Understanding and Managing Your Newborn's Wake Windows
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Understanding and Managing Your Newborn’s Wake Windows

Newborn Wake Windows

Sleep: that one thing all of us could do with more of, in these fast-paced times. However, it’s a lot simpler with grown-ups. For one, we get our sleep in one large chunk at night. For newborns, it’s an entirely different ball game. Your baby will need their sleep broken into smaller chunks throughout the day, so that they can feed those tiny tummies 24/7.

This is where those ‘Newborn Wake Windows’ come in. They are one of the best indicators you can use to help time your baby’s naps and bedtime, too, thereby paving the way for healthy sleep habits. That, and an easier life for you, of course!

What Newborn Wake Windows are
In a nutshell, newborn wake windows are the amount of time babies stay awake between naps. Roughly speaking, that newborn wake window is the length of time your baby can comfortably stay awake before they become tired and need sleep.
When you get this timing correct, it leads to healthy sleeping patterns in the day, which only serves towards creating a positive impact at night.

When you should start using Wake Windows
You can start figuring out those wake windows as soon as your baby is born. That will help prevent your child from becoming overtired. Also, that will only mean one other thing: you have a ‘happy’ baby on your hands!
Further, you will learn when your baby might need a nap so they can be well-rested when they are playing. Thus, having the right wake window for your baby will help you figure out when you should put them down for a nap – neither too soon, nor too late!

The Importance of Naps
Naps are far more important than we give them credit for. Especially so, in the case of babies. While older babies can tolerate more awake time in the day as opposed to newborns, they still need those naps!
Here’s some reasons naps are so important.

  • They enhance the process of learning
  • There’s a link between them and enhanced emotional regulation.
  • They help support better sleep at night.

Baby Wake Windows by Age
While every child is unique, here are some wake window ranges you could experiment with. The objective would be getting your baby ready to sleep by the following ‘marks’.

  • 0-2 months. Sleeping by the 45-60 minute mark. The same window likely repeats all day.
  • 3 months: Sleeping by the 60-75 minute mark and the same window likely repeats all day.
  • 4-5 months. Sleeping by the 90-120 minute mark. Note: The same window may or may not repeat all day.
  • 6-9 months. Sleeping by the 2-3 hour mark. Here you will find that each window might vary, with the shortest ones being early in the day.
  • 8-9 months. In all likelihood a 2-3-4 hour window pattern. This means, sleeping by the 2-hour mark for Nap One, 3-hour mark for Nap Three, and 4-hour mark for Bedtime.

Tips for Managing Newborn Wake Windows

Here’s a look at how you can manage all things related to wake windows, from gauging the sleeping patterns of infants, to establishing a sound sleeping routine.

Observe Sleep Cues in newborns

Sleeping patterns of infants can be effectively gauged, by merely ‘observing’ them. Your baby will give you all kinds of signs to show you they are sleepy, from rubbing their eyes to suddenly becoming fussy. By making a note of these cues, you can work out when they are ready for a nap.

Follow a consistent sleep routine

Believe it or not, but even the smallest children thrive on a sense of routine. When you set a regular sleep routine in place, your baby will learn when it is time to sleep, and that will help them settle more quickly. Note: It is important to be consistent with that sleep routine, to ensure it remains the same on weekends or even vacations.

Setting the right temperature

Ever find yourself fighting with your partner over the room temperature at night? It’s important for babies, too! According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), a comfortable room temperature should be between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit (20-22 degrees Celsius).

Create an environment conducive to sleep

Babies need a lot of sleep, and it’s best to create an environment for them that’s quiet and dark. Tip: You can use blackout curtains to ensure the room is always dark and even a white noise machine, which will cut out outside noise.

Be Flexible

You have to understand that there will be variations from day to day, as far as those wake windows are concerned. The thing to remember is this: every child is unique, and it might take a while to find a sleep routine that works best for them.

Keep them nice and short

You want your newborn to be awake for no longer than 45 minutes to an hour. This is because when they become overtired, their body produces ‘cortisol’, that is the ‘awake’ hormone. This only makes it harder for them to fall asleep – and ‘stay’ asleep!

Set them in accordance to the time of day

The sleep needs of children vary at different times of the day. It’s best to have longer wake windows in the morning when they are alert, and shorter ones in the late afternoon and evening.

Keep them active

You want your newborn to be really active in the time they are awake. You can do this by indulging in plenty of face-to-face time with them. Talk to them or sing and dance in front of them. They need to be exerting their energy so they can ‘earn’ that nap they are going to take in a bit.

At Eurokids, we are of the firm belief that it is important to establish a sense of routine when it comes to kids’ nighttime sleep and even those all-important daytime naps. It’s vital for them to get enough sleep, so they can get the energy they need for active play and good health.

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