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Wake Windows: How long your baby SHOULD stay awake.... not how long they CAN stay awake

One of my favorite sleep topics is hands down, wake windows. To me, its the most simple concept and easy to implement AND has a huge impact. I personally think everyone should leave the hospital with a wake window chart, similar to how you leave with guidance on how you should be feeding and tracking bowel movements. Unfortunately, there is not much support in the sleep space and many parents just figure it out as they go.

One easy thing to implement is keeping an eye on age appropriate wake windows to ensure your little one gets enough sleep and isn't getting overtired. Too often I see that parents are keeping their baby up for longer stretches, because they believe that will give them more sleep at night. However, an overtired baby typically has more disrupted sleep due to the spike in their cortisone levels.

If you truly set up their day schedule to be age appropriate you will see night sleep improve!

The chart above provides rough guidance month to month. I think of the wake windows as the maximum time I want my little one awake before offering a nap and know that shorter is okay, as long as we are seeing decent nap lengths and night time sleep.

You'll be adjusting these items throughout the first 1-2 years to ensure you get the maximum night time sleep possible (11-12 hours).

As your little one approaches a nap transition sometimes that means waking baby up so that they can fit in that last nap, even if that last nap is only 20-30 minutes.

I recommend printing this chart and/or reviewing it on a monthly basis to see how you can tweak your little one's schedule.

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