To those of you who have wondered, “What is a ‘wake window’?”, “How do I know my baby’s wake window?”, “How do I know the wake window is perfect?”, “Is every wake window the same?”, “Why is knowing my baby’s wake window helpful?”, or “How do I know if or when the wake window has changed?”, this blog is for you! I get a lot of questions pertaining to wake windows, so I am here today talking all about wake windows in hopes to help you understand why they are important, and how to find your baby’s perfect wake window.
What is a Wake Window?
GREAT question! A wake window is the time between when your baby wakes to the time they go to sleep. For example, if Sally wakes up at 7:00 A.M. and takes a nap at 8:30 A.M., her wake window was an hour and a half. The younger the baby is, the more wake windows they have in a day. The older the baby is the fewer wake windows they have in a day. Wake windows are what construct your baby’s schedule and are based on your child’s age.
How Do You Know Your Baby’s Wake Window?
Wake windows are unique to each baby, but generally, you can find your baby’s wake window based on their age. The chart included is what I’d like you to reference, in order to find your baby’s wake window range. Like I said, every baby is different. Your baby may be on the high end of the range, or the low end. Try different wake windows within the range to find your baby’s perfect wake window.
How Do You Know the if Wake Window is Perfect?
Another great question! When your baby’s nap is at least an hour and 15 minutes, you know the wake window prior to that nap was perfect. When you find the perfect wake window for that time of day, stick to it!
Is Every Wake Window the Same?
No! Every wake window is a little unique to itself. That’s why finding your baby’s wake window can be kind of tricky at first. What I typically see is that the first wake window is the smallest of the day, and then it steadily increases with each wake window your baby has throughout the day. The last wake window (waking up from the last nap to bedtime) should be the longest wake window of the day. This doesn’t always mean push to the max wake window length within your baby’s age range. This should always be based on what your baby’s longest wake window is right now and their sleepy cues.
Why is Knowing Your Baby’s Wake Window Helpful?
There are several benefits to finding your baby’s wake window. You are able to start gaining a more predictable schedule. You can help prevent your baby from becoming overtired which in return helps your baby take consolidated naps during the day and gain consolidated sleep at night. You will be able to lay your baby down in a calm state rather than your baby becoming overtired and in complete hysteria at bedtime, which can lead to using things outside of the crib to help your baby fall asleep.
In short, finding your baby’s wake window is GOLD!
What About When Their Wake Window Changes? How Do You Know the Wake Window has Changed?
Once you have found your baby’s wake window, you will know when their wake window is shifting into the next age group by the rhythm of your schedule. If you have found the wake window and have been seeing consistency in your baby’s schedule for a while and then all of a sudden things start going off course, it usually means that the wake window is shifting. For example; your baby takes three solid naps with ease and then for a week straight you see them resist the third nap every day. You know that the time has come to find the new wake window and get back on track as soon as possible!
Wake Windows can be tricky to nail down, but once you do, you will be so happy that you took the time to do so. Though I know there are many questions pertaining to Wake Windows, I hope this helped you understand a little bit more than you did before, and hopefully gained a better understanding of how to find your baby’s perfect wake window.
I know it can be tough, mama. But don’t give up… and remember, if you need me- I am always here to help.