I'm so glad you're here! My hope is to bring mamas encouragement, joy, peace, and strength to walk through motherhood. I am a sleep training, postpartum doula-ing, meal planning mama who cares deeply about you, friend!
I want to start out this blog by saying, don’t let this overwhelm you! If the concept of wake windows seems like too much for you and your schedule….read on, digest the info, and then take from it what you feel like will fit into your day to day life. Every baby is different, which means every baby’s wake windows will be different, but this is just a guide for you to start with.
That being said, let’s start with the basics!
A wake window is the amount of time that your baby (or toddler) is awake between each nap, starting with the time they wake up for the day. Each wake window starts when you get your baby out of their sleep space, and goes until you lay them down for a nap (not the time that they actually fall asleep/wake up).
If your baby starts taking awful naps, the first thing I look at is…are the wake windows too short, resulting in an under-tired baby? Are they too long, resulting in an over-tired baby? If so, we start there, by adjusting wake windows accordingly.
During their wake window, this is the time you spend interacting with your baby, feeding them, bathing them, doing tummy time, etc. Basically…any activity that involves them being awake!
So, what do you do if you need to stretch wake windows a little longer, to make it to the next nap or bedtime?
1. Get outside!! The fresh air and change of scenery always works!
2. Tummy time. The activity will not only help them sleep better for their next nap, but also is great for their development. And usually pisses them off enough to stay awake 🤪
3. Water- give them a bath and sing or talk to them while they splash.
4. A new sensory object or activity- time to whip out something NEW! If they are really little, pull out something that makes a new noise so they can just listen and pay attention.
5. Try solids- if they are old enough to eat solids, try a new snack like a puff or one of their favorite purees to keep them distracted.
So, what are the right wake windows for YOUR baby?
Here is a good chart to start with if your baby is 0-13 months:
Save this to your phone so that you remember, or print it out and stick it on your fridge for a quick reminder or for anyone who watches your child other than you to have a cheat sheet!
After age 13 months, baby is typically down to one nap per day, and the wake windows before and after nap are generally 4-6 hours. Play around with the timing…you know your baby best! If you aren’t quiiiiite at the wake window they’re supposed to be, and they are starting to act over-tired…put them down! Or, if they are nearing the end of their supposed wake window, and still seem very alert and content, not showing any sleepy cues, keep them awake a little longer! Every baby is different, and YOU are the best mama for your baby. Mama’s intuition is a real thing, let me tell ya!
If you found this helpful, check out my FREE sleep guide to solving night wakings here!
And if you have a baby aged 0-4 months, and you are struggling with sleep, my newborn sleep guide will get you sleeping asap!! And because I love you…use code “20OFF” for 20% off this guide that will finally get you feeling like yourself again!
If you are needing more one on one support, and help with a completely custom wake window chart and routine for your baby, schedule a free 15 minute one on one call with me now to see how I can help.
Love you, friend! Remember….you matter too.