How To Accurately Calculate Baby Wake Time Length

Did you know that if you keep baby up too long or too short baby won’t sleep well? This post discusses how to correctly count the time baby is awake.

Mom and Baby together

You know waketime length is very important for good naps, but you have no idea how to calculate your baby’s wake time length.

When does it start? When does it end? How do you know for sure how long your baby was up?

This post answers that for you. 

If you want your baby to take a nice long nap, one of the most important bits of knowledge for you to have is to know how to properly calculate waketime length.

Parents often wonder things like — do I include feeding time in the wake time length? Or — do I start as soon as baby is awake and go until baby actually falls asleep?

The cornerstone for a good nap is having the correct waketime length. I have talked extensively about how to figure waketime length out and have given you ballpark numbers to aim for.

That is all great knowledge, but you need to know how to calculate waketime length. If you don’t know how, you will never hit that perfect number.

You might know that a 2 week old should be awake for 30-40 minutes, but if you do not include feeding time in that number, your baby will be up WAY too long and not sleep well.

Calculating Baby Wake Time Basics

Waketime starts when your baby wakes.

Waketime ends when you put your baby in his crib for a nap (or bedtime). NOT when baby falls asleep.

Waketime DOES include feeding time. It is time your baby is awake. 

Easy right?!?!? 

It sounds easy until you add in the “What ifs”. 

Find a baby wake time chart here

Baby Wake Time Length Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions about baby wake time length along with the answers.

Does feeding time count as baby’s awake time?


The time your baby spends eating is also “awake time”. When you see waketime length recommendations from me, including feeding time in that calculation.

Does feeding time count as wake time

What if my baby doesn’t fall asleep for thirty minutes, is when I put baby in bed still when waketime ended?


The purpose of even calculating waketime length is to know how long is perfect for your baby to fall asleep quickly and take a good nap.

That thirty minutes awake will not be “nap” time, but it also isn’t calculated into your “waketime.”

Take note that with that waketime length, your baby took thirty minutes to fall asleep. That is good data to track. If you need help tracking, be sure to purchase my Logs eBook here! 

What if your baby wakes up early and stays in the crib for a while before you get her up? Is that still when it starts?

This is where things can get very tricky. 

The time your baby spends awake in the crib before you get her up is waketime.

It is not, however, necessarily minute for minute. This is where you will have to experiment.

For some babies, every minute awake in the crib needs to be counted straight across for minutes of waketime. For others, it is more of a “half-time.”

So if your baby was awake for 20 minutes in the crib before you got her up, you would count that as ten minutes. The only way to know what is best for her is to experiment and see what happens. 

You can read much more about this in the post How to Calculate Waketime When Baby Wakes Early.

How long should my baby be awake?

The answer to this is dependent on your baby’s age. How long a newborn is awake is very different from how long a 4 month old is awake.

It is also dependent on your baby’s individual sleep needs. Some babies need more sleep than others.

I have a very extensive post on how to find your baby’s ideal wake time length here: Optimal Waketime Lengths

How to calculate baby awake time pinnable image

How can I tell exactly what time my baby woke up?

First, do not stress yourself trying to figure out the exact time your baby woke up. You want to track wake time from when they wok up, but as I said above, the time in the crib isn’t the exact same as time out of the crib.

I liked using a video monitor in the younger months when wake time length is more sensitive. That way I know when baby is awake.

You can also use just an audio monitor or listen for your baby and go off of when you first hear your baby make a noise when nap is over.

So just be aware and take note as best you can what time your baby woke up.

Free Waketime Length Worksheet

Be sure to check out my free Wake Time Length Worksheet to figure out if you should extend wake time or not.

Wake Time Length Worksheet


Now you know just how to count waketime, so in your quest for finding your baby’s optimal waketime length, you can calculate correctly. You are well on your way to better naps!

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This post originally appeared on this blog in September 2016