A baby’s ‘awake time’ is the amount of time a baby can comfortably stay awake for in between naps before becoming tired again — and then overtired if you miss this window.
It becomes much harder to put a little one down for a nap when they are overtired.
An overtired baby may also look like he is in pain. Becoming fussy and agitated he may arch his back, screaming and be hard to soothe or comfort no matter what you do. In this case, the best thing to do is to keep comforting your baby and do anything you can to get him to sleep.
If you’ve ever been so tired that all you can do is cry — you’ll know how your baby feels when he’s overtired and understand his behaviour more. You’ll also understand the importance of getting him to sleep on time before he becomes so tired that he cannot cope and all he can do is cry.
Often babies are misdiagnosed as having colic when in fact they are overtired as on paper the symptoms are incredibly similar.
A sleep window can open and close within minutes. It’s your job to act within this window of time and help your baby nap before he becomes overtired and it becomes difficult to put him down.
The key to working out your baby’s awake time is to pay close attention to his sleepy/ tired signs. Set the intention to be 100% in tune with your little one for the next few days while you figure out his awake times.
Look out for:
-yawning, pulling on his ears, closing fists
-baby turning his head away from stimulation, fluttering eyelids or difficulty focusing
-baby crying, becoming fussy or irritable.
-making jerky arm and leg movements, or arching backwards
-baby pulling his legs up as if he were in pain
-sucking on fingers
As soon as you spot your baby’s tired signs, reduce stimulation and start getting your baby ready for his nap by doing a short nap routine.
Having a short nap routine will help your baby understand what comes next, establish positive sleep associations for the future, and make it easier for your little one to calm, settle and fall asleep.