Optimal Waketime Lengths


Baby wake times to get baby taking great naps. This post walks you through how long baby should be awake at each age and how to know the signs that baby is ready for sleep.

Baby yawning

One of the most important steps to establishing healthy sleep habits and getting your baby to sleep well is to have waketime length correct. It can take time to master, but I have put years of experience and many polls into posts to help you get there as fast as possible.

It might surprise you to realize there can be a wide variation of optimal lengths among babies. Below are some poll results from readers of this blog. These poll results really illustrate the fact that every baby is different. There are averages and there are most commons, but ultimately it is up to you to figure out what is the optimal waketime length for your baby.

Baby Wake Times

Your baby wake times are the amount of time your baby is awake between nap. Wake time will be from the time your baby wakes up until the time your baby goes back down for a nap or for bedtime.

Baby sleep is so dependent on getting this wake time length correct. Babies sleep so much better when their wake time length was correct. They will fall asleep easier and they will sleep through the sleep transition easily if the wake time length was correct. Your little one will make it through the sleep cycle and wake up refreshed.

That means naps will be 1.5 to 2 hours long and baby will either sleep through the night or wake up less often in the night. For that purpose, I have written this post to help you get wake time length spot on. This post will help you get your Babywise wake time length down.

What is Optimal Waketime Length?

Optimal means your baby goes down for a nap relatively easily without much crying. This is more applicable for younger babies or babies just starting sleep training.

Some babies cry more than others during sleep training. Sometimes the non-criers randomly have a hard time settling down. Many times this is related to over-tiredness and over-stimulation. Keep notes of waketime lengths and activities to see if there is a pattern with good naps and not-so-good naps.

Read: Gentle Sleep Training The Four S’s

Optimal means your baby takes the appropriate length of nap for the age and cycle length. If your baby is waking early, then she is likely awake too long before the nap and you will need to shorten the wake time length so baby has less time awake between naps. See Easy Nap Fix

Optimal means your baby goes to sleep rather quickly. This is more applicable to older babies who are past the sleep training process. If baby is falling asleep quietly and quickly, you know you have baby wake time length correct.

If your baby suddenly starts playing for long periods before naps, then you likely need to extend your waketime. Baby will need a longer wake time to help get in that extra stimulation needed before nap or bedtime starts. Even just adding 5 minutes can do the trick.

I often get asked how quickly baby should fall asleep. That can vary from baby to baby. Pay attention to what is a good length for your baby. I often found my babies would fall asleep in 5-10 minutes when wake time lengths were correct. The Baby Whisperer says it can take up to 20 minutes. For all of my babies, 20 minutes meant I had things timed incorrectly, but that might be a good length for your baby.

Baby yawning with text overlay

Optimal means your baby wakes up from a nap and is happy. Granted many babies (especially newborns) wake up crying because they are hungry, but once you feed your baby, she should be a happy baby. Many babies will get fussy as the next nap approaches, which is fine.

Optimal means your baby can focus during playtime. A well-rested baby can focus.

Optimal means your baby is able to maintain waketimes happily throughout the day. This does exclude any witching hour times of day. Evenings are often a fussy time of day for babies even if wake time lengths are perfect. Typically, waketimes get longer throughout the day, not shorter. If waketimes are progressively getting shorter, then earlier waketimes might be too long. If you have a newborn, waketimes are typically about the same length all day long.

Read how to calculate baby wake time length here:

 How to calculate waketime length for your baby

Approximate Optimal Waketime Lengths by Age

How long should a newborn stay awake? Most younger babies (newborns) need a really short waketime. Also, most newborns are going to be quite similar to each other in optimal lengths. Newborn sleep schedules do not vary very much.

As the babies get older, more of a variation happens for baby awake time. Take my children for example. At 6 months, Brayden was at about 2 hour waketime while Kaitlyn was at about 1 hour. Two kids, same mom, two very different waketimes.

See my chart of common baby wake times in my post Cornerstone for Good Naps.

Baby yawning with text overlay

Also, the same baby has extremely variable waketimes. Morning waketime might be 1 hour while the final waketime is 2. So the time of day affects the optimal waketime length, also. Here are some numbers to consider:

How Long Should a Newborn Stay Awake

0-4 Weeks old: 55% of responders reported that 30-50 minutes was optimal for a 0-4 week old. An additional 18% (total of 73%) extends this to 30-60 minutes. This is the range I would say most are in. In this age range, I would shoot for 30-45 minutes. If your baby seems to need more or less, tweak it slowly. I would take notes of what worked and what didn’t. You can buy my pre-made book of logs to keep track of baby wake times. Click on the image or this link here.

 Chronicles of a Babywise Mom Book of Logs

4-6 Weeks old: Most responders (62%) responded that 40-60 minutes was optimal for a 4 to 6 week old. This is completely in line with what my guess would be for an optimal waketime length. If you have a baby this age, I would shoot for 40-60 minutes. Again, take notes.

6-8 Weeks old: Now is when there starts to be more of a variable in waketime length for a 6 to 8 week old. Most responders (79%) reported that 40-70 minutes was optimal. These are the numbers I would work with, also. My guess is that most will be able to do about 60 minutes. Again, take notes, adjust as needed.

8-12 Weeks old: 70% of responders found waketime to be best from 50-80 minutes for a 8 to 12 week old. This is also the time frame I would think most babies would fall in. If your baby isn’t one of them, don’t stress about it or force your baby to be otherwise. 11% were less and 16% were more. That means there are babies out there who differ.

Read: Sleep Begets Sleep? The Truth About Baby Sleep

How Long Should a Baby Stay Awake

3-4 Months old: 72% reported the optimal waketime was 60-90 minutes for a 3 to 4 month old. Once again, this is in line with where I think most babies would be. Kaitlyn was right at 60 minutes, but if I had to err it was better to err before 60 minutes. 2 minutes after would mean trouble sleeping. So for her, I chose 50-60 minutes. If I had chosen for Brayden, it would have been 60-70 or perhaps 70-80. Remember, these averages give you a good idea of where to shoot for, but each child is different and it is up to you to figure out optimal for your baby.

4-5 Months old: At this age, optimal really starts to vary with a larger gap from baby to baby. The poll results for this age group had most answers from 80 minutes to 2 hours. This is a large variation. At this age some babies are starting to stay awake longer while others are still holding on to their shorter waketime length. My guess is for most babies, 2 hours is too long for most in this age group. Most will be around a little over an hour to maybe 1.5 hours, but that doesn’t mean there are not exceptions to this.

5-6 Months old: Again, our optimal length is going to vary, and our poll results show it. Most babies can make it over an hour by now. The largest percentage in the results was 1.75-2 hours, at only 32%–obviously not a majority. My guess is most this age are really going to do best around 1.5 hours of waketime. Again, figure out what is best for your baby.

6-7 Months old: We now start to see more votes in a certain area. 64% of votes were in the 1.75-2.25 hours range. I would definitely agree with this as the most likely optimal waketime length for babies this age. Brayden was at 2 hours at this age, but Kaitlyn was still closer to 1.25-1.5 hours. I would say most this age can do about 2 hours, give or take 15 minutes or so. Note that when you drop that third nap, which ranges between 6-9 months for most babies, you will have one large chunk of time in the evenings when baby will be awake that is longer than the between naps in the day.

7-8 Months Old: The largest chunk of people say 1 hour 45 minutes to 2 hours 15 minutes is best for baby. I would definitely agree that this is true for most babies. But don’t ignore that about 18% needed less and 31 needed more. Both of my two older girls needed less. Brayden was at 2. At this age range, I would still stick with the 2 hours norm. This would apply to the first and second waketimes. Third will be longer–especially if you have dropped the third nap. If you are on a four hour schedule, you really don’t want to go beyond a 2 hour waketime because you want a 2 hour nap.

8-9 Months Old: I am still sticking to 2 hours as my recommendation for the first two waketimes. You want a two hour nap, so you can’t exceed a two hour waketime–unless you go beyond a four hour schedule a bit, which is fine so long as you still work in at least 4 feedings (which will mean you have at least one interval less than two hours). This poll had a lot of variation. The two largest categories at 22% each were 2-2 hr 15 min and 2.5-3 hr.

10-12 Months Old: For your 10-12 month old, you might be as short as 2 hours or as long as 2.5 hours.

Why the Variation in Wake Time Lengths?

All babies are different. Some babies need more, some need less. There is a wide range of sleep needs from baby to baby.

Some moms are wrong. I don’t intend to offend anyone. And I don’t mean that anyone outside the realm of my expectations is wrong. There are those extra sleepy and extra alert babies. But some moms will have answered what they thought was best and actually be getting it wrong.

If I were to do this poll thinking of Brayden as a baby and what I did with him as a newborn, I would have been way off. I kept him up much too long. I had his wake time length wrong.

Even with Kaitlyn, my second child, I think there were times that I kept her up too long as a newborn. It gets easier to tell the optimal length for moms as baby gets older. You know your baby better. You know the sleep cues better. You have a better idea of the sleep needs of your baby. There will still be variations, though, because as babies get older, their different sleep needs become more obvious, as I stated above with my two older children.

A Note On Sleep Regression

A sleep regression is when your baby’s sleep is not as ideal as it used to be. Baby might start taking short naps, taking a long time to fall asleep before naps, or crying before naps. Your baby might stop sleeping through the night or start waking early in the morning. There are many sleep regressions your baby will face throughout the first year of life and even through the toddler years.

Read: Sleep Disruptions You Will Face as a Babywise Mom and How to Handle Them

Sometimes baby is not sleeping as well because of something like a growth spurt. A growth spurt is not a sleep regression.

When your baby is having a sleep regression, there is really nothing you can do to solve the sleep issue. Even getting awake times correct will not end the sleep regression. Sometimes moms start messing with baby’s wake time length during a sleep regression and end up throwing the baby sleep schedule so off wack that once the regression is over, baby still does not sleep well rather than snapping right back into it.

If you are familiar with the Wonder Weeks, you can prepare yourself for sleep regressions. Read all about Wonder Weeks and how they impact sleep here.

The most significant of all the sleep regressions is the 4 month sleep regression. This one really causes a lot of sleep troubles for babies. This corresponds with Wonder Week 19.

5 to 8 months old is a sleep regression time, also. Read all about the common reasons for poor sleep in the 5-8 month old age range here.

Baby Wake Times Questions

Here are some common questions people have with wake times.

Should I wake my baby in the morning?

Yes. Wake your baby up at a consistent time each morning. This helps set a consistent sleep schedule each day.

What time should a baby go to bed?

An ideal bedtime is around 7-8 PM. Then you will start your day the next day around 7-8 AM. There might be some night feedings in between depending on the age of your baby.

Starting and ending your day helps with the daily schedule, which helps you get waketime length correct each day.

Wake Time Length Worksheet

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

Waketime Length Conclusion

As you are trying to get baby to take great naps and sleep through the night, be sure to figure out the best amount of waketime for your baby. Once you have that down, baby’s naps and night sleep will be amazing!

Optimal Waketime Lengths. How to get your baby to take great naps. This post walks you through how long baby should be awake at each age and how to know the signs that baby is ready for sleep.

Other Posts to Help you Figure out “Optimal”

Some were linked above, but I will link all of them here also.

Valerie Plowman

Follow me over on Instagram to get the latest on our lives and helpful parenting tips on everything from babies to teenagers. Follow me @thebabywisemom

Frequently Asked Waketime Length Questions:

  • Ruth Lee said…
    My name is Ruth Lee McLain and I have two boys. Hudson just turned 3 and Landon is 6 months. I have been trying to follow the BabyWise program since Hudson was a baby and it has been so helpful. I wish I had written more down so that I would remember how to do things with Landon. 🙂 Landon is down to 4 feedings a day, but I am struggling with nap times. He is waking up between 6:30am and 7am and then he eats every 5 hours: around 12 for lunch, 5 for dinner and then 9:30 and down for the night. About how much wake time should he be getting? I have also been concerned that I might should start putting him down earlier at night, but I would like your thoughts. I would appreciate any advice. 🙂


    Plowmanators said…
    I agree with writing down–you don’t realize how much you will forget! As for waketime, that is going to have to be something you will need to figure out for him. At that age, my daughter had waketime for 1 hour, while my son was 2 hours. Since you are on a longer schedule, you might even be able to go longer; however, I think 2 hours would likely be your max for a six month old. I would start to put him down for bed earlier and see how he does. Earlier bedtime is always nice 😉

  • Todd and Noelle: Could you (or anyone else reading) give me an idea of average waketime lengths for a 5 month old? I have tried putting my son down earlier, AND keeping him up longer…nothing is consistently working. He is taking up to an hour to fall asleep, and sometimes waking after just 45 minutes. I have a 2 year old who would get very overtired and not sleep well in her first few months of life, after that she could handle longer waketimes and they did not seem to disturb her sleep. My youngest has always been extremely laid back and happy – a great sleeper until several weeks ago. I am trying to keep feeding times consistent as I mess with his naps. Any advice on average waketime lengths would be great!~Noelle

    IzzysMama: Noelle, these are times I found listed on another website…maybe they can help. My daughter’s wake time is not as long as what this says it should be for her age, so as with everything else I just remember every baby is different and use this as a general guide.Newborn 50-60 mins1 month 60 mins-hour and 152 months 1 hour and 15 – 20 mins3 months 1 hour and 20 – 30 mins4 months 1 hour and 45 – 2 hours5 months 2 hours – 2.25 hoursLate 5 months/early 6 months 2.25-2.5 hours6.5 – 7 months 2.75-3 hours. Some are getting more.8 – 10 months 3 – 4 hours. Some are getting more.11 – 12 months 3.5 -4.5 hours. Some are getting more if moved early to 1 nap

    Plowmanators: Some information I have lists 45-75 minutes for a 5 month old. At that age, Kaitlyn did 1 hour. I think Brayden was closer to 2 hours, though I don’t remember for sure. From what I have heard, I would say 1-2 hours is more accurate for a 5 month old. In calculating waketime, consider your schedule and nap length needed. If you are on a 3 hour schedule and baby takes a 2 hour nap, then you have 1 hour waketime. If baby takes 1.5 hour nap, you have 1.5 hour waketime. Even on a 4 hour schedule, the shortest a nap should be is 1.5 hours, and up to 2.5 hours. If baby is a 1.5 hour sleeper, that would give longest of 2.5 hours waketime between wakeup and nap one and also nap one and nap two. If nap three is dropped at the time, then you could have a longer waketime period in the day (up to about 4.5 hours). However, the youngest you drop that third nap is 6 months. Good luck figuring out the right waketime for your baby! Each baby is so different, so take these numbers and consider them, but don’t be concerned if they don’t match up with what your baby really needs.

    Plowmanators thanks Izzysmamma for your input!

    IzzysMama: You’re welcome, although your estimate of 1-2 hours sounds more accurate then the list I gave. I had a question about picking your naptimes w/o sleep ques. How did you decide what time worked? Was it just trial and error.

    Plowmanators: It was a combo a few things:1-knowing how long she should be sleeping (the ranges)2-knowing her sleep type. She is a sleeper, so she has always slept on the longer end of the spectrum.3-then trial and error. Taking the first two into account helped shorten the length of time trial and error went on. But it repeats itself each time she needs to increase her length time.

    Todd and Noelle: Thanks Izzysmama and Plowmanators! Hopefully we will find our groove soon before our entire household is run ragged! 😀

    Gabby: My 5/12 month old usually naps on the shorter end of the length they should be, but we are still on a 3 hr schedule. He is usually awake about 1 – 1/2 hours, except in the late afternoon when his nap is usually a 45min power nap. Hope this helps.

  • LEM: I have a question about trail and error for waketimes. If you try to shorten you LO’s waketime for one of his naps and it doesn’t fix your issue does that mean that wasn’t the solution? Or do you need to keep at for a few naps? In other words, how many trails do you need to do in order to conclude that it did/did not work? I think I need to play with my 12 week old’s waketime.

    Plowmanators: I would give it a few days to try it, then try something else. I think in many cases it will be fixed pretty fast, but you just never know. It is a good idea to give it a few tries before moving on.

  • Brynn: I have a nap question. My 2 month old little boy is having some issues. We tried your quick nap fix yesterday morning and it worked awesome. He slept for two hours and I had to wake him up from both naps for his feeding. But when I did the exact same thing for his afternoon naps he only slept for 20 minutes and no matter what I did he wouldn’t go back to sleep. Do babies need longer waketime in the afternoon? Do you have any suggestions on how to get him to sleep better and longer, especially for his last nap before bedtime? Sometimes he can soothe himself back to sleep but he doesn’t seem to be able to soothe himself back to sleep, he is just wide awake! It is really messing up his bedtime too because he gets over stimulated. Any help would be awesome!

    Plowmanators: As they get older, they definitely need longer waketimes later in the day than earlier in the day.Also, expect that last nap to only be 30-60 minutes. That is totally normal.

Need help with naps? Get my eBook here to get baby taking great naps: The Babywise Mom Sleep Guide

The Babywise Mom Nap Guide for great naps

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86 thoughts on “Optimal Waketime Lengths”

  1. I have a quick question about naps–when do babies typically start “dropping” naps? My 11 and 1/2 week old has recently started having trouble with his 3rd nap (after his 1:00 feeding and waketime) and 4th nap (after his 4:00 feeding and waketime, before his 7:00 feeding and 8:30-ish bedtime). I’m thinking for his 3rd nap I need to play around with shortening and/or lengthening his wake time. But for that 4th and final nap before bed, it seems that the maximum he’ll sleep is an hour, which means that even if I put him down at 5:30 (after 90 minutes of total wake time including feeding) he’ll wake up at 6:30, well before his 7:00 or 7:30 feeding. Does this sound to you like this nap just needs to be shorter for him? Is he working toward dropping this nap? He’s a great night-time sleeper no matter how he naps during the day–9 to 9 and 1/2 hours, since he was about 9 weeks old! 🙂 Thanks for your help!

  2. This is great blog. I think all problem of my baby naps lie in waketime. 1. when u say stay happily , it means if I play with her, she will create fuss? but I think she starts to play happily. I am so confused about her nap cues, which I think getting fussy. around 6 or 7 she wakes up for first feed then stay awake at bed for one hour and then sleep and she awake around 9:15. she sleep at night at 8:15. after 12 hrs sleep still she needs nap after 1 hour?As I put her down after 2 hrs and my whole days r bad abd baby is cranky.Do babies cry if I put them earlier for nap?she just sleeps for 35 mins for napand cries all day

  3. I have question about dropping naps. My 11 month old has stopped taking a 2nd nap (afternoon nap). She always easily puts herself to sleep for her morning nap and at night. When I put her down in the afternoon she SCREAMS and if she does ever go to sleep she will sleep a max of 20-30 mins. She doesn’t seem tired for her afternoon nap – which is probably why she fights it – but I feel like she needs it b/c she gets tired and cranky in the early evening. So, I tried doing one nap at 1pm and that helped her in the afternoon but she is tired in the morning waiting to go down (though not too cranky). The problem is she never sleeps as long when I wait until the afternoon to put her down (usually 1.5 – 2 hrs). If she goes down in the morning she sleeps 2.5 – 3 hours). I have tried the one nap at 1pm for a week now. I would love any advice or suggestions!

  4. Rachel,It is normal for him to take only a 1 hour nap for that 4th nap. You can have up to 30 minutes before a feeding time (see http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/03/eatwakesleep-cycle.html). He most likely will drop that 4th nap around 4 months old. It sounds like you are in transition. Good luck!

  5. Kona,It sounds like she is in transition, getting ready to drop that morning nap. But at 11 months, I don’t think she is ready to drop it all together. I would shorten your morning nap first. Take it down to at most 2 hours. Then try your afternoon nap at the same time. You likely need to increase the amount of time before that afternoon nap, but shortening the nap and having afternoon start at the samne time should do it. Good luck!

  6. Thank you so much for this valuable resource. I can’t tell you how encouraging this blog is! My little guy is 6 mo. old. We just dropped his 4th nap and he’s doing well, but I’m having trouble with his waketime. He is only able to stay up for 1hr 30-40 min but he is on cereal 3 times a day. He only naps for about an hour and a half and he is not hungry when he wakes from his nap. His nap schedule is more like a 3 hour sched. while his feeding is 3.5-4. How do I make this work? Any suggestions?

  7. Well, we are still trying to figure out a nap scedule that will work. I went back to 2 naps. But instead of sleeping for 2-3 hours in the am like she did before she is sleeping about 1 1/2 hrs. So, I didn’t have to wake her – she is doing it on her own. The problem is when I put her down for afternoon nap she still cries for long periods. We have been doing this for about 4 days and each day she has cried from 1 hour to 1 hour and 45 mins. before going to sleep and once asleep she has never slept longer than 30 mins. To further complicate the problem she has now started crying before her am nap as well which is something she hasn’t done since she was a newborn. Bascially, somehow she is now not going down well at any of her naps. I’m assuming she started doing this in the am b/c we have let her cry some much in the aternoons. She now cries when we just walk into her room. I really am at a loss since she has been on such a great schedule and easily putting herself to sleep since she was a little baby. Would love any advice to get through this phase.

  8. Johnny Starr,Thanks for your concern, but that is not a hard and true fact for BW babies. I have two children and neither of them have “shown up” in the ER. Feel free to see these posts for my thoughts on BW myths:Combating Babywise Myths: Go Three Hours Between Feedings No Matter What: http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/01/combating-babywise-myths-go-3-hours.html Combating Babywise Myths #2: You have to abandon your child’s needs: http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/01/combatting-babywise-myths-2-you-have-to.html Combating Babywise Myths #3: Your Baby Will Not Thrive: http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/02/combating-bw-myths-3-your-baby-will-not.html Combating Babywise Myths #4: If you need help with it, then it is obviously a wrong thing to do: http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/02/combating-babywise-myths-4-if-you-need.html Combating Babywise Myths #5: Babywise will cause you to lose your milk supply if nursing: http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/02/combating-babywise-myths-5-babywise.html Combating Babywise Myths #6: BW parents call their kids words like “manipulative”: http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/02/combating-babwise-myths-6-bw-parents.html Combatting Babywise Myths #7: Your child will not be interactive

  9. I have a question about these naps and waketimes.My son is 7 weeks old and I am really not sure of what his waketime and naptime schedule should be during the day.He eats at 8am, 12pm, 4pm, 8pm, and 12am. The MON feeding is usually between 4-6.What should his schedule during the day look like.I don’t know how many naps he is supposed to have and how long after he eats he should be awake. Can you help me?

  10. Lovells, Have you recently changed waketimes? Usually with short naps, the easiest thing to do is to shorten waketime. See these posts:Easy Nap Fix: http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/01/easy-nap-fix.html 45 Minute Intruder: http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/01/45-minute-intruder.html Naps: Troubleshooting: http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2007/12/naps-troubleshooting.html

  11. LanesMommy,At 7 weeks, waketime should be around one hour total. He should have a nap after every feeding/waketime. You also want to do a 3 hour schedule until nighttime feedings are gone. See this post for more:Sample Schedules : http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/03/sample-schedules.html

  12. My daughter was sick for a week and got off schedule and now I am struggling with her 2nd nap. Some days she wouldn’t take it then take a long 3rd nap. Today and yesterday she cried for about 30min but then slept 1.5hrs, which is her regular amount. The problem though is that she doesn’t cry at naps when I get her down at the right time, so I know something’s not right. Since she slept long enough I wasn’t sure how to start troubleshooting. Do you think I should first try extending waketime or should I shorten it?In your opinion what’s the average period for extending waketime during a babies 1st year? Such as every 3months…? (does that make sense?)

  13. I have a 5 week old baby and he is only awake long enough to feed him and maybe change a diaper. (30 to 40 minutes. But then he goes to sleep nicely at this point. He yawns and gets all stary eyed at this point so that tells me he needs to sleep. We don’t really have any other type of interaction other than this is that ok? Does the wake time that you suggest for this age of baby include the time it takes him to fall asleep? (grunting, passing gas, and crying if he needs.)One other quick question. It’s a little off topic but can he nap for up to 2 and 1/2 hours in the daytime? Thanks Erin

  14. Hi i have a 13 week old daughter her optimal awake time is 30-40 minutes more like 35 minutes she eats for 10 minutes then have a nappy change and then some ind playtime for 5 min or a sit in the bumbo chair or tummy time and then some 5min chat with me then after 30-35 minutes she starts to get fussy and she sucks on her fingers then i know i must start with my 3minutes naptime routine which is a lullaby! if i wait longer than 40 minutes she will not sleep the full 2 hours and wake up after 45min crying she goes down for naps without a peep as long as i dont swaddle her to tight so that she cant get to her fingers she needs to suck her fingers to go to sleep! my question is is this normal of a baby that age to have such a sort waketime! she develops quite well she started rolling over at 2 months she can sit in her bumbo chair just fine with her head wobbling only on occations she is gaining weight well and she sleeps 8 hours straight at night! but im still worried cause she is so below the average waketime lenght! i just need assurance! and my last question is about the finger sucking is it ok of she is really dependant on her fingers to go to sleep?

  15. Myra,The waketime length is fine 🙂 Just go with her needs and all will be well.As to finger sucking, I think it is fine and BW does too. So I would let her keep them 🙂

  16. Thanks for your blog – it has brought a lot of peace of mind these last few days. My baby is 5 weeks old. QUESTION – does waketime include feeding time or the time we spend nursing? Thanks, Sheri

  17. Sheri, yes, wake time does include the time you spend feeding/nursing. With a baby as young as yours, there often isn't much time during wake time to do much besides feed and change a diaper!

  18. You are welcome Sheri. Thanks for the thanks. And Jennifer was correct; waketime includes feeding time (Thanks Jennifer!)

  19. This blog is really fabulous, and a huge help. I have a 5 week old. She is generally a strong sleeper. Her schedule is generally:7am 10am1pm4pm7pm10pmDown – and either 2 and 5 or just 3:30When she goes down easily for a nap, she sleeps for 2 hours with no problem and I usually have to wake her to feed. However, about once or twice a day (out of her five intended nap times) she will fuss and fuss and never really nap. It usually happens after the first morning feeding and/or the 7:00 or dinner time feeding. Her wake time is usually right around 50 mins (when I try to put her down, but if she is fussy I have to calm her 2-4 times in the next half hour). I have tried shortening her morning wake time, but maybe too much. Not totally sure what to do, but from reading all of these things, I think I need to try shorter wake times at those times maybe? Do babies sometimes just skip a nap? If she is awake and alert but calm, do I need to try to make her sleep? Obviously if she is fussy, she needs to be sleeping.Many many thanks for all of the help on the site.

  20. I love your blog, and wanted to thank you for it!I also am having a really hard time with my daughters afternoon nap and was looking for some input. She is 12 months old, and she was doing a 30 min am nap then a 1.5-2 hr pm nap and 12 hours of night sleep. She then started taking about 1 hr to go down for her am nap, which lasted until I began putting her down 10-15 mins earlier for that nap. Then not only was she falling asleep right away but she would sleep for a lot longer than she ever had in the morning 1-2hrs. Then she started taking longer to fall asleep for her pm nap. I moved the wake time from 3hs to 3.25 hrs and that fixed it for a week but then she started taking a long time again. Now I can't seem to find the right amount of awake time between her naps. I thought that she was ready for one nap, but anytime I put her down for a nap past the 10am mark she'll cry before sleeping, cry upon waking and only sleep 30-45 mins. For about 2 weeks now she's been taking one nap in the am anywhere from 30mins to 2 hrs and then no pm nap. We've been trying to get her to bed early, but now she's up every morning at 5:45am when she used to sleep until 7am.I limited her am nap to 30 mins today and only gave her 3 hrs of wake time before the pm nap, it took her 1.5 hrs to go to sleep and then she was up 45 mins later very cranky. I'm going to be putting her to bed early…I just am not sure what else to do? We're stuck in this vicious over tired cycle! Thank you for your help.

  21. I have a 14-month-old and have been doing Babywise since birth with him. Naps are a little different over the past several weeks… wondering if he's just trying to drop the morning nap. He sleeps a solid hour in the morning and then I don't know how long to keep him awake until the next nap because he's really only sleeping about 1 hour for the afternoon nap. He is an a-typical Babywise napping baby – has always had much shorter naps than what I've seen with my friend's children and what I've read about your children. Do you have any guidance for me in regards to naps, the morning nap being dropped or not, or allowing the afternoon nap to be longer?

  22. I accidentally posted this on the wrong section (I deleted it there)…please help!My questions is on waketimes: I have a 16 week-old daughter and we have been doing Babywise since day one. She started out a great little napper and would always sleep the entire latter 2 hours of the 3 hour cycle. She is now sleeping from 7:30 pm until 7:30 a.m. My problem now is that I feel like her waketime should be a little longer because of a. her age and b. her naps have shortened and c. i can never get out of the house with her to get anything done. However, she still shows me sleepy signs after about 50 minutes to an hour so for me to keep her awake so that her shorter nap gets her to the next feeding, she gets overtired. So I continue to put her down after 50-60 minutes. She falls right to sleep unassisted. The 45-minute intruder has made its way into our home (I hate him!) and we have been trying different strategies to deal with this: CIO (which never works b/c she will be escalating her crying even after 40 minutes and that is my personal limit), experimenting with shorter and longer waketimes (still wakes after 45 minutes), feeding right before naptime (even though i only did this a couple times to make sure she wasn't waking up hungry – it threw the rest of the day off to do this), and "wake to sleep" from baby whisperer, which actually worked for one nap yesterday. Anyway, my question is, if she can only stay awake for an hour to 70 minutes max without getting overtired, what do I do with the remaining hour and 15 minutes of the cycle? After she's been CIO for 40 minutes and i finally get her, I usually keep her up til the next feeding but then she's super tired and then I have to put her right back down again after she eats. Then the whole day is a crap shoot. She had been still taking good morning naps and now the 45-min intruder has sneaked his way into those as well, so the whole DAY is off. I feel bad complaining since she is STTN and is a happy baby, but when she only sleeps 45 min for all of her naps and everything gets thrown off, she gets MUCH more cranky as the day goes on (and so do I!) – also, I read that your McKenna has only 50 minute waketimes as well. Even on the best of days when my LO makes it through her naps until the next feeding, how do you ever get out of the house? The whole waketime is spent eating and usually changing a diaper, which leaves 15 or 20 minutes for play and then she's sleepy. I have thus become house-bound and it is driving me nuts. If I had a crystal ball and knew somehow that she would be able to lengthen her waketimes in the definable future, I'd be able to make it as a hermit, but I just don't see how or when this will happen. I've read Reagan's post on the 45 min intruder as well as the majority of your posts on naps and waketimes, and I still can't figure it out. Thanks in advance for your help! Love your blog!

  23. Erin,For the first nap, she would likely need a shorter waketime. That is usually the shortest of the day.For the last nap, she might need a longer waketime. But it could be shorter, and it might just be that she is having witching hour. There are always lots of possibilities to cover 😉

  24. Mandye, it just takes lots of trial and error. Be sure to take notes of what you do, and I would suggest you give things time to see how they work. Sometimes it takes more than one day to get it right. See also the post "dropping the morning nap transition" or something like that.

  25. Maggie, he is old enough to drop the nap. If you think he is ready, you can always try it and see how it goes. Take note that things can be fine at first, but then go bad after about a week or two. This is because a sleep deficit builds up. So try it for a week or two before deciding for sure–unless he is obviously just not ready for it.

  26. Sally,It sounds like you were experiencing the 19 week wonder week (which starts a few weeks before 19 weeks old). See the blog label "wonder weeks" for more. It is the hardest time period in your baby's first year in my opinion.I have a post titled "going out" which will help. Also, she will extend her waketime. It will happen :)Hang in there!See also the 4 month sleep disruptions info

  27. Thanks for your reply – I couldn't find the "going out" post. Could you post the link? Thanks!By the way, she was 19 weeks yesterday, still doing the 45-minute napping. Hoping this really will pass!Sally

  28. I'm sure this has been asked before, but just for clarification: When do you start to time the wake time? From the time they start feeding, or from the time they are done feeding and are alert? My 4 1/2 week old baby is a slow feeder, and it sometimes, with getting him latched, winded, and latched again, we've been feeding for 40 minutes… When should I start to count the wake time?

  29. Your blog has answered SO many of my questions already, but I have one now that I am stumped on. My 6 month old is still on a three hour schedule, 3 1/2 if I push it. She is sleeping through the night, with a dreamfeed at 9:30. I am about to drop the dreamfeed, and then would like to move to a four hour schedule, but feel that we are so far from this due to her waketime lengths and nap lengths. She currently has a waketime of about 1 hr 15 min. She will then take a nap for about 1 hr 15 min to 1 hr 30 min. This just barely gets us to the three hour schedule, but she wakes up and isn't hungry, just ready to get up. My question is do her waketimes need to be a certain length before I start a four hour schedule? And, how long should she be sleeping during the day at 6 months? Finally, she will often wake up and lay in her crib sucking her fingers for up to 20 minutes before she starts playing in her crib or crying for me to come get her. I know this because I have a video monitor, otherwise I would think she was still asleep. Do I count her waketime from when she wakes up, when she starts playing, or when I go get her? Thank you for being so willing to answer SO many questions. I appreciate your help and your blog!

  30. Jessica,Her waketime lengths don't have to be a certain length necessarily. Kaitlyn's and McKenna's were both short.But if she just won't sleep longer than 1 30, then you will need a waketime of 2 hours to make it to 3.5 hours with a 30 minute wait time after waking up. At her age, time spent in crib isn't minute for minute equal to being out of the crib, but it also isn't the same as being asleep. So count it as being awake, but she should be able to stay awake longer having been in the crib for 20 minutes than if she were out of hte crib those 20 minutes.

  31. Hi Val! I have a question for you about waketime/4 hour schedule. My son just turned 7 months old, and is on a 3/3.5 combo schedule, 5 feedings a day (nursing and 3 meals of solids), and two naps plus a catnap. He used to have 2 hour naps, but hasn't in a few weeks. I tried reducing wake-time by 15 minutes for a few days, and it was much worse – short naps, crying in the middle of naps, crying while going down, etc. He sometimes shows nap cues, but not always, and can usually be awake happily at least 2 hours, and sometimes I put him down at 2 1/2 hours because I think it has just been long enough. He almost always naps 1 1/2 hours (for first two naps). My question is this: I know you say not to push a 4 hour schedule, to let it just happen, but also not to have them up longer than 2 hours. If your child is only napping 1 1/2 hours (which you say is OK too), should his waketime be closer to 2 1/2 hours before we go to a 4 hour schedule? Should I have him wait to eat after he wakes up? Not sure if I should be pro-active about this, or just let it be.Thanks for your help!-Danielle & Colin

  32. If his waketime is progressing naturally and he is sleeping his normal length, then I think it is fine to let the four hour happen. If he only needs a 1.5 hour nap and still sleeps for that 1.5 hours after a 2.5 hour waketime, that is fine.

  33. I have a 3-week old son, so we're new to your blog and to Babywise, but have a couple questions re: wake times. 1) How/where do you count crying/fussing when they go down for naps? i.e. if I put him down after 40 min of waketime, but he fusses for 20 min of a 1.5 hour nap, is that 60 min of waketime? 2) Where is the priority between feed times and nap times? I totally know to feed when he's hungry, but if he is awake through his whole nap (or falls asleep for only the last 10-20 min of it), is it better to let him finish out the nap, or feed at the next scheduled time?3) How consistent should waketimes be? Should we be shooting for the same amount of time every waketime and/or every day?

  34. Casey,1)I calculate waketime for how long before you put them down for a nap. So I would call that 40 minutes. You want to know how long he can be awake and out of his bed before he needs to go back down. There are some caveats to this as they get older especially, and those are outlined in the post "waketime: extending, calculating, etc"2)feed within 30 minutes of a regularly scheduled meal. So if he falls asleep at the end of a nap, give him 30 minutes extra.3)they should be pretty consistent, but it varies from child to child. My oldest daughter had the same waketime all day long. My youngest daughter varied throughout the day (which is a lot harder to nail down). But each day should look the same even if waketimes vary throughout the day.

  35. Are you including feeding time when you give the minutes for waketime? Also, I have a 9 week old son who came 5 weeks early. Should I be going by his adjusted age? This is always a question I am asking myself with the expectations I place on him.

  36. I have a question on wake time. My baby is 4 weeks old and spits quit a bit so I let the food settle for 15-20 minutes after feeding. Does this time count as wake time?He is actually really sleepy after breast feeding and is not fully awake. U have a hard time keeping him up for a full feeding. Should I wake him fully or let him be sleepy. Sometimes when I wake him up fully he gets over-stimulated.

  37. 1st Time Mom,Yes, that counts as waketime.Do what you think is best as far as how much you wake him. Some might get over stimulated, but others don't get stimulated enough.

  38. I have an 8 week old that seems to only be able to tolerate 35-40 minute waketimes. Is this normal? If I keep her up even 5 minutes longer she wakes 45 minutes into her naps every time. 35 minutes just doesn't seem like enough waketime for her age. My first daughter was staying up an hour by now… She also seems to have the witching hour for the last 2 naps of the day but I feel like she does this because she has so little waketime before her other 3 previous naps. We are on a 3 hour schedule and sleeps the rest of the entire cycle for her first 3 naps if I limit her wake time to 35-40 minutes. I would love to know what you think. Thanks!

  39. Mandy, that is very normal. My youngest was that way. I know the worry that she isn't up enough–I had that. But I just told myself to follow her cues. She would be up longer when she was ready for it. And she got there. I don't think she is any worse off for having slept more as a baby–I am sure she is better than she would have been if I had forced her to stay awake. Sleep is so vital in the beginning!

  40. My little guy is just over five months and sometimes shows signs of sleepiness or gives off sleeping cues after only an hour of waketime. Do you think its ok to put him down for a nap that early? Some days he can stay awake longer, but other days he can only make it (happily) for one hour, before he starts to get fussy and tired. Since four months he's been waking out of naps after only sleeping for 30-45 minutes. Perhaps I'm keeping him up too long for his waketime? Also, if I do put him down for a nap after only an hour of waketime, won't that drastically condense his schedule throughout the day? Any suggestions you have would be great! Thank you! 🙂

  41. Kristin, if he is taking short naps, I think one hour of waketime would definitely be plenty. The best thing to do is put him down and see what happens. Keep a log and see how long he sleeps with various waketime lengths.

  42. Thank you for your very helpful blog. I'm new to BW and am trying to work through it with my 3 week old baby boy. We've gotten into a very regular schedule but I'm having issues with nap times. My problem is that he seems to really not like napping. I've tried to minimise wake time but he takes a really long time to nurse (usually 45mins+) and then needs a change, a bath or gets the hiccups and then won't settle. I'm trying to establish a before bed routine of swaddling and then cuddling to sleepiness but as soon as I swaddle him he gets MAD and fights the swaddling. Cuddling sometimes works for a minute but then I end up putting him down because he's angry in my arms. Putting him down often settles him for a few minutes and then the angry cries start again. I often pick him up and it all starts over again. When I try CIO he gets so terribly distressed, after he's worked himself into a real fit for a few minutes he passes out but wakes after only a few minutes and does it all over again and keeps doing this for a lot longer then if I do the up and down routine.Based on this I have a couple of specific questions. How can I encourage a baby to feed faster so that I can get him down for a nap sooner? Is 3 weeks too young to start CIO training? I feel rather wussy about this. Real distressed crying sucks me in (I'm not bad at ignoring whiny cries). When he's older and manipulative I know that I won't have any problems walking away but he seems so young and so distressed. Do you have any other ideas for before bed routines that might help him start to get sleepy before he gets angry? Am I missing anything else?

  43. Rose,Make sure he is eating that full 45 minutes and NOT falling asleep at all. If he falls asleep while nursing, it will severely interfere with the napping.See the newborn blog index (see the tab at the top that says "index by age"). There are posts on keeping baby awake while nursing. My guess is he is dozing.See the post under the CIO index (in the blog index) titled "should you do CIO".See the posts on the 4 S's by Hogg, also, for the before bed routine. Good luck!

  44. I commented on your Scheduling post a couple of weeks ago about setting the baby's wake up time myself. Not only has that been going very well, I have finally learned to respect my 11 week old's optimal wake time. I kept keeping her up until she was fussy thinking that was her :tired sign." Just these past couple of days, I've been laying her down at 55 min when she is perfectly happy, but has given me one yawn. What a difference!! She passes right out with no tears and sleeps for over an hour. This is an improvement to her 40-45min naps that I was getting from her before. I am still tweaking the schedule during the day, but her first feeding and nap cycle are pretty set. We are making progress!! Thanks for taking the time to post everything you do. Your blog has been such an encouragement. 😀

  45. I love this blog, and wish someone would have told me about it when I was failing miserably to implement BW with my first. Thank you Val. All your blogging efforts have blessed many of us who have a hard time figuring this all out. my daughter is 6 weeks old and very alert. She seems more alert than most babies (not bragging, just an observation), and has been since she was born. She also really seems to like sleep, as even since the first couple nights home from the hospital she was going 6 and 7 hours before waking me up to feed her. Ive not been able to figure out her nap cues yet, or her optimal wake time, but yesterday started to keep a log. So my dilemma: she doesn't seem to have nap cues. She is very happy the entire time she is awake through out all wake times of the day, and when I put her in her basinet in my room she lays awake with out crying, but instead just looking around or even just focusing on one object, like the wall of her basinet. When she does cry it is for a minute or two and then she is quiet and peacefully looking around. Sometimes she doesn't lay there still, and looks like maybe she is trying to escape her swaddle, but is still not fussy. She will do this, just laying there still or wiggly, for 30+ minutes until she falls asleep at about an hour after waking up. Yesterday I gave her a wake time of 45 minutes for each one. She woke an hour into her first two naps crying, but went back to sleep. My question is: is it possible that she doesn't need a shorter wake time, but maybe a longer one with more stimulation? So far her wake time generally consists of: smiling at mommy, watching her brother run around, and focusing on objects around the room. She previously was being put down at 40 min waketime, but she has always done this 'no nap cues and lay awake in her crib content' thing. My husband made the comment awhile ago the he feels bad for her when she is just laying there wide awake, and I agree. I can't figure out what she really needs. I don't know how long to try out a wake time of 45 minutes, if I saw that yesterday it didn't change anything and she woke up part way through her nap. How long would you recommend me trying this length of wake time? I have noticed that while laying in her basinet, when the one hour after waking mark hits, she yawns. Could it be that I really do need to give her a longer waketime with more stimulation? Is that yawn her nap cue, but because I put her down to early I never see it? I'm afraid of trying too quickly to lengthen her nap time to that hour mark, but I also would like to spend more time with her if she is ready for it. I hope this isn't too long or confusing. I really could use some help, especially if anyone has experienced this themselves.

  46. Update: wow keeping a detailed log is like the key to success!So a few days ago she had a 50 minute WT, not by my choice, but her's, and that was that! I have finally figured out, at least for now, what her OWT is. And because of the log I have figured out her nap cue. I was totally missing it before, because I was putting her down too early to find out what it was. It so happens that her cue is restlessness. She will be very still and content, and then as soon as 50 minutes hits, she grows restless. She also likes to give these half hearted yawns. I've also learned that I absolutely can not let her doze while eating (reading something in one of your posts help me realize how important it is to not allow that), or else she simply won't eat enough to fall asleep, or stay asleep. I decided that the log is so beneficial to me 'learning' her, that even though I feel it has accomplished what I needed, I'm going to do it at least another week. I'm pretty sure she went through a growth spurt, so at least a couple of days were not 'true' to how she is. Also, with having a toddler to take care of, the log is a great way to learn my baby quicker, as a toddler makes it impossible to devote all attention to a baby. I just wanted to update, so that whenever you came across my question, (or anyone for that matter), you could take the time you would have used to answer it, and instead help another mommy who is in distress. I also just wanted to put up this post so that maybe another mom could be encouraged, if they found they had the same problem going on. Oh, and she went 15 minutes shy of 8 hours between feedings last night! Woo-hoo!!!Thank you again for your blog. I really appreciate your discipline to keep up with it and BW with your children :). God bless you and your family.

  47. The ODs!!!! You are welcome! Glad to help.Yes, I think it is possible she needs a longer waketime and/or more stimulation.Oh, saw your update! I love your testament to the log. I think they are crucial. I track everything for at least 3 months–seriously. Thanks for the update!

  48. Couple of questions. 1) When do you suggest going to a more clock schedule (meaning naps are a set times)? 2)If I have still not completely figured out her waketimes, is a set clock schedule ok? I'm just curious because my little girl is 8 mo and 1 wk and I have had a rough time completely figuring out her waketime lengths. I might get one figure out and then the others will get messed up. Her first waketime is short for her age (only at about 1.5 right now). I had a few people suggest that a more by the clock nap schedule is more appropriate right now and might help her settle into a better nap routine and nap past the lovely 45 minute intruder. Thanks!

  49. Not sure if my comment posted befor so I'm going to post it again just in case. Couple of questions. 1) When do you suggest going to a more clock schedule (meaning naps are a set times)? 2)If I have still not completely figured out her waketimes, is a set clock schedule ok? I'm just curious because my little girl is 8 mo and 1 wk and I have had a rough time completely figuring out her waketime lengths. I might get one figure out and then the others will get messed up. Her first waketime is short for her age (only at about 1.5 right now). I had a few people suggest that a more by the clock nap schedule is more appropriate right now and might help her settle into a better nap routine and nap past the lovely 45 minute intruder. Thanks!

  50. Great question, Lenon! I'm wondering the same thing! I don't feel like any of the Babywise books, even Pretoddlerwise, give information about when to switch to by the clock naps! I've had a heck of a time figuring out nap times and a consistent schedule with my short napper, who is now 13 months! Val, would you considering doing a post about this topic? : ) Thank you for all of the questions you've answered thus far! : )

  51. Lenon,I think you can go to set nap times maybe as early as 6 months, for sure by 8-10 months. 6 months you might be able to do most of the time, but you would still need to reconfigure for short naps and possible growth spurt interruptions. By 10 months you can usually just stick with your regular nap times except when sick.

  52. I have a 2 and a half week baby boy and I am having difficulties planning out a waketime strategy. My baby eats roughly every 3 hours: 12 a.m 3 a.m, 6 a.m, etc.. We are feeding by bottle, so each feeding takes about 10 minutes where he feeds on 3 oz of either formular or pumped breast milk. I usually change his diaper before his feeding which takes about 2-3 minutes. That being said, each 3 hours he is easily up for 15 minutes when considering feeding and diaper changes. He is not a sleepy baby and has no problems staying awake after a feeding. All that being said, how much "extra" should I entertain him after each feeding before putting him in his crib? An additional piece of information is that I am constrained by one wake fime occurring each night from 12:00 a.m to 3:00 a.m after his 12:00 a.m feed time. I'm not sure there is anything that I can do about this excessive long wake time window of fuzzing action since he usually has a big bowl movement around 2:00 a.m. I'm only guessing his bowl movement is what keeps him up for 3 hours, but who knows it might be do to my poor waketime strategy during the day. Any help on this waketime strategy issues for my 2.5 week old would by (very)^99999 appreciated.

  53. Hi Val,I hope you can give us some advice… Our son is now 6 and a half months and has just moved to a 4hr schedule plus dreamfeed. We are all happy with the new schedule, but we have problems with naps and early waking. He has never consistantly napped well and often wakes after 35mins (this is when he transitions). He has always been a very alert baby and people tell me he therefore needs lots of stimulation!He started solids 2 months ago and is established on 3 meals a day – he eats lots! Plus he now has a full 9oz bottle of milk at bedtime. I stopped breastfeeding about a month ago and he now has formula for all his milk feeds.We start our day at 7:00am and he is happy to wait until then if he wakes early, but he is waking at 5:30am – 6:00am so takes his 1st nap around 8:00am. If he manages to transition then he'll sleep for 1hr 10mins, waking up around 9:00am. We then end up stuck in a Wake-Eat-Sleep routine for the rest of the day and have coinciding eat and nap times! He ends up going down late and having short naps! He has 3 naps a day, but some days he has 4 20-35min naps just to get him through the day, but I know he's not getting good quality sleep. The last feed is at 7:00pm and he is in bed by 7:15pm, asleep by 7:30pm.Is there anything we can do to help him sleep longer in the morning? We don't want to extend his bedtime or take more sleep from him during the day.We are also trying to figure out his optimal waketime, but it seems to change through the day and from day to day that's hit or miss if he takes a good nap. We've tried putting him down at different wake lengths between 1hr 45mins and 3hrs! Once he takes a good nap we try it again and it doesn't work!Do you have any suggestions? We are tired and frustrated and find it hard to enjoy our beautiful baby when he doesn't sleep! Thankyou xx

  54. New Mom,He is likely up in the night from day/night confusion. You want him to learn that day is day and night is night.For his age (now about 3 weeks), he should be up for about 30-40 minutes total. Not all babies that age will be up after every feeding. No extra waketime for the night feedings–start with the 6 AM feeding. He should start stleeping at night as you add waketime to the daylight hours. I also have additional posts on day/night confusion and on waketime. See the newborn blog index for those. Good luck!

  55. Becky, at this point, I would try set nap times each day. So I would say he naps at 9 AM each day and 1 PM each day, with a possible 3rd nap in the evening sometime (around 5 PM). Many babies that age can handle this.If this seems like he is up too long, try 8:30 and 12:30 instead. Let me know how it goes!

  56. Hi Val,Thanks for your advice. I wanted to let you know what we've been doing… When I wrote, our son (Samuel) was 6.5 months and was taking varying lengths of naps and was totally unpredictable after moving to a 4hr routine. With hindsight we saw that some nap disruption had been caused by him learning to sleep on his tummy. I also realised that although his feeds had moved to 4hrs, his naps were still in line with the 3hr routine. Initially I hesitated to start him on set naps as I didn't think he was ready.When we looked at his 1st nap it became apparent that he needed to be up for at least 1hr regardless of when he woke to avoid understimulation. We therefore mostly put him down at 8:15am after getting him up at 7:00am. After he turned 7 months I tried a few times with the 1st nap at 8:30am, but it didn't work well – he would sleep only 20mins or not at all! I moved the 1st nap back to 8:25am and that worked fine :)Here's the routine we had:6:00-6:30am Sam usually wakes up7:00am Feed8:15-8:25am 1st nap (usually awake and up by 10:00am)11:00am Feed11:30-12:00 2nd nap (usually awake and up by 2:00pm)3:00 Feed3:30-4:00pm 3rd nap (usually awake and up by 5:00pm)7:00pm Feed (milk only)7:15-7:30pm Bed10:00pm DreamfeedI accepted that it would take a while to bring his naps in line with the 4hr routine and get back into an Eat-Wake-Sleep pattern. In the last 2 months I've seen his optimal waketime go from 1.75hrs to 2.5hrs and beyond. During this period he has been getting on average 2-2.5hrs of naps per day. He doesn't seem to need all the sleep that BW suggests and I've come to accept that. He also would never take 2 good naps in a row (of 1hr+). If he had a good 1st nap the 2nd nap would be short – on these days he would certainly need a 3rd nap. If the 1st nap was short then he usually played catch up and had a good 2nd nap – on these days he could sometimes go without the 3rd nap, but go to bed early.Now that he has reached 8 months he is ready to drop the 3rd nap and he is also able to stay awake much longer (2.5-3hrs). We are now dropping the 3rd nap and moving him to 2 set nap times (roughly 9:00am and 1:30pm). I'm allowing a few weeks to settle him into this change and hope we don't get too many other disruptions from crawling and teething! We are also still doing the dreamfeed as he is showing no signs of wanting to drop it yet!To characterise Sam a little – he has always been a very awake and alert baby right from birth. He is a very big baby and has shot up the weight chart since starting solids (now weighs 26lb at 8 months). He has excellent nighttime sleep after the dreamfeed. He is happy and always on the move!I also just wanted to say thank you for this blog 🙂 It has been a real Godsend to me over the last 8 months and I'm glad I found it early on. All the posts on here are so helpful and supportive and provide a much-needed real-life approach to Babywise!

  57. Beky,Thanks for sharing all of that! I am sure that will be helpful for someone to read. And you are welcome for the blog 🙂

  58. Question…I have a ten month old. She goes down great for her morning nap, and sleeps 1hr and 20 min. Having a rough time figuring out when to put her down for her 2nd nap. I have tried pushing back her nap in ten minute increments from 1:45 till 3:00. It takes her anywhere from 45 min to 90 min to fall asleep(she just plays and talks in her crib). Suggestions please? In the mornings She wakes around 7:15-7:30 and goes to bed 7:45-8:00.First Time Mommy

  59. A few more details…I feed her at 7:30,11:30,3:30, and 7:30. She hasn't been getting up from her 2nd nap until 5 or 5:15, so this has thrown off her feeding schedule as well. She goes down at ten for her first nap and sleeps until 11:15-11:30.

  60. First Time Mom,At that age, I basically follow a "two up two down" thing. So she is up for two hours, sleeps for two hours. Up for two hours, down for two hours. Then up until bed. You could maybe stretch that to up for 2.5, down for 2 (or 1.5 if that is what she needs), but you want to stick to four hour feedings right now as much as possible. You could shift things so you had 4.5 hours, 4.5 hours, 4 hours, and 3 hours.

  61. Does the optimal waketime include the feeding time? So for example, if I spend 30 minutes feeding my 2 week old, then he only has a 15ish minute "play" time? Is that correct?I am so glad I found this blog! What a wonderful resource!

  62. I have read a lot of this blog and find it extremely helpful very glad I ca,e across it. I did baby wise with my first baby who is now 2.5 and I recommend the book to anyone having a baby. But as always each child is different and I have a question for my now 5 week old.The wake time length does that include the amount she is eating? Or am I supposed to be keeping her awake for 40 minutes after she is done eating? Lea is barely staying awake doe the 40 min including the feeding without getting super fussy. It just seems like she is sleeping a lot. And when can I expect her to start being more interested in playing and staying awake longer?Thanks for your help.Emily

  63. Ok I need encouragement and advice! My baby girl started sleeping through the night at 7 weeks or soWe are on 6 feedings a day and dr says her gaining is great. We do 7 to 7:15 than 10(ish) 1(ish) 4 cat nap 5 to 6 . Eat at 6 and awake til 8 (but we go back and eat at 7:30) Well now for two days shes so off and waking in middle of all naps and i dont think its hunger. I do think her wake time needs to be extended from 60 min. But when we are off its so hard to adjust. Shes nine weeks now. Any thought or advice on schedule! Please

  64. And one more… When do you know to drop cluster and go from 4/6/8 to 4 and small 40 min or so cat nap to 7 feed and bed? Than it would drop her to 5 feedings. She has never taken a dream feed. Out like a log even if i try to wake her

  65. She is right around a common wonder week age so it might just be that. I would try to feed her when she wakes early to see if that is it. If it is, she will eat well. If not, try to just soothe her back to sleep when she wakes early. If you do think she needs more waktime, start by adding 5 minutes. Try that for a few days to see if things improve.

  66. I have a question about merging and waketimes. My son is 10 weeks and he is currently on a 2.5 hour daytime schedule. He sleeps at night from about 9:00-11:30 (night feeding), then from midnight until 7:00. The next merge calls for the nighttime feeding to be eliminated, but the book says that BFing mothers in their 30s (that's me) can keep the night feeding to maintain supply. I'd like to do this, but I'm wondering if I should try to merge one of the daytime feedings instead. Is it too early for this? It seems like it would have to be around 3.5 hours for his morning and night times to stay the same, and that seems way too long. He's also a 45-60 min napper, so I'm wondering if the merge would help or hurt his naps (I have tried messing with waketime lengths and nothing has helped). Lastly, he's going to daycare in 3 weeks, so if I'm going to try a schedule change, now might be a good time since I'm still home. Any suggestions are welcome! Thank you!

    • If you change anything, I would go for a daytime merge. I wouldn't necessarily move all feedings to be at 3.5 hours. I wouldn't even necessarily drop a feeding. I might do 3 hours in the morning and 2 in the evening. If he naps for 45 minutes, you can't really do longer time between feedings, though.

  67. I am still a bit confused about wake time, and how you factor in the time it takes baby to fall asleep. For example if baby wakes at 7:00am, and I put him down at 8:00am, and he falls asleep at 8:20am. Would that be 60 minutes or 80 minutes of wake time? So if I'm shooting for 60 minutes of wake time, should I have put him down right after feeding, closer to 7:40?

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  69. Hi! Thank you so much for such a helpful site! I have a question regarding waketime. My 13 week old (exclusively breastfed) has been sleeping from 730pm-7am for a month or so now (I pump at 10 to keep up supply). He is on a 3 hour feed schedule starting at 7am with and 7/7:30 bedtime. Until last week this meant 7/10/1/4/7 with 30 min feed 20-30 min wake followed by a 2 hour nap. His waketime seems pretty accurate as he gets visibly tired and distracted and goes down after talking in his crib for 5 mins or so.

    The only inconsistent nap is the last nap which he rarely takes for longer than 45 minutes. Over the past week things have started to change and two things have started to happen: 1. One of his afternoon feeds is very light. He is clearly full and doesn’t want to eat more than a few ounces. The next feed tends to be sooner than 3 hours as a result. 2. He only makes it longer than 45 min for his 1pm cycle nap maybe 50% of the time and only has a very short 4pm cycle nap and generally not in his crib. Also he has been fussing overnight. Do you think this is just a growth spurt type thing? Or do you think he is wants to lengthen waketime and potentially drop a feed? Should I stop him so his feeds are more uniform? He is generally asleep when i go get him from his 7 and 10 Cuxle naps and when I’ve tried he’s slept for an extra 15-30 mins.

    The issue I am having is that with a 3 hour schedule and 5 feeds he has a 2 hour nap every cycle. If I want to lengthen his cycle out then only the nap would get longer since he really starts to fuss if I try and lengthen his waketime beyond 55min-60 mins. It sounds like your daughter had similar waketime, were you in a 3 hour schedule with 2 hour naps? When did you transition to 3.5 or 4 hours? As you start transitioning do you let him get up and play before the feed? I’m just at a loss as it feels like we are moving away to something but not sure how to get there.


  70. Hello, I have a 2wk old baby. Is the wake time including the feeding time? Also if she take a shorter nap say 30mins and wakes up because of a wet diaper. Do I just try to put her back to sleep or do I do anawake time. Seems the past few days she wakes up to soon and wants to feed more often like an hour. Then falls asleep after a shorter feeding. Should I wake her to have awake time or put her to sleep since she napped shorter.


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