It’s not always crystal clear when your baby is ready to make certain sleep transitions, and determining when to increase awake times can be one of those uncertain periods.
Let’s start by looking at average awake times by age (remember, every baby is different, and some may be ready for more awake time a bit earlier or a bit later than others!):
- 0-3 Months: 45-60 minutes
- 4-5 months: 1.5-2 hours
- 6-7 months: 2-2.5 hours
- 8-10 months: 2.5-3 hours
- 11+ months: 3-4 hours
Once we know these average awake times, we can watch for signs around these ages that baby is ready for more awake time. These might include:
Your baby is simply not showing any tired signs (yawns, eye rubs, etc.) after their usual amount of awake time/at their “normal” naptime, and is then playing and chatting in the crib rather than sleeping. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Babe is consistently taking a long time to fall asleep (e.g. kiddo used to take just 5-10 minutes to fall asleep and now is consistently taking 20-30), and then his nap is short (even though you were previously seeing much longer daytime snoozes).⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Baby is suddenly taking shorter naps: If you were in a great groove of nice, long, restful, 1.5-2 hour naps, but suddenly baby is not showing as many tired signs at naptime AND is taking shorter naps, it might be time to increase those awake times.
Baby is waking up for the day 30-60 minutes earlier then he used to: In this case, and if he’s showing other signs like those above, babe might need some more daytime sleep pressure to push that morning forward.
Getting awake times just right can really help improve naps – a baby who goes down for a nap with too much or too little awake time may have a tougher time going to sleep. If we can pinpoint baby’s correct awake time before putting him down he’s likely to have a much easier time drifting off and getting a great, restful nap.