October 2, 2022

All About Baby Wake Windows: How to Create the Perfect Sleep Schedule

Limitless child and baby sleeping

Wake windows are the perfect way to make sure that your baby’s sleep schedule works with yours instead of the other way around. It’s best to start creating your baby’s wake window as soon as you hold your newborn.

Wake windows help babies learn to self-soothe, they build healthier sleep habits, and they make life easier for parents because babies learn how to go back to sleep on their own when they wake up during the night or in the morning.

Here’s everything you need to know about using this method to create the perfect sleep schedule for your baby.

Baby Boy Waking Up

What is Baby Wake Window?

A baby’s wake window is an hour of awake time following each sleep period. For instance, if your baby sleeps for 2 hours, he will have a two-hour wake window before it is time for his next nap. Knowing this allows you to predict how long the baby can stay awake in between sleep periods and work on transitioning them into longer naps.

Importance of baby’s wake windows

Your baby wakes up more frequently in order to get all the sleep they need. Your little one also needs short naps during the day and wake windows are key to making sure they’re getting enough rest. Longer nap transitions can disrupt your baby’s sleep, increase crying time, and leave them overtired throughout the day.

Here are benefits of a wake window for babies:

– Shorter awake times allow babies to fall asleep on their own by giving them a few minutes to cry before picking them up

– The wake window gives parents some freedom in scheduling daytime tasks

– It avoids that groggy feeling for babies when you try waking them from a long sleep cycle at night

– A good rule of thumb is setting an age appropriate wake window which may be as low as 30 minutes or as high as 2-3 hours.

Asian Siblings sleeping in Bed

A Helpful Wake Window Guide

Wake windows are a concept that can help keep baby on a consistent and easy-to-follow sleep schedule. By identifying how long your child sleeps in between wakings and crafting your own routine, you will be able to give your little one the sleep they need with just a few minutes of time and effort each day.

A good starting point is to figure out what the shortest wake window for your baby is.

For example , if your baby’s longest sleep is about 3 hours, then their next short or wake window should be 2 hours after waking up from their nap. And if your baby’s longest sleep is about 4 hours, then their next short or wake window should be 2 1/2 hours after waking up from their nap.

But it varies from baby to baby so it’s important to know what cues your child gives off when they’re ready for another nap.

Some babies may become overtired and begin fussing more often or showing other signs like increased hunger or less activity. You’ll want to make sure you’re paying attention so that you can do everything in your power to ensure that their quality of sleep remains high. One way some parents have found success with this is by using the next wake window technique.

Dad in happy mood with child

Here are some age appropriate wake windows.

Age appropriate wake windows

1) Newborns (0-3 months old) typically take anywhere from 6-8 naps per day which equates to shorter wake windows such as 45-60 minutes. These little ones may be most alert right before or right after feeding time.

2) For 3-5 months old , try a 90 minute wait between each nap.

3) 5-8 month old can get a 120-150 minutes of rest in between each nap.

4) 9-12 months old should get 150-200 minutes of wake window in between each nap.

5) 1-3 years takes anywhere between 4-6 hours of wake window in between each nap.

Remember to use Baby’s sleep cues as a guide for determining the length of their wake windows.

The early morning wake ups are tough but it’s important to stick with the plan because this creates consistency for your little one and helps them regulate their body clock. It may also allow them to gradually adjust to being awake longer without needing an extra nap later on during the day. Overtired babies who don’t get enough rest will end up getting grouchy and frustrated easily.

If your infant seems restless or fussy when they reach their next window, switch things up by trying an earlier bedtime, adding extra playtime during the day, or letting them cry themselves back to sleep at night.

Mom looks at sleeping kid

Find The Right Wake Windows To Help Baby Sleep Better

Finding the right wake windows for your newborn baby can help develop good sleep habits and keep you from feeling frazzled. Here are some things to think about when looking for a way to establish a sleep schedule.

1) Newborns need to be woken up every 2-3 hours, so they need shorter, more frequent naps.

2) Newborns also have very short attention spans, so it’s important to limit each nap or feeding session to 10-20 minutes or less.

3) Always put your baby down awake because this helps teach them how to fall asleep on their own.

4) The key is finding a window that gives your newborn enough time between waking up and falling asleep again so they don’t become an overtired baby which can lead to fussiness and disrupted sleep.

5) Using white noise-free, swaddling, gentle rocking will all help create a calming environment for them too.

To find the right wake windows, follow your baby’s sleep patterns over the course of a few days.

For example, if they go to bed at 8 pm and are sleeping until 8 am, then a good wake window would be 10 am-12pm. If they’re going to bed around 9 pm and waking up around 7 am, then an appropriate wake window would be 11am-1pm.

There are lots of ways to figure out what works best for your child!

Dad Flying Child

Adjusting The Infant’s Wake Windows

To adjust infant’s wake windows, you should set your child’s wake window one hour earlier each day. When your child wakes up at 6 am, set their wake window for 5 am the next day. Over time, this will gradually shift your child’s wake window earlier until they’re sleeping at a normal bedtime.

Follow these tips to help Newborns make it through

The Infant’s Wake Window Adjustment Period with minimal fuss!

Make sure to offer plenty of reassurance when waking up and during feedings. Be sure to stick with a consistent routine so that your baby knows what to expect throughout the day.

Feed them right before nap time if possible, as that may help them sleep better. Offer comfort by stroking their head or patting them on the back; both of these can calm an anxious baby.

During the adjustment period, it is important to keep in mind that not all children respond well to change. Sometimes, just one bad night is enough to send parents into panic mode.

If things seem like they are going well, but then something goes wrong – don’t despair! After about two weeks of adjusting their wake windows, most babies are able to get enough rest and sleep at night.

Happy Toddler playing at home

FAQs

When should you start using a wake window?

Wake windows are a helpful tool for parents, especially if you start when a baby is under 4 months old. It provides a window of time after which it is okay for you and your baby to start gradually waking up from bedtime. Here are some helpful tips on how to use this new schedule in order to create the perfect sleep schedule for your newborn.

The biggest challenge for new parents is getting your baby on a schedule. This can be hard because newborns need their sleep, however it’s vital that you try and get them into a good routine. Babies are able to adapt well and develop healthy sleeping habits from an early age, so don’t worry too much if they cry initially!

What do you do with a newborn in a wake window?

Sleep is key for all newborns and parents. As a new parent, you have tons of things on your plate, and getting enough sleep may seem impossible. To get your newborn on a schedule and establish healthy sleep habits from day one, it’s important to help them develop what’s called a wake window. This allows their system to learn that they will not always be awake after they fall asleep.

Mom patting newborn

What happens if wake windows are too short?

Parents of newborns often worry about how much sleep their little one is getting each day. If wake windows are too short, babies may not get enough sleep, resulting in a cranky and overtired baby that can’t seem to fall asleep at his or her own bedtime.

You’ll want to make sure you’re keeping a close eye on your newborn’s wake window so they’re able to take adequate naps during the day and night.

If your baby is waking frequently at night, consider using a sleep training program designed for newborns to help them learn how to fall asleep on their own.

Peaceful Kids' room for goodnight sleep

How long should a newborn’s wake window be?

Newborn’s wake window should be 1-1.5 hours. If they are allowed to sleep longer than this, they will not get enough sleep and may become overtired and more fussy. These shorter periods of sleep will help them learn how to self-soothe which will make it easier for them when you put them down for a nap or bedtime.

When should you start using a wake window?

The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests waiting until 4 months before introducing a baby wake window.

The reason for this is that when babies are less than 4 months old, they still rely on an age-appropriate sleep cycle. This includes three to five sleeps every 24 hours.

Babies should never go more than 12 hours without a nap because it will disrupt their natural sleep pattern, which could cause serious problems in terms of mood regulation and mental development.

Do wake windows get longer or shorter throughout the day?

Newborns typically take two or three naps per day, one of which may be a two-hour nap in the morning. Newborn wake windows are roughly 30-45 minutes in length and they get shorter as time goes on. Between 6-8 weeks old, newborn wake windows might last up to an hour. Eventually, they will reach anywhere from 90 minutes long.

How long should the first wake window be?

A baby’s nap time and bedtime should be determined by following age-appropriate wake-windows, according to Lahaie Hera: “A baby’s nap time begins at 45 minutes and increases to 2 to 2.5 hours by 6 months, 3 to 4 hours by 12 months, and 6 or more hours by 2 years old.”

Kid learning to walk

Conclusion

We hope this helps you in your quest for a better sleep routine. To recap, here are our three steps:

1) Track your newborn’s awake and sleep times

2) Naps will often have a cycle of 20-45 minutes with short awakenings of 10-20 minutes. The time between naps can be a little shorter or longer depending on their age and how well they slept for that nap.

3) Once you have a good idea of their sleep patterns, create a schedule where you can follow it as closely as possible. It’s OK if your baby occasionally sleeps past or wakes up earlier than their preferred wake time.

Happy Siblings Enjoying on Bed

Just make sure they get back on track in two days at most.

Again it varies from baby to baby when they’ll start sleeping through the night. Some babies sleep through the night after just one week! Others take weeks or months.

Make sure your newborn is exposed to light during daytime hours and darkness during nighttime hours. Keep them close to your chest so they don’t sense any disruptions when moving around.

When you want to expand the wake window and increase feeding opportunities, do not use artificial lights such as lamps or TV screens. These sources of light emit harmful blue light which tricks newborns into thinking it’s still daytime.

Instead, use dimmer lighting and turn off all electronics an hour before bedtime. If the newborn starts crying because they’re hungry during this time period, let them cry for five minutes then feed them again without turning on any lights while doing so.

Do you have any questions about newborn wake windows? Let us know in the comments below!

Taryn Crimi

Taryn Crimi

Taryn is an international intuitive, focused on helping to empower you manifest your best life!

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