleep time is 6:00-8:00pm? By calculation,his possible night sleep time is only 7:00pm if he drops his nap at 5:00pm. Is it possible to have him sleep at 8:00pm? Would 3 hours be too long for the baby?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Memoryofyou,
      Likely 3 hour is too long at 4 months, 2 hours is even too long for many babies at this time. They're closer to 1.5 hours, maybe 2 right before bed. You can try it and see if it works though. An earlier bedtime usually works better regardless.

      Rachel

      Delete
  18. My 3 month old wakes from his last nap around 5:30 but when we start our bedtime routine at his drowsy signals (usually around 7) he doesn't settle until 8:30 most nights so his wake time is much longer this last stretch. Are we starting bedtime routines too late? too early? He then sleeps 5-7 hours his first stretch.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. IRW,
      I know I'm too late answering this, but I'd probably try to have her going to sleep when she shows her drowsy signs. I don't know much of how sleep is going, but it's possible that she is taking a while to settle because she doesn't know how to settle on her own. Assistance at this age often leads to things taking longer longer for sleep to set in.

      Delete
  19. Hi! My 6 month old twins still want to eat every 3 hours, and only seem to stay awake 1.5 hours at a time. This means most days they are still at 4 naps! If their one "long" nap of the day is the 3rd Nap, sometimes they can drop the 4th and go to bed a bit early. Usually I struggle with routine because they wake at different times every morning and are 45 minute nappers. Any advice on a good routine?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Christine,
      If they are taking short naps, you'll have to live with a shorter waketime and more naps longer than if they were taking long naps. Look over the short nap post and the extending nap post for troubleshooting the naps and for ways to extend them. 6 months is a common time that babies start to be able to extend them either on their own, or after a little work. In the am, have a time of day you want to start (it is often around 7 am) and get your twins up within 30 minutes of that time--that means you wake them if you need to and don't go to them (or do whatever ST you do) until morning waketime.

      Rachel

      Delete
  20. Hi! We've used your site with GREAT success to create a wonderful 18 month old sleeper! That is, until the grandparents came for 14 days of child-care duty while I had to fly away on a business trip last week. Despite my instructions, they held our 18 mo. old EVERY nap and every night until he fell asleep on them, and then placed in the crib. (Previously, I read his cues and just put him in the crib and said- time to take a nap!) Please please what can I do to fix this situation? He has a lovey and likes being wrapped in his blanket, so now if/when I don't hold him, he throws them on the floor- and he'll never settle b/c the reason he's crying is both that we're not holding him AND that his stuff is on the ground and he can't get it.

    IF I pick him up and he quiets down, I try to put him in drowsy, he just freaks out again, and stands up ... is this a total re-training that I have to do? I can't believe it! :( Does PU/PD work with 18 month olds? Or should I NOT be picking him up/letting him lie on me until he's drowsy- since that may reinforce what the grandparents did? ANY advice would be greatly greatly appreciated to get our good sleeper/napper back!!!
    sk

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Me,
      Well, it'll be almost like retraining, although probably not quite as tough. Now that I think of it, at 18 months, it may be even tougher. That is a strong habit age and an age of resistance. Sorry! Just be prepared to be more stubborn than your little one and follow through! And choose a plan you can keep up with and follow through with. pu/pd can work at this age, that you'll lessen the tough. Check out the post. Decreasing touch and increasing your distance over time (kind of like the sleep lady suggests) can be pretty helpful at this age. If he throws something, be careful with giving it right back. Let him understand if he throws it, he loses it. It'll be terrible when that happens, but it won't happen too much after that and a rough time or two will make many future times much easier.

      rachel

      Delete
  21. My 8.5 month old (7.5 months adjusted) is a pretty good night sleeper. She's working on sleeping through the night and often wakes around 5/530 to eat but not before. She's going to sleep around 7 most nights. The difficult thing is her wake time and naps. Her wake time is all over the place. Sometimes she doesn't wake until 545 or 6 in the morning and then is ready to be up (won't go back to sleep after being fed) but sometimes (like this morning) she ate at 5:15 and then went back to sleep until 8. I think that I might need to start waking her in the morning to get it more consistent. Also, she is having a hard time with naps. She goes down pretty well no matter when it is but has a hard time staying asleep. She used to be a 45 minute napper (which drove me crazy) but now I would kill for those 45 minutes as now they are only 30!! Then every couple of days she crashes and sleeps for 3 hours (yesterday afternoon). She used to do well on the time awake but now it seems like that isn't working anymore. It doesn't seem to matter when I put her down as to how long she sleeps and whether she's on a full belly or has eaten 2 hours before. I'm just not sure what to do but am considering some nap training and waking her in the morning. I am thinking that maybe waking at 7 and then naps at 9/9:30 and then 1? She sometimes takes a third nap and sometimes doesn't. Putting her down for a 9am nap when she's been up at 7 seems early but then sometimes she wakes up at 5:45 or 6 and by 9 she would be exhausted.

    Sorry that's so long.... any tips would be great!

    ReplyDelete
  22. I am also thinking that if her naps were more consistent then maybe she would be more consistent about waking in the morning and would give up eating at all overnight.

    ReplyDelete
  23. My baby has always been on a Gina ford inspired routine for eating and then more of a gina-ish sleep routine, but not followed as strictly as feeding. I tend to see how he goes.

    Anyway, my son is 13 months now, he sleeps 7pm-7am and has 2 naps. It's the naps I'm wondering about. The afternoon one he takes at about 12.30-1pm for 2-3 hours.

    The morning one he seems to want to go back to bed at 8am! If I put him down at 8am he sleeps until 9-9.30am, if I try to stretch it till 8.30am he naps until 10. But if I try and push it to 9am he wakes at 9.45 crying and is so grumpy until his next nap.

    I know it's not a massive problem, I'm just curious why he naps like this? He definitely wakes at 7am, no sooner as I'm always up myself at 6.45am. I can't see how he will every transition to one nap!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Hi Rachel,
    I have a 7 week old (today) and we're trying hard to avoid mistakes we made with our first (she got to the point where she'd only sleep on us, but is now 4 and an awesome sleeper). I am trying to consistently put her down drowsy but awake but am not always (or even usually) successful and hold her for at least 20 min till she is asleep, put her down, and then she either wakes up then or at the transition. I totally know this is because of the sleep association and that she's not getting over the hump because she's no longer in my arms (this is why I'm trying to put her down drowsy). My question about the Shush/pat is that since she is asleep on her back, should I just roll her on her side and do it? It didn't work this morning and I ended up holding her for 1.5 hours and just put her down 15 minutes ago (she's already peeping in there, help me).
    Also, I know she should only be awake for about 45-50 min, which sometimes happens but often doesn't, so I know she's overtired. She will often nurse, fall asleep in my arms but wake up 20 minutes later or so (often because she spits up or poops). Does the 45 minutes start with the first wake up or the one 20 minutes after nursing?
    It's very frustrating (obviously) because I feel like I know what should work but can't make it happen.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Hi, I have been wondering, for a 10 month old, do I count her wake time from the time I get her out of her crib, or the time I start to first hear her in the morning? On a good, healthy day she sleeps 7:30-7:15 am. Sometimes she wakes at like, 6 or 6:30, but I don't go in until 7 or 7:15 to stay on schedule. Should I be putting her down earlier, or stick with the 9:45 nap? Maybe it's time to extend to 3 hours? Thanks for any advice, and great page :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jessica,
      At that age, you'd work by the average/desired morning wake time but put her down a bit earlier than usual for her first nap if she wakes early in the morning. You'd have to test out the 3 hours to know if it is time to switch to that. Make sure to give it at least a few days before deciding either way though.

      best,
      rachel

      Delete
  26. Hi, I have a question about my 5 1/2 month old. Her sleep has been getting worse over the last 2 months. I assumed when she hit the 4 month sleep regression things would slowly get better not worse. She is exhausted all the time and won't sleep longer than 30-40 minutes for naps and it is impossible to get her back to sleep. I have tried every wake time length from one hour to 2 1/12 hours trying to find the "magic" amount of time that will help her sleep longer. She has never been great sleeper but it's just going down hill fast. She continues to wake every couple hours at night. She always has. Once in awhile I get a longer stretch of about 4 hours but it's rare. I am so desperate I come to tears sometimes. What am I doing wrong? Why won't she sleep EVER? I am so lost on what I should be doing.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Hi Rachel,
    My 6 month old sleeps 7pm-7am with one night waking usually. He usually wakes happy but that first wake time is about 1.25-1.5 hours. This seems really short given his age. If I put him down at his tired signs, he sleeps for an hour. If I extend the wake time even by ten minutes, I get a nap refusal. Is there a minimum wake time? Should I just wait for him to get older for a longer wake time or keep trying to extend?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My little 1 is the same! He turnt 6 months today. Ive tried extending and had terrible days with him!If I leave him any longer hes miserable all day. If he wakes up happy and lasts til his next nap content then your doing it right!

      Delete
    2. Also wandering how long does ur lo go after that nap?

      Delete
  28. Hi Rachel,

    Wondering if you have any thoughts on this - my son's waketimes seem to be all over the place. I have tried to keep him on a pretty tight routine since the first month. He's now 7 months and I keep trying to extend his waketime lengths but sometimes catch him yawning 45 mins or so after waking up! What? He usually goes down around 6:45/7:00 pm and sleeps until 6:30/7:00 am. We sleep trained around 3 mos and he's slept through the night since then, for the most part.

    Our day usually looks like:
    7:00, up and bf
    8:00, maybe some solids
    8:40, down for nap
    9:30-10:30, up (this used to be a solid 2 hr nap but things went haywire a couple of weeks ago and I'm still trying to figure out the right balance. He's also trying to crawl, maybe useful info)
    10:30/11:00, bf
    between 11:30-12:30, down for nap (usually 2 hrs after waking)
    12:30-2:00, up (anywhere from 45 mins to 2 hrs after going down), bf
    between 3:00-4:15, down for last nap
    4:00-5:00, up and bf
    6:30/7:00, bf and down for night

    I don't think he's ready to drop that third nap until his first two are consistently long, but it does push bedtime closer to 7:00 and maybe that's too late for him? I don't know, maybe the crawling practice is making him bonkers? He's gotten pretty fussy during his awake times, too, even when he's had a good nap. I'd welcome any suggestions. Thanks!!

    Lauren

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That sounds almost identical to the pattern of my 6 mo old twin girls! Wish I could figure it out too. I seriously could have written exactly what you wrote!

      Delete
  29. My LO is 11 weeks old. We have never been able to get on a consistent routine. I have a question about naps and bedtime routine. About two weeks ago we moved my baby's bedtime from about 11pm to about 8pm. Before we moved the bedtime she was sleeping 6-7 hours pretty consistently but was fussy and falling asleep earlier in the evening on her own so we moved her bedtime up. We started giving her a bath around 7:15, do some quiet talking while changing into pjs and then I nurse her and put her in her crib at about 8 (usually pretty asleep but not always. And occasionally with a paci if she's awake and still looking to suck). For the first week that worked great. She pretty much went to sleep right away and she would still go 6-8 hours before waking to feed and then would sleep until 6 or 7 am (depending what time her night waking was). However, the past week or so she has been going down around 8, is up at 1am almost like clockwork and then again at 5:30 or 5:45. I put her back down and she will sleep until 7 or 7:30. She does not typically eat all that well at 1am so I'm wondering if it's a habit waking because she either wants to be social or doesn't then know how to put herself back to sleep. Question about bedtime and routine: she usually needs/wants a feeding right around 7:30. Currently I'm giving her bath prior to that and nursing is the last thing i do before putting her down. I'm afraid that is becoming a prop though. However, if I wait to nurse her at 7:30 and THEN do bath and the rest of routine, she is pretty zonked after the feeding and I'm afraid if I wake her to do the rest of the routine then I will have messed with her sleep cycle. Thoughts??

    During the day she will only nap 30-50 minutes at a time and usually I have to help her settle with shush-pat and the paci a few times before she's asleep. Her morning wake time is very short - less than an hour - but I cannot figure out her optimal wake time for the rest of the day. If I try after only an hour then she is still wide awake and playful when trying to put her down but if i let her go too long she never seems to settle and then becomes hungry. She nurses every 2-3 hours during the day. It is also important to note I have not been consistent about a nap routine. Sometimes I let her sleep on me if I think she's overtired and I just want her to get sleep. Other times I have found that once I can tell she's sleepy I can put her in a cradle hold with her paci, get her drowsy and then put her down (usually she still stirs 10-15 min later though and needs shush-pat and paci again).

    Any advice is much appreciated!

    Allison

    ReplyDelete
  30. Sorry, did a copy paste from my notes and forgot a greeting and also just wanted to say thanks so much for the great info! There are so many posts and comments that I can relate to; it's comforting to see and there are lots of great nuggets in the comments from others!

    ReplyDelete
  31. Hey Rachel,
    I am a mom to twin girls born 6 weeks early. They are now 6 months and 1 week old from their birth day April 4th. (One of them's name is Stella! :) I am struggling some with waketime length and the guidelines in the book Happy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. He recommends getting your baby on a nap schedule based on biological wake/sleep cycles which he says are typically around 9/10am, 12-2pm, and maybe a third brief nap between 3-5pm, with averages of 9,1, and then then the later brief one varying or not existing. When I consider pushing my babies to these nap windows, it doesn't turn out too well. They seem to do better based on wakefulness still, which runs from 1 hr first thing in the morning to 2 or so hours later in the day, but this too sometmes really varies. What are your thoughts on the his biological rhythm suggestions of around 9 and 1 in particular.... I can't seem to get my girls near this without them falling apart, especially if they wake up around 6:15am instead of their more normal 7ish. But even then, we're pushing it to stay up until 8:30...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. *** one of their name's is Stella, rather!! :)

      Delete
  32. Hi Rachel

    My 7week old girl has extremely short nap times. 10mins- 1hr . But as. The day goes on 3pm onwards it's nearer the 10 -15min Mark.

    We had a hard start with an emergency section and I had been breastfeeding on demand until I gave up and fifinally decided to set a routine these past few days. Trying to stick to the EASY routine.
    We've had mastitis and thrush and currently an ear infection which is being treated.

    Our morning normally starts at 8 ish. So jve a few questions.
    1- Do I set an alalarfor 8am and wake baby if she's asleep to start the day?
    2 - what do I do about the short naps?
    3-Do i feed her every time she's wakes and start the EASY cycle over or try and get her back to sleep.( I have been trying to get her back to sleep as long as she's eating every 2.5-3hrs.

    I have Activity time with her watching for sleep cues. Couple of mins before I put her down I give her a cuddle and calm her. Pat her back til she falls asleep. She normally has 3 meltdowns before conning ouout(I was so exhausted the first weeks at home with the feeding problems, emergency section and lack of sleep that to get sleep I let her nurse on me to sleep and let her sleep on my knee. She could easily sleep an 1.5 - 2hrs that way.

    Please help there seems to be so much conflicting advice on the web we are at our witts end.

    ReplyDelete
  33. I have a 1 month old son and we have been doing the feed-wake-sleep cycle since the beginning with the exception of the last cycle of the day which ends up being feed-wake-feed-sleep. He usually takes a long late afternoon nap before that. He's great at falling asleep on his own. I'm having trouble with the night though.

    He goes down between 7:30-8:00 and sleeps until midnight. We change diaper/feed then he sleeps until 3:00. Great right? Well after that he wakes up every 1.5-2 hours! How do I get him to go another 4 hour stretch before our 7:00 start of the day?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh- and we're focusing on Babywise and he's pretty consistent with those wake times. Thanks!

      Delete