My Best Parenting Advice: One Eye on the Baby, One Eye on the Clock? How long can Baby stay awake? I need sleep! by Tracy Spackman

I love to use technology to make life easier!  Who doesn’t?!  Have you thought about using your smart phone timer to think LESS about your baby timing?  Let me explain. 

Your baby has a period of time that he can stay awake.  I call that the wakeful window.  A 2-5 month old baby likely has a 90 minute wakeful window.  He wakes up, 90 minutes later he is ready for a nap.  He sleeps for 30, 45, 60 or even more.  Then 90 minutes later he is ready for another nap.  His wakeful window is 90 minutes and constantly changing depending on how long he slept and how much older he grows.  It may be as short as 60 minutes after a short cat nap or as long as 2 hours after a solid sleep.  Around 6 months it’s typically 2 hours between sleeps all day.  Around 9 months it may be 3 hours during the day but 4 hours from the end of the 2nd nap to bedtime.

So back to our 2-5 month old scenario.  You may be trying to figure out what your baby’s wakeful window is so you can catch their ideal nap time–the sleep window.  (I’m glad I don’t have to clean all these windows.) By catching the sleep window, and putting him to bed before he gets overtired, you avoid the Cortisol rush that comes with missing the sleep window and  messes with the overall sleep ability.Here is my simple idea.  Set the alarm or timer on your smart phone for 59-60 minutes when he wakes up.  Don’t worry about catching the sleep window until the timer buzzes in your pocket.  Then keep snoozing the timer until you see his sleep cues.  Once you see his sleep cues, put him to bed.  So instead of watching all the time for the sleep cues, just do it for the 10-20 minutes after the first hour of wakefulness.  Notice how cute he is instead for the first hour.  One eye on your baby, one eye on the clock…but after and hour of fun.

But what about night sleep?  Aim for 12 hours at night after 4 months. (Including wake ups.)  If he wakes at 6am, aim for a bedtime of 6pm.  Catching his sleep window for all his naps can make night sleep easier.  Go ahead and use your crutches for naps.  Motion sleep or nursing to sleep is better than no sleep.  Sleep begets sleep.  A good nap day makes for a better night’s sleep.  At 4 months things may be getting a little crazy so do what ever it takes to get the sleep.  Soon, he will be old enough to learn serious sleep skills.

For sleep plans and sleep advice, call me.  Free 15 minutes for new inquiry’s.
Tracy Spackman
Gentle Sleep Coach

My Best Parenting Advice: One Eye on the Baby, One Eye on the Clock? How long can Baby stay awake? I need sleep! by Tracy Spackman


Tracy Spackman is a Certified Gentle Sleep Coach. She is the mother of 5 school aged children ranging from 6-15 years Tracy profile pic cropold. She is passionate about all things family related. Tracy is trained and certified by Kim West in Gentle Sleep Coaching with 100+ hours of. She believes in offering educated choices to parents how to teach their children in gentle ways to put themselves to sleep. Tracy speaks to mom’s groups, hospital lactation support groups and community groups. She gives workshops, webinars, and personal consultations locally and over the phone. She helps children 4 months to 8 years old. Tracy lives in Phoenix, Arizona and has been helping families all over North America. Tracy is personable and easy to talk to. She makes herself available to work around your schedule no matter your time zone. She’d love to be your sleep coach. “I have been there and remember the frustration and chaos that comes from a lack of sleep. I wish I had found a sleep coach 15 years ago and knew what I know now. The field of sleep science has come a long way in the last 10 years. A good sleep makes a world of difference. ” Contact Tracy Spackman: 602-524-7610 [email protected]