Depending on your baby’s age, the time they wake up can differ. If you’re a parent, knowing the baby’s wake time can allow you to sleep when the baby sleeps, and prepare you for when the baby wakes up. What is their natural wake time, and what is the ideal wake time? These are two concepts.
What Is Wake Time?
A wake time is part of a baby’s cycle. A baby has an eat, wake, and sleep cycle, and by knowing what that is, you can gain some insight as to what the cycle is. The wake time is part of the eat and wake in the cycle. A baby will eat, then wake up, and eventually fall asleep. A baby needs the right amount of sleep, and feeding them can ensure that the baby gets sleep.
When you have a baby, make sure they get naps in and don’t space them out too much. The baby may end up overtired.
What is being overtired? Simply put, it’s when your baby is so tired, that they’re fussy, and making it ironically harder for them to fall asleep. You’ve probably felt this way before. Maybe one night, you didn’t get much sleep, and then the next night, you would think you’d sleep like a baby, but instead, you ended up struggling. It’s definitely a tough cycle and one you wouldn’t want to give to your baby.
With that said, a baby’s sleep cycle, especially at a young age, is hard to predict. They have no concept of a sleep schedule, and they don’t have deep sleep that much. Three months in, the sleep schedule becomes a little more consistent, but they may deal with sleep regression as well.
Because of this, we will be talking about the 4-6 month stage in this post.
What Happens During 4-6 months?
This is when a baby is transitioning in their sleep patterns, and it’s all different depending on the baby. There are some who will sleep for only two naps, and some may not even want to nap at all. A baby’s sleep regression does happen, but it affects babies differently. Every baby is unique, after all.
Some transitions during this period will not be consisting of the baby’s sleep schedule, but instead them transitioning to a different way of sleeping. It’s around this time where you may not swaddle your baby anymore, or change the crib around. These tend to be positive changes, but can be a challenge, too, depending on the baby. Many parents will begin sleep training their baby, too.
The Sleep Schedule of A 4-6 Month Old
Again, every baby is different, but this is the average sleep schedule of a baby around this time.
A baby tends to get 12-15 hours of sleep every day at this age. They aren’t sleeping as deeply as a newborn, but they are still getting quite a bit of sleep. At this age, a baby will take around three naps a day, each nap being around 1-3 hours. Between naps, they may stay awake from 1 ½ – 2 ½ hours, depending on the baby and how long they sleep. Their nighttime sleep can last anywhere from 4-8 hours, so make sure that they’re getting their sleep. You should be putting your baby to bed around 8:30-9:30 PM every night if you want the best results.
Feeding A Baby
At this age, you probably have fewer feedings, but you do need to feed up to 6 times every day. It’s recommended that you feed the baby at night at least once, but some babies may be able to start weaning from that feed. However, that is hard, especially if your baby associates nighttime feeding with sleep.
Babies, and even adults have sleep associations. These are things that your baby associates with sleep. For example, a baby may hear soft music and associate that with going to bed. A dark room is associated with sleep as well.
Associations can be good to bad. White noise for sleep is a good thing because you can play it indefinitely. A swaddle is good because your baby can’t take it off.
However, then you have to deal with sleep associations that are more negative. For example, rocking a baby to sleep. Rocking them before bed is fine, but when they wake up in the middle of the night and cry, then it may be time for you to make your baby stop associating that with sleep.
If you want to wean from nighttime feeding, it can be hard to have your baby stop associating sleep with feeding. You want your baby to sleep independently, and one way you can do that is to wean your baby.
Some parents go cold turkey. They will stop rocking their baby and just let the baby cry it out. This can be hard to endure, but some parents find it the quickest way. But for the sake of sanity, many parents wean.
For instance, if you are feeding the baby to sleep, you can have shorter feedings. Every day, shorten it by a little bit until the baby doesn’t need any feedings to go to sleep.
You can also replace the baby’s associations with something better. For instance, every time you rock them to sleep, turn on the fan. Shorten the rocking, but keep the fan on. Soon, your baby will associate the fan with sleep more than rocking.
Finally, sleep associations happen with adulthood, too, without you realizing. For example, if you use your bed for sitting, eating, and other stuff besides sleep and sex, your mind may associate the bed with energy, and thus make it harder for you to fall asleep.
A baby’s sleep patterns are quite interesting, and they do differ. If you have any questions or concerns about sleeping, taking it to your baby’s doctor may be a smart move.
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