Baby Awake Times

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Baby wake times are crucial to consider if you are looking to prioritize sleep for your baby and your family. Considering awake times for babies is key to not only having a good day, but also having a good night.

Baby having awake time with purple and orange butterfly hanging down from playmat

In this post, I’ll be discussing the ideal baby awake times for each month of the first year, including a focus on ideal baby sleep times during the day and night. Combining the two concepts should result in a happy, well rested baby.

At the end of the post, you’ll also find a handy chart to use for your baby’s first year of life. It includes wake times, total cycle length information and the number of naps (by age).

Table of Contents 

(In this post you’ll find the following):

  • Baby Awake Times (broken down by age)
  • Baby Sleep Times (a discussion of key things to consider)
  • Common Questions and Answers
  • Baby Awake Time Chart

Baby Awake Times

Before discussing the specific wake times for each age range, it is important to understand the definition of “awake time”, along with how this awake time should happen for your baby.

Ideally, you are implementing an eat, wake, sleep cycle throughout the day with your child.

Eat, Wake, Sleep Cycle

The eat wake sleep cycle is an invaluable tool for parents of newborns through 1 year of age. The eat wake sleep cycle is part of the Babywise method. It will help your baby sleep better, and will make your days go smoothly and predictably…

The main benefit to this is that your baby will refrain from relying on nursing to sleep, and will in general just have an easier time putting themselves back to sleep if they wake during a nap or at night.

Next, we need to understand the definition of baby awake time. This “awake” time includes both the eat and wake portions of the eat, wake, sleep cycle.

When a “cycle length” is referred to, it is referring to the total cycle (eat, wake, and sleep combined).

With that in mind, let’s look further into the specific awake times for infants during their first year of life…

Newborn Awake Time (1-2 weeks)

  • Cycle length: 2-3 hours
  • Awake time: (Same as feeding time) minimal, just long enough for a full feed
  • # of Naps: (don’t worry about tracking at this age)

Newborn wake times can feel hard to come by. They sleep SO much.

A common question that parents have for trusty Google, however, is “how long should a newborn be awake?”, “how long do newborns stay awake?”, “how long should baby be awake?”, etc., etc. and many variations of this!

So, if you are wondering the same, you are not alone. And, if you feel like you need help on how to keep a newborn awake during the day, you are not alone in that feeling.

The Babywise Book states that:

“During the first two weeks of life, your baby will not have a distinct waketime apart from his feeding time. Your baby’s feeding time IS his waketime, because that’s all a newborn can handle before sleep overtakes his little body.” 

(Ezzo, pg 106)

In other words, don’t stress. If your baby is sleeping all the time and is only awake for feedings, you are doing just fine.

All you really need to focus on is keeping your baby awake for feedings and getting them full feedings so they sleep longer.

Then comes the question: “If my newborn is sleeping should I wake to feed?”

Yes. You need to wake your baby at the end of a cycle.

Depending on your situation, your newborn will be on a 2-3 hour cycle length. Remember, this cycle consists of eat, wake, and sleep time all together. 

Our pediatrician put us on a 2 hour cycle, since Caroline was born at 37 weeks. Most babies, however, can fall right into the 3 hour cycle.

Since the newborn at 1-2 weeks of age is only awake long enough to get in a full feed, most of this cycle is made up of sleeping.

If the 3 hour cycle mark comes around, wake your baby so you can get another feeding in. The act of waking your baby during the days is helpful for 2 reasons:

  1. It ensures you are getting in enough feedings throughout the day.
  2. It helps your baby start to learn the difference between day and night.

Distinguishing day and night is another one of your main goals at this age. Otherwise, you’ll have a newborn awake at night, when you want them to be sleeping.

Have twins? Check out some great twin schedules at this page.

Awake time for newborn (3-4 weeks)

  • Cycle length: 2.5-3 hours
  • Awake time: 1 hour
  • # of Naps: (don’t worry about tracking at this age)

Around the 3-4 week mark, babies start to actually have some wake time that is noticeable.

In fact, you might start to have a hard time getting your newborn to nap!

The schedule is simply a goal at this age. It is an age where the schedule felt incredibly frustrating for us, however. 

Our daughter wanted to eat earlier, nap later, and everything seemed to just not be working. 

Power through this tough phase.

Feed your baby early if that’s what he or she needs. Get your baby to nap however you can. You can worry about nap training later. 

Continue to focus on getting full feeds, and waking at the correct feeding times.

Find Printable Schedules my Shop!

Printable Shape and Color Cards
Printable Potty Training Reward Chart
Printable Calm Down Tool Kit for Toddlers
Printable Toy Bin Labels
Printable Babywise Schedule Newborn to 6 months
Printable Shape and Color Cards
Printable Potty Training Reward Chart
Printable Calm Down Tool Kit for Toddlers
Printable Toy Bin Labels
Printable Babywise Schedule Newborn to 6 months
Printable Shape and Color Cards
Printable Potty Training Reward Chart
Printable Calm Down Tool Kit for Toddlers
Printable Toy Bin Labels
Printable Babywise Schedule Newborn to 6 months

Click here to read sample schedules from the Babywise Mom for the first month.

Awake time for 2 month old

  • Cycle length: 3 hours
  • Awake time: 1 hour – 1 hr 10 minutes
  • # of Naps: 5-6

Wake time for a 2 month old equals the first truly interactive month. Your baby is starting to have to have some fun, and the blocks of wake time can truly be used!

Our wake time at this age consisted of tummy time, time in the swing, walks, and we even began independent playtime.

Using the babywise method, the schedule and eat, wake, sleep routine really start to fall into place.

Awake time for 3 month old

  • Cycle length: 2.5-3 hours
  • Awake time: 1.5 hours
  • # of Naps: 4

Wake time for a 3 month old- it’s so much fun! 

We introduced the bouncer at this age. Babies start to grasp toys at this age, so you can finally start introducing some fun things for playtime.

The wake time for 3 month olds is around 1.5 hours. It is finally a nice amount of time- allowing you to get out of the house a bit more and do some fun activities as well. 

The schedule in general really falls into place at this age. Naps are in a good rhythm as well. 

This is the month that I finally felt like everything was working!!

With naps you can run into some short catnaps all day. They will grow out of this soon, as they learn to connect sleep cycles. 

Learn how to handle short naps in this monthly guide by age.

Waking Early From Naps

Learn what to do by age!

Waking Early From Naps

Wondering what to do with your baby during wake time? Check out this blog post from Journey of Parenthood.

Awake time for 4 month old

  • Cycle length: 3-4 hours
  • Awake time: 2 hours
  • # of Naps: 3

Wake time at the 4 month age is again a whole new world!

Babies are starting to follow noises now, so some fun games can be created with this.

Exploring is the best thing at this age- indoors and outdoors. Utilize the 2 hour wake time by exposing your baby to new things in their environment.

Continue giving them independent play from here on out. You’ll only notice a positive progression with it!

We also introduced solid foods during this month, and did sleep training. Solid foods end up taking a bunch of your baby’s “wake time”. 

Printable Parenting Tools

Printable Shape and Color Cards
Printable Potty Training Reward Chart
Printable Calm Down Tool Kit for Toddlers
Printable Toy Bin Labels
Printable Babywise Schedule Newborn to 6 months
Printable Shape and Color Cards
Printable Potty Training Reward Chart
Printable Calm Down Tool Kit for Toddlers
Printable Toy Bin Labels
Printable Babywise Schedule Newborn to 6 months
Printable Shape and Color Cards
Printable Potty Training Reward Chart
Printable Calm Down Tool Kit for Toddlers
Printable Toy Bin Labels
Printable Babywise Schedule Newborn to 6 months

Check out these posts before starting solid foods:

The progression of feeding solid foods to your baby. Starting at 4 to 6 months with purees, and working up to bite sized pieces by 7 months. #baby #solidfood #food #purees #feedingbaby

Printable Baby Schedules (Newborn thru 6 months)

Head over to my shop at Printable Parenting Tools

You can print my recommended schedules that have suggested feeding times, awake times, naps and more!

Awake time for 5 month old

  • Cycle length: 3-4 hours
  • Awake time: 2 hours
  • # of Naps: 3

The wake time during month 5 was pretty much the same as month 4 for us.

Caroline was trying to boycott the catnap and have longer wake time, but wasn’t consistent with it. 

Occasionally, she was also wanting longer naps. 

I went with the flow and allowed her to sleep as long as she wanted for the first two naps. When she slept longer, I’d skip the catnap with her. 

She wasn’t consistent enough with it to change the schedule yet, however.

This was a direct result of a wonder week, a growth spurt towards the end of the month, and learning how to sit!

Click here to read about handling growth spurts.

Click here to read about the wonder weeks.

Awake time for 6 month old

  • Cycle length: 4.5 hours
  • Awake time: 2.5-3 hours
  • # of Naps: 2-3

Wake time for 6 month old- this month I was wondering if I was finally going to be successful in extending wake time, and dropping the catnap. 

Well, we were able to finally drop the catnap. It felt like a long time coming, and it was a hard (but necessary) transition for our 6 month old. 

Click here to read about how we dropped the catnap.

With our success with dropping the catnap, the wake time was extended this month. 

Wake time involved a lot of sitting, since that was her newly acquired skill.

It’s so much fun to see what your baby’s interests are once they can sit up and start reaching for what they want!

Baby & Toddler Schedules

View all of our schedules here!

Baby & Toddler Schedules

Awake time for 7 month old

  • Cycle length: 4.5 hours
  • Awake time: 2.5-3 hours
  • # of Naps: 2

The wake time for a 7 month old should be very close to that of the 6 month schedule. (Depending on the month that you drop the catnap).

For us, this month was just a repeat with wake time, and was a month of getting into such a good flow. 

Caroline was comfortable with her longer naps, longer wake time, and no catnap. Her schedule became so flexible and very spot on at the same time!

Awake time for 8 month old

  • Cycle length: 4.5-5 hours
  • Awake time: 3-3.5 hours
  • # of Naps: 2

The wake time for an 8 month old, starts to increase as they approach the 1 year milestone.

A baby is now able to handle 3-3.5 hours of wake time. 

For us, that meant pushing out bedtime a bit to accommodate her need for longer wake times.

Our daughter’s big wake time interests were trying to crawl, taking assisted steps, and feeding herself. 

During this month she was eating everything we ate, just in small bite sized pieces, and she was loving feeding herself.

We were trying to cook meals that were finger friendly!

Baby awake on changing table. Having awake time based on baby awake times chart

Awake time for 9 month old

  • Cycle length: 4.5-5 hours
  • Awake time: 3-3.5 hours
  • # of Naps: 2

Pretty much everything is the same for the 9 month old wake time as it was last month.

The schedule is almost identical. At this point we were just focused on starting to wean from breastfeeding, as we planned to stop at 1 year.

With how well Caroline did with solid foods, that was no problem at all. 

Wake time activities included a whole lot of eating, crawling, and assited walking! She was on the move and loving it!

Awake time for 10 month old

  • Cycle length: 5-5.5 hours
  • Awake time: 3-5.5 hours
  • # of Naps: 1-2

At 10 months, it is quite possible that your baby will start wanting more and more wake time. 

Our daughter toyed with the idea of dropping to one nap at this age!

We ended up having two schedules that we alternated:

  • Schedule A had two naps and was the same wake time as last month.
  • Schedule B had one nap and much longer wake time (5.5 hours). 
  • She seemed to need to alternate between both schedules in order to be successful at either!

Month 10 Schedule

Check out the two schedules that worked well for us this month.

Month 10 Schedule

Awake time for 11 month old

  • Cycle length: 5-5.5 hours
  • Awake time: 3-5.5 hours
  • # of Naps: 1-2

Wake time for the 11 month old can vary a great deal, depending on if you are still on 1 or 2 naps.

Again, for us, we were alternating schedules (which seemed to work best than being all on either schedule).

Wake time is more and more fascinating with each month. 

Our daughter was walking short little bits on her own at this point. She was also fascinated with details and looking at books.

Awake time for 12 month old

  • Cycle length: 5-5.5 hours
  • Awake time: 3-5.5 hours
  • # of Naps: 1-2

Wake time for the 12 month old is the same story as the last two months- very dependent on your child and if he or she is needing one or two naps. 

Don’t forget that you can do what works for you. If your child is ready for 1 nap all the time, go for it! 

If they aren’t ready for the occasional 1 nap day, don’t do it yet. 

For us, we found a great balance with having an alternating schedule!

Click here to view sample schedules from The Journey of Parenthood (a fellow Babywise mom) for the entire first year!

Baby Sleep Times

So we’ve considered baby awake times. But just as important, are baby sleep times.

These two concepts go hand in hand, and healthy sleep for little ones is so important.

Some important concepts to keep in mind as you go through the first year with your infant:

  • Falling asleep on their own helps babies to have better night sleep overall.
  • Some form of sleep training can help your baby learn to self soothe.
  • Sleep training can even help combat sleep regressions and avoid the need for hiring someone for sleep consulting.
  • Sleep training is not just “cry it out”. Read about sleep training methods here
  • Newborn baby sleep is all over the place. Your job is to keep the feeding schedule, and establish day from night. Past that don’t worry.
  • Newborn sleep schedule- it is just a nice to have. It’s a goal. Don’t stress if you don’t stick to schedule perfectly. 
  • Sleep is something that babies have to learn to do well. They have to learn how to fall asleep, how to transition sleep cycles, and when to sleep. 
  • There are sleep regressions (4 month sleep regression). Prepare for these by having consistent routines, naps, and awake times (see chart below). 
  • Know that the 6 week old sleep schedule is much different than the 1 month old sleep schedule, or sleep at 4 months old, etc. Changes occur frequently.
  • Speaking of changes, the 2 month old bedtime for us was much different than bedtime for our 3 month old. This was the month we really got a solid bed time.
  • Sleep at 4 months old seems to be challenging for most due to the 4 month old sleep regression. I think we completely skipped this regression by doing sleep training at 4 months.
  • Putting cycle time and awake time together:
    • If the total cycle time is 4 hours, and the wake time per cycle is 2 hours, that means your baby should be sleeping 2 hours each cycle.  
    • Do your best to take notes and monitor your baby’s unique needs and compare that to our times in the table below. Adjust to your baby’s needs as needed.

Click here to read a great post on sleep training with no tears.

Common Questions & Answers

  • How many hours should a newborn sleep?
    • About 16-18 hours TOTAL in 24 hours. You want as much of that happening at night as possible. (See this great chart for reference)
  • How much should a 1 month old sleep?
    • Same as newborn above.
  • How much does a 2 month old sleep?
    • The same average times as above, but you’ll notice a slight decrease in your baby’s sleep for sure as they start to have longer wake times.
  • How much do babies sleep?
    • How much do babies sleep versus how much should babies sleep can be very different if you aren’t focused on their schedule. Use the wake time chart below to draft your ideal schedule.
  • Why do babies sleep so much?
  • How long should babies sleep?
    • Base this off of your baby’s age in the chart below. Make sure to keep the cycle and awake times in mind, and wake if it is a feeding time. 
  • How often do newborns sleep?
    • It feels like they sleep all the time! They do sleep a lot and will likely just be awake for feedings in the first week or so.
  • When do babies sleep longer?
    • I’m guessing this question is referring to nighttime sleep. Babies start sleeping longer as they learn to do so. If you follow schedules, and eat, wake sleep routines, they will learn to sleep longer, much more quickly than otherwise.
  • How should a newborn sleep?
    • Safely. This means no blankets or loose items in their sleeping area. They should sleep on their backs. Swaddling is fine. 

Baby Awake Time Chart

(For the First Year)

Times in this chart are based on our experiences. We initially based our schedules off of the Babywise book, and the Sleep Charts at MyBabySleepGuide.

AgeCycle Length# of CyclesWake Time per Cycle# of Naps
1-2 wks2 hours8minimalN/A
3-4 wks2.5-3 hours6-71 hourN/A
2 months3 hours6-71 hr – 1hr 10 min5-6
3 months2.5-3 hours51.5 hours4
4 months3-4 hours52 hours3
5 months3.5-4 hours42 hours3
6 months4.5 hours42.5-3 hours2-3
7 months4.5 hours32.5-3 hours2
8 months4.5-5 hours33-3.5 hours2
9 months4.5-5 hours33-3.5 hours2
10 months5-5.5 hours33-5.5 hours1-2
11 months5-5.5 hours33-5.5 hours1-2
12 months5-5.5 hours33-5.5 hours1-2
ideal baby wake times

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Hi there! I’m Katrina (aka Mama). I am a former engineer and chemistry teacher, turned stay at home mom and mom blogger. I have been blogging since 2015, and have taken my love of engineering and science, and tried to applied many of the same methods to my parenting adventure.

I have a huge passion for Babywise and prioritizing sleep for our children. I am mom to 3 (including one angel baby that had trisomy 13). A huge mission of mine is to share her story and legacy. I am a big believer in being real and doing what works for YOUClick here to subscribe to my weekly newsletter to follow our story. 

This blog is intended to be our story and our ideas- including successes and failures along the way. You can also find me published at Today Parenting, Her View From Home, VitamedMD, Love What Matters, and The Mirror. Follow me on Facebook and Pinterest for more parenting tips and to hear more about our journey!

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