When and How to Extend Baby’s Wake Time Length

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How to determine how long your Babywise baby’s waketime length should be. How to know when to extend baby’s waketime length and get a free worksheet to figure it all out.

Baby sleeping all swaddled

Parents often have questions about waketime length. How long should waketime be for my X month old? How do I extend it? WHEN do I extend it?

While a baby will continually extend wake time length throughout the first year of life, extending waketime length is not always the answer, and extending when you shouldn’t or extending too far can lead to continued or more sleep problems. 

The question remains, how do I know it is time to extend baby wake time length?

I am going to give one of the most-despised answers to that.

It depends on the child.

It really does! At 5 months old, Brayden, my oldest, would stay awake for 2 hours. Conversely, Kaitlyn, my second, could not stay awake longer than 1 hour. McKenna, my third, varied from 1 hour to 2 hour waketime as a 5 month old. Brinley, my youngest, varied from 1 hour 15 minutes to 2 hours for her waketime lengths as a 5 month old.

Perfect wake time length for baby is super dependent on the indvidual baby. It is impacted by baby’s natural sleep needs (some are hight sleep needs and some are low sleep needs, while others are somewhere in between). It is impacted by your lifestyle. It is impacted by siblings. More stimulation in life often means a shorter waketime is needed.

So how long can/should your baby stay awake? This is one of those things you are going to have to determine for yourself. Here are some tools to help you out. Be sure to check out my free Wake Time Length Worksheet to figure out if you should extend wake time or not.

Know How to Calculate Waketime Length

Many parents are unsure of how to calculate waketime. Waketime starts the minute baby wakes up and ends the minute baby goes down for a nap. Waketime includes feeding time, even for a newborn. Yes, the time awake is so short, but it is what they need. Pretty soon baby will be staying up long hours and playing with you. It just gets more and more fun.

If you are still not totally sure about how to calculate wake time length, see the post How To Calculate Waketime Length. You will also want to know How To Calculate Waketime Length When Baby Wakes Early

When to Extend Baby's Waketime Length pinnable image

Know When it is Time to Extend Wake Time Length

You can tell that baby probably needs more awake time through a few indicators.

Baby’s Disposition

One big indicator is how long your baby can stay happy. Fussiness is a good cue that your baby is tired (or overly tired) and needs to go to sleep. If your baby can stay awake longer with a happy disposition, he might be ready for a longer wake time length. 

As you consider this indicator, couple it with your baby’s typical disposition. If your baby is they type to go with the flow and rarely fuss, disposition will not help you out a much since baby will probably stay happy well beyond the perfect timing for a nap. Conversely, a baby who tends to get fussy easily will be harder to read.

You also want to take note of baby’s disposition when he wakes up. If he is 4-6 months or older, he will start to wake up happy when nap time is over rather than wake up crying. If baby was waking up happy and is now waking up crying, waketime length might be off (baby also might be sick, teething, or in pain).  

Baby’s Nap Length or Night Sleep

A huge indicator for you when determining wake time length is how well your baby sleeps. A baby who falls asleep easily without fussing and sleeps for 1.5-2.5 hours for a nap has good wake time length.

A baby who wakes after only 45 minutes or who wakes often in the night probably has wake time length off.

Keep in mind that there are many reasons for sleep being disrupted. Wake time length needing to shift is just one item on a very long list. So consider wake time length, but do not hone in on it. Consider the other causes for poor sleep, also. Choose the one you think it most likely is and address it. If that fixes it, great! If not, return to common reasons for poor sleep and choose the next thing you think it could be. 

Read these posts to help you out:

Please note that your baby will need to be able to fall asleep independently for you to be able to rely on nap length or night sleep for waketime length cues. Sleep transitions are common and will cause baby to wake up, and if your baby can’t fall asleep independently, it will make it so he wakes more fully. Read more on sleep transitions here

Read: Tips for Finding Your Child’s Ideal Bedtime

Baby’s Sleep Cues

Another indicator is your baby’s sleep cues, assuming she has them. Not all little ones will show sleep cues, and some who do show “too late” cues rather than showing “time for sleep” cues. Read up on common sleep cues here.

If cues are shifting, there is a chance wake time length needs to shift. Keep in mind that many babies move from sleep cues being accurate to no longer being reliable, so if you think sleep cues are telling you to shift and you shift, but things don’t change, consider the possibility sleep cues are no longer reliable.

Baby’s Time Falling Asleep

A baby who is able to self-sooth but cries or who takes more than 20 minutes to fall asleep might have wake time length off. You want to be aware of how long it takes baby to fall asleep so you know if something changes. 

Some babies just naturally need a longer length of time to fall asleep. They need more time to wind down. 

I always liked my babies to fall asleep within 5-10 minutes of being put down, but if that is now how your baby is, adjust your expectations. The Baby Whisperer says if baby falls asleep within 20 minutes of being put down, wake time length was correct.

Read: What To Do When Baby Takes a Long Time to Fall Asleep

Baby’s Falling Asleep Patterns

If baby is playing before nap time or bedtime, it might be time to extend wake time length.

A good indicator of the child being ready to extend waketime is when she plays in her bed instead of going to sleep. This needs to be something consistent, though. It needs to be that you are putting baby down at a time that has always been the perfect length of time and baby is now playing instead of going right to sleep.

If you put baby down late and baby doesn’t go right to sleep, that just means wake time length was too long. 

If I put Kaitlyn down late, she would often play for a while before falling asleep.

Also, it is important to remember that babies just sometimes have an off nap or even an off day. Do not take one nap or one day as a for sure indicator that your baby’s schedule needs to change. Watch for common patterns. 

But if you are putting baby down the same time every day and she plays for 20 minutes or more every day, then you can bet she is most likely ready to stay up longer.

An exception to this is when there are new skills your baby is working on. If your baby is working on crawling and decides to practice during nap time, then the staying up instead of going to sleep is simply her desire to work on her new skill and nothing to do with her optimal wake time length.

Read up on How to Stop New Skills from Disrupting Sleep here.

Another exception is if baby simply needs more exercise or mental stimulation. Extending wake time length can help this, but you might have to extend it too far to fit in with your feeding times (see below). 

Needing to add exercise and stimulation tends to start around 9-10 months and older. Read up on the Importance of Exercise and Stimulation here.

Optimal Waketime Lengths

Baby’s Feeding Times

Something you need to be sure to take into consideration is the amount of time before the next feeding. You want baby to go down for nap in time to get the appropriate nap length before the next scheduled feeding.

If you are on a 3 hour schedule but your child can stay awake longer than one hour, just make sure they are getting 1-1.5 hours of sleep. If your baby is 9 weeks or older, you want at least 1.5 hour naps. Once you move to a 3.5+ schedule, naps can be 2-2.5 hours in length.

If you are moving to a longer schedule (for example, from 3 to 4 hours), your baby might be able to stay up longer. Other babies move schedules and just take longer naps. It will depend on your baby’s need for sleep and the ability to stay awake successfully.

Baby’s Age

There are guidelines on how long to expect a baby to stay up. A young baby (2 months or younger) can pretty assuredly only do 45-60 minutes of waketime. Remember, weeks 16-24 (about 4-6 months) are called Extended Day in Babywise. This is the time period many babies extend their waketime.

Get a graphic for wake time lengths by age in my post The Cornerstone for Good Naps

Another age consideration is the Wonder Weeks and normal times for sleep regressions. Sometimes sleep regressions happen. It doesn’t mean anything needs to change; it just means baby is getting older and developing. Read up on The Wonder Weeks and Sleep here.

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.

Extending Wake Time Length

Now on to extending waketime. You now know some good aspects to your baby’s day to watch so you can know how to best pin down optimal wake time length. You have considered all of the possible reasons for the poor sleep and feel like wake time length is the thing that needs to change.

Now you want to know how do you know how to extend wake time length.

Remember, don’t force your child to stay up. Wait until they are actually ready to extend. Extending before baby is ready will only lead to poor sleep and a sleep deficit. This is also true if you extend too far. If your baby only needed 5-10 more minutes of waketime length but you added on 30 minutes right away, you will build up a sleep deficit over time.  Read more about a sleep deficit here.

Always keep in mind that sleep begets sleep. People often want to keep baby awake for as long as possible so baby will sleep better at night, but an overly tired baby does not sleep well consistently. An overly tired baby crashes every once in a while and sleeps for a long time, but other times are just fussiness and/or lack of sleeping.

Read: Sleep Begets Sleep

How do you extend wake time length?

  1. Take note of baby’s current wake time length. No matter how good of a memory you have, you will want hard copy notes to look at. Write down what it is now so you know for sure where you started. I do have worksheets in my Chronicles of a Babywise Mom Book of Logs you can use to track wake time length effectively.
  2. Add time to what it already is. I recommend adding between 5-15 minutes at a time. Waketime length windows can be super sensitive, so if you add too much at once, it is very likely you will skip the perfect time altogether. 
  3. Keep notes of your changes. Write down waketime length. Take note of how that new time impacted the indicators listed above. 
  4. Give the new wake time length time. Your baby might respond immediately but might also need a few days to settle in. You need patience here. But go with your gut. If you just know this is all wrong, change it. 
  5. Remember waketime length can change throughout the day. It is common to have the shortest at the beginning of the day and the longest at the end. Some babies are the same all day long. This is just one more factor you need to figure out for your individual baby. Really focus on getting that first waketime length correct and then adjust from there. 

The Babywise Mom Book of Logs eBook cover

Related Waketime Length Posts

Morning Routine Cards
Ultimate Back to School Planner
Overcoming the Mental Load of Motherhood
Chronicles of a Babywise Mom Book of Logs
The Babywise Mom Nap Guide
Morning Routine Cards
Ultimate Back to School Planner
Overcoming the Mental Load of Motherhood
Chronicles of a Babywise Mom Book of Logs
The Babywise Mom Nap Guide
Morning Routine Cards
Ultimate Back to School Planner
Overcoming the Mental Load of Motherhood
Chronicles of a Babywise Mom Book of Logs
The Babywise Mom Nap Guide

Pinnable image for knowing when to extend baby wake time length

Reader Waketime Length Questions

  • gormanhq said…
    My second baby is 4 weeks old and we just started to really try to implement BW yesterday. Although I implemented many of the aspects of BW with my first (now age 3), this time around I thought I would just go with the flow (trusting my instincts–ha ha) and with the holidays, it was too hectic to try implementing the schedule from day one. Mostly all I did was focus on a full feeding and try to get some waketime in. But, our schedule was different each day and varied from 2-3 hours between feedings. Finally, I was fed up and got the book out for a refresher. Yesterday went fairly well as far as starting a schedule, and fortunately this baby goes to sleep on her own without much fussing. However, she has very sleepy times, where it is almost impossible to get her to have any “waketime”. I can usually get her to take a full feeding, but she sometimes just refuses to wake up after. So, she’ll sleep nearly the entire 3 hour cycle, but then she often wants to be up for the entirety of the next 3 hour period (maybe falling asleep only 20 minutes before the next feeding). Then, she’ll be exhausted and want to sleep the next cycle through, starting all over again. Any suggestions on how to break this? How much total waketime should a 4 week old baby be expected to have (ballpark?). Also, though she sleeps very soundly during her daytime naps, she is very restless at night (making it very difficult for me to get any quality sleep). Any suggestions for helping her sleep more soundly at night, or will this just come with time? (for the first 2 weeks she was a bit flip-flopped on her days/nights and seems to still be getting her best sleep during the day).Thanks!
    December 29, 2007 1:25 PM
    Plowmanators said…
    I would say your average 4 week old can do about 45 minutes of waketime. Some may be able to do 1 hour. And not all waketimes are created equal. Some might be longer (evening perhaps) and others shorter (morning). You really do want to keep her awake for waketime so she will be more tired for naptime. I would suggest taking it one waketime at a time like I say in the post, but move faster than one a week. By four weeks you should be close to having waketime for each time period.Newborns do grow out of their extremely noisy sleeping, and mothers vary on how well they can sleep through it. I, myself, am not a sound sleeper, so the noisy baby simply prevents me from sleeping. I use earplugs and can still hear the baby when she cries, but not so much the groans and such.
    December 30, 2007 2:17 PM
    How to determine how long your Babywise baby's waketime length should be. How to know when to extend baby's waketime length, how to calculate baby's waketime length.
  • sarah said…
    Okay, we got the bedtime thing down. Thanks for your advice! We were right there, I just needed the right opinion of a BW mom to help me out! My baby boy (4 mths) has slept from 8-8 two nights in a row! He wakes up a few times during the night but falls back asleep in about 5 minutes so hopefully that will eventually disappear.Now onto naps which I never really thought about even after BW because I concentrated on the feedings so much (1st timer :)). He was napping 1.5 hours after feedings consistently but only sleeping for 45min.-1hour and would only do that twice a day. He was then eating every 2.5-3 hours because of the short naps. I started reading again about sleeping and realized his naps should be longer and he should have 3 naps that last 1.5-2.5 hours. The CIO worked a couple of times after he awoke 45 minutes in, but not consistently. So if I do the math correctly and drop back to 1 hr. 15 min. after feedings to see if he will take those longer naps, and try for a third one, does that mean that he will only be up about 6 hours each day? Is that right and normal? Just seeing if that is correct because I really want my little boy to be happy and well rested and right now, our evenings are NOT that at all! He begins to get really fussy around 6 p.m. and stays that way until we start his bedtime routine. Please share some more advice. Thank you so much. I really have learned a lot from your site.
    January 30, 2008 9:04 PM
    Plowmanators said…
    Congrats on the nighttime sleep! That was a fast turnaround.The exact amount of sleep and waketime for each baby will vary based on individual needs, so you will have to see what is best for him. My first slept on the low end of average for babies, and my second sleeps on the high end. If your is a high end, that sounds about right. I would recommend seeing Easy Nap Fix and then looking at troubleshooting naps, which is linked off of the Easy Nap Fix. Those two posts can give you ideas for fixing nap problems. Good luck!
    January 31, 2008 8:45 AM
    Plowmanators said…
    Troubleshooting naps isn’t referenced in Easy Nap Fix, it is the other way around Troubleshooting Naps
    January 31, 2008 8:47 AM

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Valerie, also known as The Babywise Mom, is the mother to four children. She has been blogging on Babywise and general parenting since 2007. She has a degree in technical writing and loves using those skills to help parents be the best parents they can be! Read her book, The Babywise Mom Nap Guide, to get help on sleep from birth through the preschool years. You can also find her writing at Babywise.life, Today Parenting, and Her View From Home. Read more about Valerie and her family on the About page. Follow her on FacebookPinterest, and Instagram for more tips and helps.

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  1. Krystal
    February 12, 2008 / 1:53 AM

    I was just wondering what everyone thought about babies and television? Should you or shouldn’t you let them watch?

  2. Chandler
    February 12, 2008 / 7:57 PM

    I have just been introduced to your site and I’m very excited to spend time re-studying Babywise. I read the book with my first baby and she did wonderfully. My second baby is not quite on board. Right now we are REALLY struggling with the 45-minute intruder. A concept I never quite understood. She literally is waking up 45 minutes, to the second, into every nap for the past 3 days. She is 6 months old on Saturday and I thought this was supposed to be a problem for younger babies. If I feed her after her 45-minute nap we are on a 2- hour schedule. She has never been shorter than 3 hours. I really need some guidance- Please Help!

  3. Plowmanators
    February 12, 2008 / 9:35 PM

    Krystal,I will do a post on my thoughts on TV. For now, I will just say that Kaitlyn at 10 months watches no TV at all. Brayden didn’t start until he was 18 months old, and is restricted on his time in front of the TV.

  4. Plowmanators
    February 12, 2008 / 9:40 PM

    Chandler,BW says to approach 45 minute intruder first as a hunger problem. Your baby could be having the 6 month growth spurt. If you feed her right when she wakes and she eats well, then you know she was hungry. If not, there is some other reason. See my 45 minute intruder post:http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/01/45-minute-intruder.html

  5. bethers21
    February 22, 2008 / 3:46 AM

    Val, I just meant to thank you for reviewing all of the goals and guidelines. It will be very, very helpful to refer back to. You definitely put a lot of time and energy into your posts, and it is much appreciated.

  6. Plowmanators
    February 22, 2008 / 4:31 AM

    You are welcome! Thanks for the idea. I have already referred to it a lot when answering questions for people! It is a great resource.

  7. jahanschen
    February 29, 2008 / 11:41 PM

    My son will be 7 months next week. He has been on a 7/11/3/6:30 schedule for 2 months, taking 2.5 hour naps on average (occasionally 2 or 3 hours, if we were at doc appt, etc). About a week ago, he started taking shorter naps. I lay him down when he shows tired signs (usually 1.5-2 hrs after waking), and for the last week, he’s been taking 15-40 minutes to fall asleep! He’s not crying, just talking, playing, rolling around. Then he sleeps for 1.5 hrs in the morning (after finally falling asleep!), 1 hour in the 1st afternoon nap, and 1-2 hrs in the last nap (that one’s length has been unpredictable for the last 3 weeks–might be getting ready to drop it?). I’m keeping a very detailed sleep log and have tried putting him down earlier, later, the same time and it’s still the result–1.5 hrs, 1hr, then 1-2 hours. It’s only been a week, so I guess it could be a brief phase, not a new habit, but I was hoping you might have other suggestions (I read your nap solutions blogs–they are great, but I haven’t found the right solution yet.)I also have another issue, which might be related, I don’t know. He started getting fussy when nursing and I have to fight with him to nurse on the second breast and half the time I can’t get him to nurse long enough to get a let-down! He recently got two teeth and increased his solids intake. Is it possible to be feeding too much solids? I always do them immediately after nursing so he will nurse at his hungriest. I feed him the solids until he stops opening his mouth for more (seemed like a good clue to me), which is usually 2.5-3.5oz babyfood & cereal for breakfast, 5-7oz babyfood for lunch, and 5-7oz babyfood & cereal for dinner.Sorry to write so much, but I love reading your blogs and trust your opinion. I was hoping you’d have some good suggestions 🙂 Thanks!

  8. Plowmanators
    March 1, 2008 / 2:48 AM

    There are always so many possibilities…He could be getting ready to drop the third nap, or maybe he just needs it shortened. If he needs less sleep during the day, he might just be shortening all of them rather than dropping the third.It is also possible that he is teething, though if that didn’t disrupt naps last time, it seems unlikely it would this time. However, I found that the bottom teeth didn’t bother Brayden in the least, but top did. When I had braces, I remember my top teeth never hurt, but bottom did. So it is possible to just be sensitive in the top or bottom and not both.He could also be getting sick.Since he is taking time to fall asleep, my guess would be that he is learning some new skill he is excited over. That is what my kids did/do. They practice instead of sleep. It is also possible that he would be ready more waketime, but you have already tried that.If the issue is teething, I could see that being related to the lack of nursing. I know many say teething shouldn’t interfere with nursing, but I for one can see how it can. Do you question milk supply at all?When deciding appropriate waketime, I would just remind you that each waketime isn’t necessarily equal length, especially as they get older. Certain times of day will be longer than others.Good luck! Let me know if I can be of more help!

  9. jahanschen
    March 1, 2008 / 4:03 AM

    Thanks! It might be that he just wants to practice talking because he’s been pretty vocal lately (& he spent 30 minutes blowing raspberries today, lol!). I hadn’t thought of that. I will also think about making the waketimes different in the morning and the afternoon. Thanks for the suggestion. For his last feeding tonight he ate ravenously for almost 20min, so maybe he’s just distracted during the daytime and wants to play, not eat. Occasionally we have to skip solids and he’ll go 4 hours with or without, so I don’t think it’s supply.He fell asleep right away for his last nap at 4pm today and slept for a solid 2 hours. Do you think shortening that nap will help him sleep better again earlier in the day?Thanks for responding so quickly! I really appreciate you taking time to give me your input 🙂

  10. Plowmanators
    March 2, 2008 / 3:07 AM

    It is hard to say. It is possible, but you would also hate to take away the nap that is going well. You might just give it a bit more time to see if the other naps get better as other things work themselves out. I personally would give it more time before messing with the last nap.You might try nursing him in a dark, quiet room. Some moms have to do that to get the baby to eat quickly and well.

  11. Catherine
    March 26, 2008 / 6:40 PM

    Hi Valerie,Quick waketime question: sometimes my son gets fussy and cries during waketime (abnormal for him) and I will put him down right away. Then he will make sounds in his crib for anywhere from 10-20 minutes, then cry for 10 or so and fall asleep. What does this say about the waketime length?

  12. krystal
    April 26, 2008 / 4:29 PM

    hello again. thank you so much for taking time to help out with babywise. when i had my other 2 children babywise worked, but i had no help and so this blog is so nice to read. my sweet levi (9 weeks) is a very inconsistent napper and i am not sure what to do about it. i have started putting him down about 15 min. earlier and for a couple of days that seemed to work, and it still does for some naps. i guess i have a couple of questions. he falls right to sleep when i put him down, but tends to wake up after about an hour and a half. i think that is too short considering he is on a 3 hour schedule and should be going to 3 and a 1/2 here soon. i let him cry it out and sometimes he’ll go back to sleep for another hour and sometimes not. is that a normal length for a nap and how many naps a day should he be taking. i have him at 3, maybe 4. are we struggling because he is still so little? will he eventually take solid naps like my other kiddos? thank you so much, any help would be great.

  13. Plowmanators
    April 28, 2008 / 1:38 PM

    1.5 hours is completely acceptable–and many moms would be thrilled for that to be their baby’s nap length 🙂 He will get more solid as he gets older. I think most 9 week olds are going to have at least 4 naps. For a 3 hour schedule, naps should be 1.5-2 hours, so if it were me, I would get him up if he had slept at least 1.5 hours. Also, many kids don’t move to 3.5 hours until much older. Also, you aren’t extending until 12-15 weeks, and that is also just a MIGHT in BW. Good luck!

  14. Kate
    April 29, 2008 / 4:27 PM

    My daughter (15 weeks on Fri.) seems a lot like Kaitlyn with her sleeping. She can only be awake for 1 hr. in the morning and for her second nap. I would like to extend waketime before her 3rd nap b/c she never sleeps long for this nap. I’m going to try 5 min. increments, but I was wondering what age Kaitlyn was when she could extend her waketime?

  15. Jessica
    May 13, 2008 / 2:17 PM

    My little girl is now 7 weeks old and has trouble staying awake (and happy) after I fed her during the day. There are times when she will doze when I am burping her and then she will fuss when I try to play with her, etc. for a few minutes and then she will get back into playing and being happy but there are also times when she wants to sleep after she eats during the day and me trying to get her into wake time really upsets her. How do you get a baby to stay awake (and happy) for wake time? She cannot stay up much longer than an hour (including feeding) and she is ready for a nap. I am concerned she is sleeping too much (although it does not effect her at night, she sleeps from 10-5/6 consistently). Help!

  16. Plowmanators
    May 14, 2008 / 5:05 PM

    1 hour is totally normal for her age. Even 45 minutes total would be normal. I know it seems like such a short time, but babies do need a lot of sleep. See this post for more on sleepy newborns, and let me know if you have more questions:Sleepy Newborns: http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2007/12/sleepy-newborns.html

  17. The Rozzells
    July 9, 2008 / 12:50 PM

    My son is 12 weeks old and we started BW when he was 8 weeks old. I ham having trouble finding the appropriate waketime for him. He doesn’t seem to sleep any longer if I shorten his waketime to 1 hour or if I extend it to 1.5 hours. If I put him down after 1 hour of waketime, he plays in his crib for 15- 20 minutes and then goes to sleep. If I let him stay up for 1.5 hours, then he usually falls asleep right away. Either waketime usually results in a nap that is 45-60 minutes. He has one nap a day where he will sleep longer, but other than that they are all short naps. Which waketime should I go with? Or does it not really matter as long as he is happy while he is awake? This obviously disrupts our eat/wakt/sleep cycle, but I am at a loss as how to get him to sleep longer. Any advice would be so helpful. By the way, I have tried every waketime in between 1 hour and 1.5 hours also, and they all result in short naps.

  18. Heidi
    August 4, 2008 / 6:41 PM

    I have a 12 week old and a 3 year old. Baby wise worked wonders with our 3 year old, but our 12 week old is proving very hard to mold into a predicable routine. My 3 year old is very active and loves going out to the park, and play dates. I also enjoy these outings, and there’s also the run of the mill errands that need to be run like groceries or trips to the post office. My 12 week old seems to have a very short wake time (only around an hour) How can we live life and not feel like we are a slave to his nap schedule? On a side, he’s still pretty portable and will fall asleep in his car seat if out and about, but we have been having trouble with him waking up 45 after he falls asleep no matter where he is clearly needing more rest.

  19. Plowmanators
    August 6, 2008 / 4:31 AM

    Rozzells,Are you still having troubles? If so let me know. I just now saw your question 🙁 Sorry about that!

  20. Plowmanators
    August 6, 2008 / 4:42 AM

    Heidi,One thing to remember is that the amount of time you are “trapped” by the schedule is really pretty short in the long run.I am not surprised that he doesn’t sleep more than 45 minutes while out and about, I think that is pretty normal.Here are some posts that should help:Establishing Consistency–Make Sacrifices: http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/02/establish-consistencymake-sacrifices.htmlDealing With Disruptions To Your Routine: http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2007/12/dealing-with-disruptions-in-your.htmlLet Your Schedule Serve You, You Don’t Serve Your Schedule: http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2007/12/let-your-schedule-serve-you-you-dont.html

  21. mkk23
    August 11, 2008 / 11:31 PM

    I know that you probably answer this question somewhere but… I was wondering, when you are calculating waketime do you include feeding time? Also, do you include the CIO time? Today my 6 week old ate at 4pm then looked tired at 4:30pm (woke early from previous nap) so I put him down. He cried for 10 minutes then slept for 10 then cried for 20. Do I include that crying time as wake time? Thanks for your help.

  22. LEM
    August 18, 2008 / 5:33 AM

    I am having the hardest time with my 13-week old son’s naps/waketime. He used to be pretty consitent with his 60 minutes of waketime and 2hr naps (I even had to wake him up myself most of the time). I put him down based on his yawing which was his nap cue and it was always at the 60 minute mark. Lately, this is not the case anymore. His nap cue seemed to dissappear and he would eventually get fussy. When I would put him down at that point I realized that was too late because he would cry when going down, take a short nap, and cry when he awoke. So I decided that I needed to watch the clock instead. Now, I put him down at the 60 minute mark and he goes down no problem. Goes to sleep immediately. But he wakes up early. Maybe 1-1.5 hours into his nap. Then this means I have to put him down earlier for his next nap as he was awake half an hour before he was supposed to. This of course, throws off everything. I have also noticed that although he may not take the full 2 hour nap he goes to sleep immediatly and wakes up happy – but only for the first 2 naps. The third nap is even shorter than the first two and he cries sometime during it. The 4th nap is almost non existent. He basically sleeps for 30 minutes and wakes up crying.What am I doing wrong? I have read through all your nap blogs and can’t seem to figure it out. If he goes to sleep immediatly after being put down doesn’t this mean his waketime was good? Why is it that he goes down so well but wakes up earlier and earlier for each nap as the day goes on? What can I do differently? Sorry this was so long. I really love your blog and your advice has been so helpful to me in the past!

  23. LEM
    August 21, 2008 / 3:54 AM

    I didn’t even think about a growth spurt. He’s never gone through one before but he does seem to be eating more than usual at his feedings. Is this a sign? And just to clarify… if I do feed him when he wakes up and he takes a full feeding, then that means it is a growth spurt and just keep feeding him on a routine more than a schedule correct?

  24. Plowmanators
    August 26, 2008 / 3:22 AM

    It sounds like a growth spurt. Yes, if it is a growth spurt, you feed as often as they need to eat. Hopefully you have seen today’s post now (8/25).

  25. jencwu
    August 28, 2008 / 1:11 AM

    Hi again, sorry I have so many questions! So now that my 5-week-old is starting to get more stabilized with his routine and I have shortened his waketimes from 1.5 hrs to 45-60 mins (apparently I was making a big mistake there!), I thought I’d be happy he was sleeping more and better. And I was initially, but now I’m sort of saddened that I hardly get to spend any time with him and he’s almost always sleeping. All he basically has time for during waketime now is feeding, burping, changing, and a couple minutes of me holding him and talking or singing to him. I feel sad on two accounts: 1, I don’t get to spend much time loving on him and 2, I feel guilty that I’m not spending much time loving on him and that he sleeps so much. It makes me feel like I’m being a bad mom. So I have two questions: 1. Am I doing something wrong (I know this post says 45-60 mins is normal at this age, but am I spending too much time with feeding or changing so that I don’t have enough time to play with him)? 2. Do I have to wait until weeks 16-24 for him to have longer waketimes? Am I just being an irrational, emotional post-partum mom? Thank you!

  26. Plowmanators
    September 2, 2008 / 5:05 PM

    jencwu, it is totally normal for that age. You are doing what is best for him despite your wishes. You are not doing anything wrong. He is getting the sleep he needs for forming brain synapses. You will see amazing results when he is older and playing; you will be so happy you allowed him to get the sleep he needs. I can honestly say I see a huge difference between kids who had sleep as babies and those who didn’t in their intelligence levels. There is a night and day difference. The time will come that he will be awake more and have more time to play with you.

  27. Emily
    September 7, 2008 / 1:12 PM

    jencwu – I used to feel the same way! My daughter had a very short waketime and was horrible at nursng so her entire waketime was almost just her eating. I felt like I was a bad mom too. Don’t worry it gets better. For one, my daughter (7 months now) nurses in about 10 minutes and can have a much longer waketime so we have plenty of playtime. I used to feel discouraged that she wouldn’t have longer waketime until around 6 months but it actually does go by fast and they are so much more aware and active at this age that I no longer even think about when she slept all the time. There really wasn’t much she could have been doing awake anyway! Plus, like everyone says, when a baby is well rested they are able to better utilize their waketime for learning and growing, so it really is for their benefit.

  28. jencwu
    September 8, 2008 / 11:11 PM

    Emily–I would love to see the day that it only takes him 10 mins to nurse! Do you remember when he went down to that time and how it happened? Did he just all of a sudden start taking less time on his own or what? Thank you for your encouragement, it’s nice to know others have experienced and felt the same things! Thanks to you also Plowmanators for your reassurance! I just think it’s so unfair that we as moms have to go through the hardship of learning how to raise a newborn with post-partum hormones confounding everything! 🙂

  29. Emily
    September 8, 2008 / 11:40 PM

    I’m not positive but I think it was around 3 or 4 months. She literally went from taking 30min or longer to eat to eating in 10minutes (sometimes even less). At the very begining it would take around 45min to get her to take a complete feeding and I was so frusturated and just wanted to quit, but now I’m glad I stuck with it. Not sure if that’s the norm or not but I’m pretty sure all babies nurse more efficiently to some degree with age.I know it seems like 3 or 4 months is a long way away (that’s how I felt when anyone gave advice) but it really will come faster than you think!

  30. Emily
    September 8, 2008 / 11:41 PM

    Oh- it took a little trial at first. I would let her quit on her own but if she couldn’t make it to the next feeding then I knew she didn’t eat long enough. For awhile I was trying to force her to eat more than she wanted and I finally realized she was just eating faster and could make it to the next feeding with only nursing 6-10 minutes.

  31. jencwu
    September 9, 2008 / 3:18 AM

    Oops, sorry, I didn’t pay attention to the fact that you had a little girl, not a boy! Well, mine is almost 2 months old now and while yes, 3-4 months seems so far away, I guess it really isn’t that far. I’ll keep my fingers crossed 🙂 I wouldn’t be surprised if he was able to eat that quickly once he gets a little older because he is definitely an efficient sucker. When my husband feeds him a bottle of breastmilk for his dream feed he eats about 6 oz already!

  32. Plowmanators
    September 12, 2008 / 5:39 PM

    I wanted to add that while my daughter eventually got down to nursing for 4-5 minutes total, my son never got faster than 20-30 minutes because he was so easily distracted. Be sure to look through nusing posts for more on that.

  33. Kt
    September 23, 2008 / 10:47 PM

    I have a 7 week old son who doesn’t seem to want to take a good nap. I have him on a pretty good eating schedule of every 3 hours and sleeps about 7 hours at the longest at night, going to bed around 8 and waking up around 3 or 4. However we have a hard time taking naps longer than 45 min. I’ve tried letting him cry it out and its only worked a few times, most of the time he’ll cry for up to 40 min with me checking him and calming him every 15-20 min. What do you do if he just won’t go to sleep by crying, how long do I let him cry, it just seems to make him mad. However even when my husband or I hold him/rock him to sleep he still only sleeps 45 min max normally. Sometimes I can’t get him to sleep within the 3 hour timeline , then he is so tired he wants to sleep right after I feed him. then I usually feel bad he hasn’t slept and let him go to sleep, but he still won’t sleep more than an hour. Of course then he messed up the rest of the day ! Any advice ?

  34. KJackson213
    November 4, 2008 / 4:18 PM

    I have yet another question for you! 🙂 If a baby is trying to extend their waketime, will they be fussy at first? My baby for the last few days will get fussy (and will yawn) in which I will take her into the bedroom, read to her for 5 minutes (its our routine) and then put her in her bed. Then she wont be fussy anymore and she will play. On the weekends, she stays up longer happy, bc her daddy’s home and goes down for a nap really well. So I’m wondering if shes just crying cause shes bored!?

  35. The Parkers
    November 27, 2008 / 2:48 PM

    I am new to this blog and have found it to be extremely helpful and reassuring. I have a question regarding waketime. My 2mo-old is on a 3 hour schedule. He generally gives us yawn cues when he’s ready for his nap, and he’ll get about 1.5 hours of sleep. Over the past week or so, at least once a day he will not get tired (ie, not give any cues) in time for him to get 1.5 hrs of naptime. Should we put him down anyway, so that he’s in bed for at least 1.5 hours before it’s time for his next feed?Also, he often will not sleep (or will barely sleep) during his late afternoon nap. He is supposed to eat at 3p and 6p, but now he consistently will only sleep for about 45 minutes in between and consistently is up at 5:30p and ready to chow. Any thoughts on this?Thank you!

  36. Plowmanators
    December 2, 2008 / 10:19 PM

    KT, I am sorry I missed your question until now! Let me know if you still have questions.

  37. Plowmanators
    December 2, 2008 / 10:20 PM

    KJackson, that would be true for some babies.

  38. Plowmanators
    December 2, 2008 / 10:22 PM

    Parkers, yes, put him down when it is time for his nap. My daughter stopped giving cues all together around that age. If he is hungry at 5:30, feed him. It is common for a baby to need to eat more often in the evening, especially if he is breastfed.

  39. apolena
    December 9, 2008 / 10:01 AM

    Dear friend, my daughter Andělka is 10 months and we started to do Babywise 3 months ago. I´ve done a lot of mistakes. Didn´t realize the late afternoon nap should be dropped first, I decided the second nap of the day is 3:30p.m., because I thought the nap should be before food (her dinner is 6p.m.)So for three months I put her for two naps 10a.m. and 15:30p.m. She seems to me overtired all the time, although there are times she´s waking happy, and times she is happy. She sleeps usually 1hour10mins to 1hour 30 mins. When she slept 2hours, it was a big exception. Now I am reallly concerned about the length of her waketime. She wakes up 7a.m. and her meals are 7:20ish, 12:00, 3:00p.m. a snack, 6p.m. dinner, she goes to sleep around 7:30p.m. I do not understand the thing with sleep cues. She rubs her eyes and yawns after morning waking up – is this a sleep cue? She is pulling ears and hair during the day when it´s not her time for nap. Should I change her time of nap? I do not understand: should the baby go to sleep when she shows sleep cues, or when the clock show it´s time??? How to connect this??? Thanks for any advice. Apolena

  40. apolena
    December 15, 2008 / 9:36 AM

    Dear Valerie,I am really desperate. I don´t know what to do. We changed the times of her naps half an hour earlier, i.e.9:30a.m. and 3p.m. December 12th I put her down at 3for the first time, it worked perfectly, she slept within 10 minutes. Second day the same, she slept within 5 minutes. Third day she slept within 10minutes. fourth day – yesterday – she didn´t sleep at all in the afternoon. She was crying very much so after an hour and 10 mins I decided to give her a nap in my arms – she became completely alert, no nap. So we decided to put her down for night sleep an hour earlier.These were the afternoon naps. Morning naps: November 23th – I put her down at 10, she fell asleep 11:07. she slept 30 mins. Nov.24th – I put her down later, because I was at the doctor´s, she slept within 12mins.December 4th – she fell asleep within 50 mins, slept 20mins, cried, slept, cried, slept, etc…another 20mins.December6th – slept within 20mins, slept Half an hour, cried, felll asleep again for another 40mins.December 8th, fell asleep within 13mins, slept 1hour15mins.Dec9th slept within 2mins, slept an hour, the noise from a neighbour woke her up.Dec10th fell asleep within an hour, slept 1hour 15mins with a break 10mins crying.Dec11th – I put her down earlier for the first time, which was 15 minutes earlier . She fell asleep within 1/2 an hour.12.dec. I put her down earlier at 9:18a.m. because she showed sleep cues. She fell asleep within 30mins.13.dec – put down at 9:55am, fell asleep 10:25, slept 30mins.Yesterday (dec14th) – put down at 9:28, fell asleep within 17mins, slept 1 1/4 hour.Today put down 9:30, it´s 10:30, she doesn´t sleep yet.But today the neighbour was very loud again (reconstruction of her flat).I really don´t know what to do. I worry a lot. It´s my fault. If I put her down in a right time and do the right things before nap, she would sleep. But I don´t know now what time really to put her down. I realize I must stick to one time and not to change it every day. But what about sleep cues???A lot of crying is involved, both mine and the baby´s, and I am so tired of her not sleeping. What can I do???

  41. Plowmanators
    December 15, 2008 / 9:42 PM

    Apolena,At 10 months, you most likely can go by length of time awake instead of watching sleep cues. I think most by 10 months don’t really show sleep cues anymore, though some might. Her yawning could be a sleep cue. (see Nap Cues : http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/03/nap-cues.html).See also this post: Optimal Waketime Lengths : http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/07/optimal-waketime-lengths.htmlSince you have a noisy situation with neighbors, I would consider some white noise for her. Either a white noise machine or something as simple as a humidifier or a fan.At 10 months, my kids had at most two hours of waketime before a nap–Kaitlyn was 1 hour 45 minutes. So if she wakes at 7, I would have her down for her first nap around 9. Then she should sleep until anywhere from 10:30 to 11 (possibly 11:30 if she is really a sleeper. Then give her two more hours (if that is her optimal waketime) before her next nap. So if she got up at 11, she would take her afternoon nap at 1.

  42. apolena
    December 16, 2008 / 7:35 AM

    Dear Valerie, thanks for your advice. But how can I do it in practice?? Last couple of days I am putting her down at 9:30. Shall I suddenly put her down half an hour earlier? Or shall I work on it 5 minutes at a time?Afternoon nap is a more complicated issue: I put her down at 3. How can I move it to 1? Just to do it next day at this time, or move it slowly, and how slowly??? I hope my question makes sense, as I don´t speak English so well. Thanks, Apolena

  43. apolena
    December 16, 2008 / 8:11 AM

    Should she go down for her afternoon nap every day in a different time, according to how she wakes up from her morning nap? If she wakes from her morning nap at 10, should she go down at 12? Another day if she wakes up at 10:30, should she go down at 12:30? Should I move time of her lunch (currently at 12)? Should she eat as soon as she gets up? Next week we will be travelling around our families for a week and I really fear. She has nothing established and we will travel.

  44. Plowmanators
    December 22, 2008 / 10:41 PM

    Apolena, I would just start putting her down 30 minutes early. It might work right away or it might take her a few days to adjust. For the afternoon nap, you could try it at 1, or try moving it back 15-30 minutes every few days.At her age, I would try to put her down at the same time each day for each nap, but also be willing to adjust if needed. If she took a short morning nap, watch her closely to see if she needs her afternoon nap to start earlier.Lunch time sounds fine. You could have it 30 minutes earlier if needed. Possibly up to 60 minutes earlier.See the blog label “traveling” for ideas on making it through that.

  45. apolena
    January 20, 2009 / 9:07 AM

    Dear Valerie, I changed the times of naps. It´s now 9a.m. and 1p.m. It´s no bettter. This morning I put her down – no sleep at all, yesterday morning 40mins sleep (i mean nap), afternoon – none, the other day 30mins morning, 30mins afternoon. My husband is trying to convince me she needs only one nap a day. One day I tried it , skipped morning nap because I had to be at the doctor , she napped in the afternoon only – 30mins! What on earth am I doing wrong? I feel it´s my fault my child doesn´t get enough rest!

  46. Hemsath Family Blog
    January 22, 2009 / 7:37 PM

    Hello. A friend referred me to your blog and I am LOVING it! Thanks for the effort you put into this. I’m on day 3 of CIO with my 8 1/2 week old son (first child). I’m trying to figure out optimum wake time still and keeping copious notes in the process. I’m trying to read through all the posts about it, and on this post you said, “Many moms are unsure of how to calculate waketime. Waketime starts the minute baby wakes up and ends the minute baby goes to sleep. Waketime includes feeding time.” I also noticed that back in August ’08, mkk23 asked the same question I’m wondering, but I didn’t see a reply was ever posted, so I wanted to re-ask it here. How does CIO time factor into waketime? I know this will make my post a bit long, but I”d like to give you an example of the first two cycles of our day and have you help me figure out if I’m calculating this correctly. Example – Jason woke at 6 am. We’re trying to aim for his wake time of 7am. I didn’t get him up right away to see if he’d go back to sleep, but he kept crying, so at 6:10 I got him out and he fed from 6:15-7 (feeding doesn’t normally take that long, but we were both a little sleepy still). Then we read some books and played on the bed for a few minutes. I changed him and put him in bed at 7:30. He cried for the first 20 minutes, then slept from 7:50 until 8:45, with the occasion 10 sec – 2 min of crying interspersed at 5 or 10 minutes intervals. (there was a a good 22 minutes with no cry breaks) At 8:45 he cried again, but it never let up, so at 9:05 I got him out.He fed him from 9:10-9:20 on one side, spent ten minutes trying to wake him up, then 10 minutes on the other side. I burped him, changed his diaper, played with him briefly, noted a yawn or two, and so I swaddled him again and put him in the crib at 10:05. He was playing and gurgling for 10 minutes, cried for 5 minutes, then was out and has been for 70 minutes. For the first cycle, I got him out of his crib at 6:10 and put him back down at 6:20. I used to calculate that as a wake time length of 1 hr 20 minutes. (which is still a bit too long for him I know. I was still waking up so I wasn’t being too efficient myself). So the next cycle, I got him out at 9:05 and put him back at 10:05, wake time length of 1 hour, which is what I was aiming for. However, according to your definition of how to calculate wake time lengths, it seems that CIO time should be including in the wake cycle. So if I go from wake to sleep, then the first cycle really should start at 6 am and have a wake time that lasts until 7:50 when he finally fell asleep – giving us a wake time length of 1 hr 50 minutes. Then he only slept from 7:50-8:45, 55 minutes of broken up sleeping, and then the next wake-time length starts at 8:45 and goes until after his gurgling/crying are over, giving him a wake time length from 8:45 – 10:20, 1 hr 35 minutes. Still too long for him. Since I can’t predict how long he is going to cry/play in his crib before falling asleep, if that time is to be counted in his waketime length, then how do I know when to put him down?! If I wanted a 1 hr wake time length, and he woke crying at 8:45 and fed till 9:40, should I have put him in his crib immediately after his feeding and hoped he would only take 5 minutes to cry himself to sleep? The second cycle seemed to have been timed pretty well if he slept with out interruption for over an hour (great for him!) So does that mean his optimum wake time was 1 hour, as I had figured it w/o CIO, or 1hr 35 minutes, included the crying/playing time. Thanks for your help in clarifying these calculations. I never realized how much of a science project sleep training a child would be!

  47. Plowmanators
    January 24, 2009 / 10:09 PM

    Apolena,No, at 10 months she definitely still needs two naps a day. You are going to have to play detective and try to figure out why she won’t sleep. Is she teething? Is she sick? Is she too hot or cold? There are so many possibilities. See these posts for ideas:45 Minute Intruder: http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/01/45-minute-intruder.htmlNaps: Troubleshooting: http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2007/12/naps-troubleshooting.htmlNap Disruptions: Rolling, Standing, Crawling, etc: http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/01/nap-disruptions-rolling-standing.html

  48. Plowmanators
    January 28, 2009 / 10:40 PM

    Hemsath Family Blog,The best way to go about this is to see what happens after you put baby down for a nap. If baby woke up at 6:00 and you put him down at 7:00, what happened? Did he go to sleep well (definition of well depends on his position in the process). Also, how did the nap go? If the nap was too short, waketime was not optimal. If he cried too much before a nap, waketime was not optimal. So, you want to pay attention to how long it takes him to fall asleep because that gives you cues as to if the waketime was appropriate. You don’t need to try to guess how long it will take him, but do pay attention to it. Does that make sense?

  49. Em @ Bunch of Scrap
    February 17, 2009 / 4:46 PM

    Thank you so much for your site, all my questions are being answered! I have done Babywise with all three of my children and after a 5 year gap I needed some reminders of the Babywise system – your blog is the perfect compliment to the book!

  50. Plowmanators
    February 20, 2009 / 2:46 PM

    Thanks Em! I am glad it has helped!

  51. apolena
    February 23, 2009 / 12:35 PM

    Dear Valerie,she´s 13months by now. Two months ago she started to nap only in the afternoon. It means I put her down everyday twice, 9a.m. and 1p.m. but she never sleeps in the morning. She sleeps only in the afternoon, about an hour. We tried for five days some month ago to put her down only in the afternoon. It was terrible, she slept 30 minutes a day. How can I know I should drop the morning “nap” ??? She slept in the night from 7:15p.m. ish to 7a.m. but last few days she wakes up at 6:00. She is there, talking, and we pick her up at 7. I stopped to accuse myself to be a bad mother that she doesn´t sleep according to the book.

  52. Brynn
    March 24, 2009 / 8:41 PM

    Lately my 9 month olds naps are all over the place. We have consistently had 2 hour naps in the morning and at least 1 hour naps in the afternoon but lately it is all over the place! Some days he will only sleep for 1/2 an hour. I make him cry it out and sometimes he will go back to sleep but usually I end up getting him up. I’m wondering if I should extend wake time. Right now his waketime is 2 hours in the morning and about 2 hours and 15 minutes in the afternoon. He sometimes has a 3rd nap if his afternoon nap was too short. How should I extend waketime? He doesn’t really have sleep cues anymore I try to go off of time. Is he too little to just say that a certain time is naptime and not worry about exact lengths of waketime? Any suggestions on how to get him to nap longer would be great!

  53. Plowmanators
    April 7, 2009 / 5:30 PM

    Brynn, Without sleep cues, the best thing to do is to extend it by 5 minutes at a time and see if that does the trick. But take note that short naps usually mean too long of a waketime, so watch that.

  54. Renee
    August 9, 2009 / 12:15 AM

    Right after my daughter had her first birthday, about one month ago, she started to wake up at various times during her naps. Sometimes her morning nap will be about an hour, sometimes two, and sometimes it can be about 45 mintues. Her afternoon nap which used to be always a guaranteed two hours, is now down to one to one and a half hours. By night time, she's exhausted and going to bed about a half hour to hour earlier, but then in the morning she's waking up earlier too. I've tried letting her cry it out, and it works less than half of the time for the afternoon nap and almost never for the morning nap. In the morning when she is waking up the half hour earlier, she'll just talk and sometimes yell in her crib for the entire time. We did have family in town for two weeks around her birthday time. Is it possible that she's still just having trouble getting back into her routine? I'm at a loss because my son, now 3, has been a perfect babywise sleeper from day one!

  55. Plowmanators
    August 18, 2009 / 4:14 PM

    Renee, it is possible she is dealing with disruptions from visitors. It is also possible that she is experiencing one-year sleep disruptions that are normal for many children. See the nap disruptions blog label for ideas on possible culprits. If you can't find the reason, you will just have to wait it out. She should bounce back before too long.

  56. Lori
    September 16, 2009 / 5:07 PM

    I am so glad I have found this site…I have been dealing with major sleep issues with my 15 week old son. I started Babywise techniques right away but have not had a huge amount of success with it. My son is touchy and textbook. He has never done consistent naps. He does not show sleep cues…I have watched him so closely and sometimes he yawns so I have put him down after the first yawn, 2nd, even 3rd yawn and it doesn't seem to do much.For the past 4 weeks, he has not made it past a 35 minute nap for all his naps (I think around 5 naps in 4 weeks have gotten past 35 minutes). We have tried cutting back on awake time (he was only at 45-50min, so hard to cut back). We also have tried adding wake time with no luck. OCCASIONALLY he will go back down on his own (no AP techniques work for him…no swing, not even arms), but usually not, so then our whole day is off. He has never slept through the night, and in fact, now is waking up more during the night. Last night, we did a DF at 10:30 like we normally do, and he was up at 1. We left him, and he fussed/cried till 2. Then he was up at 3:30 and MAD and hungry so I fed him. Then he was up at 6:20 (always aim for a 7:30 wake up). I just feel like things are a mess right now and not sure HOW to figure out wake time. Because it seems whether it's long or short, he wakes up at 35 minutes!! Any thoughts/advice?? He tends to go down for naps decently, not too much fuss, usually asleep between 5-10 min.

  57. Plowmanators
    October 6, 2009 / 3:26 AM

    Lori, it sounds like there might be something else bothering him. Have you looked into reflux? Does he have gas pains?

  58. LEM
    June 14, 2010 / 10:18 PM

    Love your blog! I referenced it a lot with my first and now here I am again with questions about my second child.My daughter will be 7 weeks very soon. After noting that she cried often when being put down (was fussy before hand)and would wake 45 minutes later, I realized I needed to watch her sleep cues more. I thought her waketime fussiness was due to her reflux but maybe not. So far it seems like her optimal waketime is 40 minutes. She has been falling asleep with no crying and not waking 45 minutes into it. This seems so short for her age though doesn't it? I am terrified she will now give me problems at night since she hasn't in the past!Also, if 40 minutes is what she needs and she is on a 3 hour schedule, that means her naps are 2 hours and 20 minutes. Is that too much naptime during the day since she takes 4 naps?

  59. Plowmanators
    June 18, 2010 / 5:40 PM

    LEM, remember that sleep begets sleep (there is a post on that, "sleep begets sleep"). Also, both of my girls were up for short periods and took longer naps. With Kaitlyn, I did worry and stretched waketime, but with McKenna, I decided to just go wtih her cues and let her nap until it was time to eat. She was by far a better sleeper. So follow her cues.

  60. yolly78bella
    August 24, 2010 / 4:04 PM

    Thank God for Babywise and this blog !!! I have spent hours just enjoying all the trouble shooting advice. I have never asked any questions because I can normally find all the answers in this blog ☺ So Thank you! Here we go with a couple of questions. My son is 18 weeks old is exclusively formula feeding 7 oz 5 bottles a day and is on a 3 to 3 ½ schedule. His normal wake time is about 80-90 minutes. I dropped his dream feed before he started to sleep through the night cause I notice when my husband would not force the dreamfeed he would sleep better. ( I think I was interrupting his sleep) So I dropped it cold turkey 3 weeks ago and he has been STTN from about 7:30 to 7:00. He takes 3 good naps during the day the two first ranging from 1.5 to 2 hours. The third nap sometimes is only 1 hour depending how his other naps went. We recently dropped his fourth nap. Here is where im having some trouble. Because I dropped his 4 nap we have adjusted his bedtime earlier around 7:00 7:30 pm the latest because he starts to get fussy. I would like him to wake up at 7:30 am. If I try to keep him up and put him to bed at 8:00 pm by that time he is overly tired. If I extend his waketime in the evening and put him down at 8:00 will he wake up at 7:30. He is sleeping the 10-12 hours that baby wise says on the high end so im not sure if im asking to much to get and extra 30 min out of him. ☺ At what age do they extend there wake time? Is it to early to push forward to a combination 3 ½ to 4-hour schedule? If I do this will I have to drop down to 4 feedings? Thank you so much

  61. yolly78bella
    August 24, 2010 / 4:08 PM

    One more thing sorry .. Is it ok if his last two feeding either at 4:30 then I would feed him at 7:30 before bed fall under the two hour mark? I do this because he gets to fussy if i wait to put him down at 8:00

  62. yolly78bella
    August 26, 2010 / 5:14 PM

    your a saint for helping all of these mommies out thank you so much. Last question promise: What if your on a 3 1/2 hour schedule and the baby wakes up from his nap 30 min earlier (happy) do you feed right when they wake up or should I wait that 1/2 hour.

  63. Plowmanators
    September 3, 2010 / 5:55 PM

    It isn't too early to do a 3..5–4 hour age wise so long as he is ready for it. But it will take you to 4 feedings.Do feedings how they work. But I am unsure what you mean by feeding at 4:30 and 7:30 falling under two hour mark–that is three hours so i am not sure what you are asking.If baby wakes early and is hungry, always feed. If not, I would wait. See the post "eat wake sleep cycle" for more details on that. 🙂

  64. Britni
    September 18, 2010 / 5:09 PM

    Ok first off, love your blog! thanks for all your helpMy daughter is 10.5 months old, 46 weeks and on a 4hr schedule. We've been doing babywise since she was about 7 weeks old. She sleeps great at night 12-13 hrs but lately has been taking 1hr-1.5hr to fall asleep for her naps. I wonder if its time to extend her waketime again? here is her schedule;8am wake, nurse, solids10am nap (usually 1.5 hr nap)12pm wake, nurse, solids2:30 or 3pm nap4:30 wake, nurse5:30 solids7:00 bath7:30 nursein bed by 8pmshe sometimes sleeps till 9am (which i let her)here is the problem, if she stays up 2hrs, takes over an hour to fall asleep and sleeps 1.5 -2hrs she ends up going 5+ hrs between nursing sessions. Should i try extending her waketimes? I was thinking of trying 10 min in the morning?!i know she's too young to drop the morning nap, plus i can tell she needs it. any advice? thanks, Britni

  65. Plowmanators
    October 5, 2010 / 10:38 PM

    Britni,There is a significant number of babies who do this at 10 months. My first advice is to just let it be for a few weeks and see if she goes back to sleeping well. If she doesn't, then I might extend, but start with 5 minute increments instead of 10. Good luck!

  66. Afton
    November 5, 2010 / 12:13 AM

    Valerie,I started BW with my daughter at 6 weeks old (had not heard about it till then), before implementing it she had terrible sleeping problems. She would be up for 12-16 hours at a time!! 24 hours after starting BW she was sleeping 7 hours at night, amazing! A friend sent me the link to your blog after about 1 week of doing BW, it has been invaluable to me! THANK YOU! I've learned so much, it's wonderful… you're wonderful! :)My problem: My baby is a really slow eater, she will take a full hour to eat. She still has a rough time sleeping for naps, so I've been reading your posts on optimal wake times. Because of how slow she eats she will be up for at least 1hr-1hr 15min. I'm guessing she's still having trouble sleeping (she is 9wks now) for naps due to her longer wake time.Do you have any advice for this issue? Or is it something I will just have to wait out? (I know babies start eating quicker with age)Again thank you for your blog!Afton

  67. Plowmanators
    November 15, 2010 / 9:25 PM

    Afton, If you are sure she is eating and not just "sucking" after a while, then really all you can do is wait until she gets faster. That is usually around 3 months old, so you are almost there.Brayden was SUPER slow also. I think part of it was that he was sucking at the end rather than eating, but he was (and is) a slow drinker. He got down to about 40 minutes at 3 months then got as fast as 30 minutes, but he never got faster than that to eat. Kaitlyn started life at 20 then eventually got to about 3 minutes tops. That girl was (and is) a ridiculously fast drinker. So funny how they all are 🙂

  68. Afton
    November 22, 2010 / 1:17 AM

    Yeah, she's definitely eating the whole time. (I can not believe how fast Kaitlyn was, wow!!) Thanks so much, hopefully we'll see an improvement soon! We seem to have gotten a great routine down despite this issue, though. Praise God! :)Thank you!

  69. Plowmanators
    December 6, 2010 / 9:04 PM

    I know, it was nice. But I am glad she wasn't my first child. It would have been hard to go from 5 minutes to 60. It was much easier going the other way 🙂

  70. Vicky
    June 4, 2011 / 8:39 PM

    Just found your blog, how wonderful!! My kids are DD (4.5), DS (2.5) and DD (6 weeks). I have used BW since DD #1 was 6 weeks old. Loved that she slept through the night before I had to go back to work when she was 12 weeks! :)Now that #3 is here, I remember some of my struggles with my first daughter. My son was easy; the girls have been fussier and need help getting to sleep. We don't have a space for DD #3 so she sleeps in our room currently. I cannot get her past a 2-2.5 hr schedule, but she does extend her feeds at night quite a bit (roughly 5 hours or so). She is about 11.5 pounds right now, so I know it won't be long until she sleeps longer at night.My problem is this: I am thinking ahead to the fall (Sept.) when the older 2 kids will be in preschool from 9-12. I am envisioning pickup and dropoff and how it will affect her feed/wake/sleep schedule. I don't know others who use BW and have no one to ask how I should structure this. I keep thinking I will put her down to nap in her carseat??? so I can just pop it in the car when I need to? But I don't want the seat to become a prop, either. Ugh! I love how BW has worked for us and the kids, and don't want to give up on it because of the carpooling… help! 🙂

  71. Lil' Isaac Marquez
    June 10, 2011 / 10:57 PM

    I would like to thank you for your great insights!! Your book has helped me a lot. My little boy is 6 wks. I am doing exactly what the book says and everything seems to be working out, except the night time sleep. I try to put him down to sleep at 9 pm. I feed him and rock him and it becomes sooo difficult for him to go back to sleep, sometimes until 4 am!!!!!!! this is almost every night!!! Is he napping too long? his naps are usually about 1.5 long and he eats every 2.5 hours…should his waketime be longer after lets say 6 pm… again thank you for helping all of us out..

  72. Plowmanators
    June 24, 2011 / 5:21 AM

    Vicky,There are a few ways to work it. One is to try to tweak her schedule so that she is awake for preschool drop-off and pick-up. This might mean starting her day earlier or later.One thing to remember is that in two months, her schedule will be different. Another idea is to carpool–you might be doing that already. The less often you have to disrupt sleep the better for your daughter. Another idea is to find someone to sit with her while you are driving. this would be easiest if you carpool. You might have a neighbor who can sit in or a parent. When I drove carpool with Brayden, it was once a week. My parents came over that one day and watched the girls. Good luck!

  73. Plowmanators
    June 24, 2011 / 5:25 AM

    Lil' isaac Marquez, You might try an earlier bedtime. Bedtime is best between 7-8. His napping sounds fine and his waketime.

  74. jenn
    January 28, 2012 / 7:18 AM

    Hi I have a 10.5 week old daughter. Up until 3 days ago she was following a 3 hour schedule and taking naps about 1.5-2 hours long with the last nap of the day being about 45 min in duration. 3 days ago her naps have gotten to only 30-45 minutes. I am letting her CIO for about 10-15 min and if she continues to cry then the nap is over and we do activity time and then I feed her at the next scheduled feeding. Sometimes she is able to wait this long and sometimes she needs to eat immediately after waking up. She is not grumpy when she is awake and has only had these short naps all day. She was taking about 10 min to fall asleep when these naps were longer but currently still takes that long to fall asleep for the 30-45 min duration of the nap. As the day goes on if we let her CIO she will sleep but when it's time for her feeding I have to wake her up ( up until the point of falling asleep she lays in her crib looking around not crying and at other times we let her CIO and she alternates between sleeping and crying). Current wake time is about 1.5 hours – is this what needs to change?Also she goes to bed around 7:30 with dream feed at 10:45. She is currently waking up around 3-4 am and after this will sleep till our wake time of 7am. Should she still be waking for this ? She will usually only drink 2 out of 4 oz at this mont feeding.

  75. jenn
    January 28, 2012 / 7:19 AM

    Hi I have a 10.5 week old daughter. Up until 3 days ago she was following a 3 hour schedule and taking naps about 1.5-2 hours long with the last nap of the day being about 45 min in duration. 3 days ago her naps have gotten to only 30-45 minutes. I am letting her CIO for about 10-15 min and if she continues to cry then the nap is over and we do activity time and then I feed her at the next scheduled feeding. Sometimes she is able to wait this long and sometimes she needs to eat immediately after waking up. She is not grumpy when she is awake and has only had these short naps all day. She was taking about 10 min to fall asleep when these naps were longer but currently still takes that long to fall asleep for the 30-45 min duration of the nap. As the day goes on if we let her CIO she will sleep but when it's time for her feeding I have to wake her up ( up until the point of falling asleep she lays in her crib looking around not crying and at other times we let her CIO and she alternates between sleeping and crying). Current wake time is about 1.5 hours – is this what needs to change?Also she goes to bed around 7:30 with dream feed at 10:45. She is currently waking up around 3-4 am and after this will sleep till our wake time of 7am. Should she still be waking for this ? She will usually only drink 2 out of 4 oz at this mont feeding.

  76. Ben and Tasneem
    February 9, 2012 / 8:58 PM

    Hi there – your blog has been extremely helpful for various feeding/sleeping issues with our 8 wk old daughter.In particular your posts on sleep hierarchy, CIO bootcamp, nap cues and troubleshooting have helped us establish a routine for her (board book, when cues for nap we swaddle, play song, rock in gilder until drowsy but awake). I have had success this week having her go down early for her naps with no crying of fussing – she is droopy eyed but still awake and she falls asleep/is able to settle after small periods of wakefulness midsleep.We have actually been using Contented Little Baby Book Schedule with good results since 2 weeks – I read BW as well at the time but found the information in it to be confusing and hard to follow w/out context (maybe just me – this is my first). Wish I had found your blog earlier maybe I would have started with BW from start. According to CLB Book, LO is supposed to feed 7am, 10:45, 2:30, 6, 10 and then go through the night by this time. On the best days, she does stick to schedule largely, but she only sleeps from 10pm to 4/5am. That is fine with us for now . . . However, on worst days, like today, she is overtired and doesn't feed much at all (BFeeding) when supposed to, only like 6 minutes on 1 side. Then the overtired cycle perpetuates. I wonder if the CLB book schedule just doesn't let her sleep enough to get full feedings (I know some babies efficient but think 6 min on 1 side is super short – when she takes an expressed bottle she can eat up to 4 oz at a time, usually 3, 3.5) – wonder if she is overtired at the breast.I want to try CIO for her but want to make sure she is getting the food she needs before starting. My pediatrician said OK to start with it now – her philosophy just leave child in bedroom at 7pm come back at 7am until CIO complete . . . Please let me know your thoughts or refer to helpful posts.Also, specific questions:1. When overtired and she actually gets to sleep do I let her sleep until she wakes or wake her up to eat? When do I know she is well-rested?2. If she is overtired but wants to eat, how do I get the overtired girl to get a full feeding? 3. If she is feeding only a small amount at breast this is affecting my supply, right?Thanks so much for your help!

  77. Plowmanators
    February 21, 2012 / 2:56 AM

    Jenn, are you sure it is not growth spurt? She can still be waking in the night if she needs it.If waketime has been 1.5 hours and she slept well with that length, then it wouldn't need to be shorter. If she has not slept well consistently with that waketime length, then I would shorten by 15 minutes and see how that goes. Early waking does not singify need to lengthen waketime length.

  78. Plowmanators
    March 1, 2012 / 4:23 AM

    Ben and Tanseem,1. Naps should be anywhere from 1.5-2.5 hours. Most babies are around 2. She should be happy and content when she wakes–that is how you know she is rested. Yes, I would wake her to eat if she is sleeping.2.I have posts on keeping a newborn awake–see tne blog index by age tab, then newborns, and see the posts there.3. Yes, but if she is getting all that she needs, that shouldn't be a problem.As to the CIO, do what you are comfortable with. Best of luck! I hope things are going well.

  79. Michelle
    March 20, 2012 / 10:44 AM

    Hi there! I'm so excited to maybe get some help! My second daughter is 14 weeks old and we've been having some issues with her sleeping. We've done BW since birth and she started sleeping 7-9 hours at around 7-8 weeks. However, she liked to sleep from 6 or 7 p.m. until 3 a.m. or so, so I was encouraged by BW friends to try a dream feed for a week. I did, and she never slept any longer, and she wouldn't sleep her 7-9 hours from the dream feed until morning, so she was still eating in the middle of the night. Then her 3-month growth spurt happened, so she was *definitely* eating in the middle of the night then! So now my problem is that she's not sleeping all the way through the night (although she did 6.25 hours last night…I'm letting her cry an additional 15 minutes each night to up her sleep time) AND her naps are all over the place. She generally can stay up about 80-90 minutes. I put her in bed at 70 minutes and she falls asleep by 80-90. I've tried putting her down earlier and she just lays there until it's been 80-90 minutes, so I don't think her wake time is too long. But often she only sleeps 45 minutes or so, and even if I leave her she doesn't go back to sleep. For example, this morning I put her in bed for her morning nap at about 65 minutes after waking. She was perfectly content in her bed and fell asleep at 105 minutes, slept for 45, was happy in her bed for about 15 more, and then I let her cry 15 more until it had been 180 minutes because she doesn't eat well if it's been less than three hours. Sometimes she will sleep 1.5 or even 2 hours for her nap, but it's rare (usually only 1 or 2 of 4 naps per day). I just don't know how to encourage her to sleep longer.She's a fast nurser even when she's really hungry (done in ten minutes, usually), so if I feed her on a 2.5 hour schedule she really doesn't eat. I want her on a 3 or 3.5 hour schedule right now but she just doesn't sleep long enough regularly enough for it to work.Argh…I'm just frustrated and would appreciate any help or insight you can give!

  80. MrsMame
    March 26, 2012 / 9:18 PM

    Hello,My daughter is now just a week and 2 days old, and I'm trying to implement CIO right off the bat. Sometimes she is really excellent (settling within 10-15 minutes) and she's very good during the night (sleeping around 3.5 hrs and then going right back to sleep after a feed). I'm feeding her 8-9 times a day (and she's a great feeder) but she just doesn't seem to want to nap from about 12pm to around her "official" bedtime of 8pm. I leave her to cry…but sometimes I'm worried about how "hard core" I should be? I mean, I don't want to sound silly but do you expect them to sleep through dirty diapers? Or should you see if this is bothering them, change it, and then put them back to nap? And is it alright to let them cry for the full 1.5 hrs before their next feeding at the beginning? I'm just afraid she's not getting enough sleep (when I add up her hours asleep, they only come out to about 10 hrs per day). Any thoughts, comments, suggestions, encouragement would be appreciated! Thank you!

  81. MrsMame
    March 27, 2012 / 7:45 PM

    Update! I only let her stay up for 40 minutes today (10 minutes daiper change, 30 odd minutes feeding) and it's been the difference b/w night and day! She's gone down for all her naps without so much as a few whimpers (if that!!). I guess I really was letting her stay awake too long and/or overstimulating her. I hope tonight goes well as she's been so good with sleeping during the night…I'm honestly a little worried that she won't sleep as well as she's slept so well during the day! Or maybe she's actually much happier and well rested now (I'm hoping for the latter!).

  82. Plowmanators
    April 4, 2012 / 3:48 AM

    Michelle, It is really hard to say. At 3 months, I would just feed in the night when she woke up–that is just me. Naps could be a chronic 45 minute nap thing. It could also be that she is getting overstimulated during her nap time. She might have a hard time self-soothing and that might be why she is waking at night and early from naps. If you swaddle, she might be ready to drop it.

  83. Ashley
    March 15, 2013 / 9:52 PM

    Valerie, thank you so much for your parenting insights… this blog has helped me become comfortable and confident raising a baby. My little girl is 10 months, and she's been having problems going to sleep for afternoon nap. I've tried waketimes varying from 1.45-3 hours, and I can't seem to find her optimal waketime. She is standing and crawling, but we've been having the problem for such a long time, I'm not convinced that it's a disruption issue. She is a very happy baby, eats well, sleeps 12 hrs at night,has a 1.45 morning waketime, and 1-1.5 hr. morning nap. Do you have any ideas? I've scoured your blog and I'm still puzzled.

  84. Michelle Lambert
    April 28, 2013 / 4:56 PM

    Thank you so much for this blog! I think I have read most of it-haha! I decided my 7 month old daughter needed to drop her third nap last week. I did this because she hadn't been sleeping for it for weeks. She just laid and talked until it was time to get up…and sometimes she would fall asleep five minutes before she needed to get up and so I decided to shorten it first and then dropped it last week. She also was able to stay awake longer, so we are trying to move to a four hour schedule. The first two days went well…then it was horribly awful after that. I'm not sure what to do. Here is my ideal schedule (the one that worked for two days):815 get up and breakfast10ish-nap12ish get up and lunch2ish-nap4ish get up and snack6 dinner730ish bottle and bath and bed by 8ishShe doesn't always sleep 12 hours at night, sometimes its more like 11, but she talks in her crib until it is time to get up and is very content to do that.After two days though, she stopped sleeping for her naps. She will cry for 30-40 minutes, then fall asleep for 45 minutes (she always was a chronic 45 minute napper, which was just going away) then shes awake and ready. And when I tried to implement the third nap again, she won't sleep for it. So, she is getting 2 hours of day time sleep TOTAL and I don't know how to make her sleep longer. Before last week, her naps were FINALLY 2 hours for the am and pm naps so I thought she was ready. Any thoughts are appreciated! I'm ready to pull my hair out and she is a MESS by 4 o clock. Thanks!

  85. Rachel Anne
    September 3, 2015 / 2:41 AM

    Hi! I love love your blog! Here's my question about wake times. I have a breastfed 3.5 month old. He is on a mixed 3 hour schedule. He has pretty bad GERD and Sandifer's syndrome (basically he does these movements that look like siezures but they're not – they're a neuro behavioural response to his reflux) and I think because of this we haven't made the leap to sleeping for long stretches at night. Everything during the day seems to fall into place until his feed at 6pm. After this he's wide awake until 9pm. We've tried putting him down early (his sweet spot during the day seems longer than the typical 3.5 mo at 1h 20 min to 1h 40 min), we've tried letting him CIO but he just cries through to the next feed (during the day he fusses for 2 minutes and goes right to sleep when we put him down), and we've tried just letting him stay up but this seems like a really long time for him to be awake. Could it be that he's not getting enough to eat during the day? Could this just be the witching hour? I was thinking of putting his feeding schedule back to 2.5 hours during the day to see if it would help but I'm worried that he won't get enough sleep because he's up so long. Is it the night feeds that are messing up the day? So many variables!! Ah! Here's our schedule: 7am wake/feed (he isn't really hungry for the first two feeds, usually only taking one breast, I'm not sure if it's that I have more milk at that time or he's just not hungry…)830 nap10am wake/feed (one side again)1130-45 nap1230-1pm wake/feed2:30 nap3:30 wake/feed4:45 nap530-6pm wake/feedAWAKE730 feedAWAKE 9 pm feed1am feed430am feed

  86. Valerie Plowman
    September 3, 2015 / 11:44 PM

    It sounds like witching hour. I would try to do a bedtime around 7:30-8:00 pm and then if he will fall asleep, do a dreamfeed around 10/10:30. If he won't sleep, I would wait for the witching hour to pass and then address it then. Good luck! That witching hour is not fun but it does go away.

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