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Wake windows for babies and why I don't like them

Wake windows are a bit like marmite. The traditional sleep training world which tries to get you to shoehorn your baby into a generic schedule clearly loves them.

Now I personally try not to hate anything. What I do think it unhelpful however is parents being told to stick to these windows so rigidly they miss their baby’s own unique individual sleep cue, meaning they may be in a worse off position than if they didn’t use them at all.

Remember naps are all about sleep pressure and taking the edge off your baby’s tiredness

In young babies the sleep pressure builds quickly, as they get older the time they can stay awake increases. So in general terms, wake windows will increase as your baby gets older.

There are SO many contradicting charts on how long your baby ‘should’ be able to stay awake in between naps out there, it’s enough to make your head spin! The reason why google will spit back so many varying results on how long this wake window should actually be, is because none of them are based on evidence. So I wont add another one into the mix to confuse your further!

You’re the expert on your child

How long they can stay awake can even vary day by day based on things such as level of activity. So save yourself the trouble of trying to demystify the vast amount of wake window tables out there and trust your instincts not a chart.

Having said this, I do think they’re a bit like marmite, so if you do love them for whatever reason and they’re working for you, stick at it, you’re the expert on your baby!

Now I do have a chart I refer to if my clients really want some steer on timings, but they should always be taken with a massive pinch of salt.

No child is the same, but even if they were, which one of the many different wake window charts should they fit into?

For me, the seemingly recent fascination with wake windows sits alongside all the apps which get you to frantically log everything and fit your little one into a strict schedule ignoring your own instincts.

In my opinion you’d be much better off spending the hours it takes you doing that really getting to learn your baby’s own unique sleepy cues and how they signal to you they are also bored, hungry, in pain etc.

By doing this you’ll probably start to notice their own unique wake windows and actually form your own schedule.

If you’d like some support with your little ones sleep, please do check out my sleep support packages, or hop on your free 15 minute introductory call. Or in the meantime, head over to my Instagram page for all my latest free help and tips.

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