To make sure that your baby is good and tired for each “new” bedtime, you also have to keep an eye on baby’s awake times. “Awake times” are simply the periods of time that your baby is awake throughout the day. (For example, in between naps.)
If the awake times are too short, your baby may not be tired enough and ready for sleep.
If awake times are too long, your baby may become overtired / overstimulated.
This causes your baby’s body to release stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, to keep baby awake and focused. Once these hormones are released, it’s very hard for baby to relax and fall asleep. (This is the reason why many children fight sleep at bedtime.)
Specifically, I advised Erin to pay close attention to the last awake time of the day (between last nap and bedtime.)
With a 3 month-old baby, you want to aim for 1 hr 45 mins – 2.5 hours max of awake time before each “new bedtime.”
(All babies vary a bit with the ideal awake time, but that’s the average range for the last awake time of the day for a 3 month-old.)
Awake times for all ages are:
- Newborn: 30-90 mins
- 7-15 weeks: 1-2 hours
- 4-5 months: 1.5-2.5 hours
- 6-8 months: 2-3 hours
- 9-12 months: 2.5-3.5 hours
- Toddler taking 2 naps: 3-4 hours
- Toddler taking 1 nap 4-5.5 hours