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When to Wake a Sleeping Baby
When to Wake a Sleeping Baby
By Babogue
Posted on May 17, 2021
Read time 5 minutes

Managing your baby's sleep schedule can take a lot of work, and although it is common to hear you should never wake your baby, some circumstances may require you to do! Getting a good night of sleep is especially tricky with newborns, who have not yet formed a circadian rhythm and struggle to distinguish night from day. Sleep problems can arise because of this, and although babies need to nap during the day, it is incredibly important that the whole family get a good sleep at night. You may be trying to get your baby to sleep through the night up to six months of age and beyond, which is why sometimes you have to take the dreaded step of waking your baby during the day.

Babogue is here to give you some examples of when you should interrupt a sleeping baby, and why it is important to do so!

How Long Should My Baby Sleep During the Day?

Newborn babies need a lot more sleep than older babies, but should also be fed around every two to three hours to provide them with the nutrients they need to grow and to stimulate weight gain. Although each baby varies, newborn sleep is often around 16 to 18 hours out of a 24 hour period! Because of this, it is important that newborns nap often - up to 3 hours for each nap, with at least 30 minutes to 1 hour time awake in between.

As babies approach the 6 month mark, they need less naps and can stay awake for up to 2 hours between each nap. A 6 month old may also sleep for longer stretches at night, up to 8 hours! At this age, your baby still requires a feed, at least once during the night.

A 10-month-old is likely to sleep for long periods at night, up to 12 hours, with 2 naps during the day. Naps during the day at around 10 months should go on for no longer than 2 hours at one time, to prevent your little one's valuable night sleep from becoming interrupted.

When Should I Wake My Baby?

No matter how long babies sleep, there are some circumstances where you should wake a little one. Whether it is to regulate sleep patterns or to ensure a baby is in a safe position, waking a child is sometimes necessary, even if you have to experience a grumpy and tearful little one for a while.

wake a sleeping baby

Wake From an Evening Nap

It is okay to change up your little one's bedtime every now and then, but not too drastically or it may affect sleep needs. If a baby falls asleep too close to bedtime, they will be awake for much longer before they can sleep again, and may sleep less throughout the nighttime. If an evening nap becomes too long or too close to bedtime, parents should interrupt baby sleep. The last nap should be at least a couple of hours before bedtime, to ensure that your child sleep continues as normal when it gets dark. An evening nap may do much more harm than good.

Interrupt Sleep to Feed

One of the most important times to wake a baby, especially young babies, is for feeding. Waking your baby is necessary if they are a newborn and have gone over 3 hours without feeding. A young baby has an incredibly small stomach, which is why it is vital that parents wake a baby that hasn't been fed for too long. No matter whether you are feeding your baby with breast milk or a bottle, naps should be interrupted if your baby needs to be fed. Most babies will wake naturally when they are hungry, but if your little one doesn't wake, don't assume they aren't hungry! Waking for feeding is vital.

If Naps Are Too Long During the Day

Napping for too long during the day will have a big impact on your baby's ability to fall asleep at night. You should try to get into a routine which allows your little one to have sufficient naps during the day but also works well for the night. Many parents assume that they should allow their baby to nap for as long as they need during the day, but this can actually cause more sleep problems in the long run. Sleep shaping should help your baby to recognise when it is night and make bedtime less problematic. If you feel your little one is sleeping too much during the day, and therefore struggling to fall asleep in the evening, you should begin waking your little one from a nap.

Disrupt Baby Sleep for Safety

Safety is the most important reason you will need to wake a baby. The safest sleep position is a baby sleeping on their back, with no blankets or items that could suffocate or harm them during their nap. A side sleep position has the most risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) as your little one could end up rolling onto their stomach. Check on your little one regularly and wake if necessary to ensure safety.

Sleep regression naps

Sleep Solutions at Babogue

Here at Babogue, we truly understand how important sleep is, not just for children, but for the whole family. No matter how many weeks or months old your little one is, waking from a nap can help a great deal with bedtime and ensuring the whole family gets enough sleep. Our Sleep Series is a video-based sleep program that will help you to understand baby sleep and give your family a better chance at implementing a successful sleep routine. We also offer one-to-one sessions via our Virtual Sleep Solution for parents that feel they need a more tailored approach to solving their sleep challenges. Sleep is a necessity, not a luxury! Sign up to our Sleep Series online today or get in touch with us to arrange a one-to-one session.

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