Watching Wake Windows
Is your baby struggling to go down for night or naps, and/or waking up early?! Do you ever wonder "Why won't my baby sleep?" or "Why won't my baby take long naps?" or "How can I get my baby to sleep through the night?"
Their sleep struggles may be resulting from being overtired! This happens when babies are pushed past their ideal "wake window." Learn how to fix these issues by paying close attention to how long they should be awake!
A "wake window" is the time between when a baby wakes up from their last sleep session (nap or night) and when they then go back to sleep. Essentially, it is the "window" in which they are awake! Because young babies are easily stimulated by their surroundings, they may not naturally go back to sleep after their ideal wake window ends. Instead, it's the job of their caregivers to help them back to sleep as the end of their wake window nears. There are several key elements to helping your child sleep!
Ways to increase your child's chance of sleep success:
1) Bring them away from the noise and distractions to a quiet space.
2) For newborns, swaddle them (even if you think they don't like it!) to make them feel secure. For babies 4-6 months, use a transitional sleep sack (like the Swaddle Up, or the Zippadee Zip). For babies 6 months and older, use a regular sleep sack (I love the Kyte Baby sleep sacks because they are so soft!). All of these act as sleep cues to help their brain and body prepare for bed.
3) Make the room pitch black! Use blackout shades or cover the window panes with construction paper/trash bags to fully block out the light. Even a small sliver of light can wake them up as they transition sleep cycles!
4) Use a sound machine! White noise can help mimic the sounds of the womb and also drown out other noises that might wake them up. A consistent noise (versus music such as a lullaby station) makes it easier to transition between sleep cycles.
5) Follow a nap/bedtime routine to provide kids with several sleep cues and a predictable pattern. Even newborns benefit from a short routine! Example: Diaper change, swaddle/sleep sack, books, song, sleep! For night time, you can add in a bath and some brief playtime. For naps, keep it short and sweet. Consistency is key to sleep success!
As they approach the end of their ideal wake window, begin following the steps above. Even if it doesn't work perfectly on your first attempt, continue to try! With consistency, babies will respond better and better. See below for recommended wake windows by age.
By implementing the steps above and watching wake windows, I can almost guarantee your baby will begin to sleep better! If you do all of the above and are still struggling, don’t hesitate to reach out!
Remember, check out my sleep coaching packages for 1:1 support!
Wishing you all my best
& lots of rest,
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Bethany Barba, M.Ed.