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Awake times for babies & toddlers

Awake times for babies & toddlers

Some parents prefer to use awake times rather than nap times to judge when their baby is ready for sleep. You can use this as an alternative if your baby or toddler only does shorter naps and you find Feed/Awake/Sleep or other routines aren't working for you.

Newborns 0-2 months

We recommend a total awake time of no more than an hour for newborns. This includes all the time spent feeding and burping, which can take pretty much a whole hour!! Look for tired signs around an hour, and you will hopefully avoid your baby becoming over tired.

During the night, try to do your feed and burping as quickly as possible and keep awake time to an absolute minimum.

Babies 2-4 months

During this stage, babies can increase their awake time to about 90 minutes. You might find you are getting resistance to your usual nap time or that naps are getting shorter. Both of these can be signs that you can increase awake time a bit more.

Elizabeth Pantley guidelines

This information has been supplied to us by the lovely Elizabeth Pantley, guru of gentle sleep solutions.

In addition to signs of tiredness also watch to see how long your child has been awake. Children can only stay happily awake for a certain period of time until they receive a biological pull towards a nap. Once that “pull” begins your child becomes fatigued and his cheerful mood begins to deteriorate.

Each child has unique sleep needs, but this chart shows the typical span of time a child can stay happily awake:

Age Awake time span


1-2 hours

6 month old

2-3 hours

12 month old

3-4 hours

18 month old

4-6 hours

2 year old

5-7 hours

3 year old

6-8 hours

4 year old

6-12 hours