The idea behind infant wake windows is this: a baby should be awake for a certain amount of time in between each nap. If the wake window is exceeded, you get into overtired territory, which counterintuitively leads to less sleep.
There are two things I want to stress here before diving in:
So now that you know about wake windows, what do you do with that information? You'll see that for each age there is a range of time for the wake window. Baby's awake time should lengthen as the day progresses, with the longest window being the last before bed. You do not need to apply wake windows overnight!
You are probably wondering what counts as awake time? Or more specifically, does feeding time count as awake time? Yes, active feeding time counts as awake time. Things get less specific if baby falls asleep during feeding. My general rule is to pause the clock on the wake window if you expect baby to wake up as soon as you take away the breast or bottle. But remember, babies are not robots, so this is by no means a hard and fast rule.
I like to refer to the time from the beginning of one feeding to the start of the next as one cycle, and each cycle will probably be different throughout the day. You might find that your baby doesn't want to nap every time they should, especially once they become more aware and interested in the world! If baby won't go to sleep, continue to give them the time to rest and be calm so they have the opportunity to nap. In this case, do not try to restart the wake window for the next cycle, but attempt a nap right after feeding (if they don't fall asleep during).
You can download your free guide to infant wake windows below and let me know if you find it helpful! Make sure you subscribe for blog updates and recommendations to come!