Is it ok to wake my baby up?

Nothing is sweeter than a sleeping baby! A baby's sleep is believed to be sacrosanct, and waking them up is taboo. Well, we've got news. While babies need sleep, they don't care when they sleep, whether it's during the day or during the night. Therefore, a baby that sleeps the majority of the day will simply not be tired enough at night. That's the hard truth! It gets worse: as babies age, even within the first 6 months of life, their sleep need and therefore total sleep duration drastically decreases, from 20 hours daily sleep as a newborn, to only 13 hours as a 6 month old!

Where do these hours go? As they grow, babies are able to stay awake for longer stretches of time before their sleep pressure makes them sleep again. Now, those 13 hours of total daily sleep can be distributed in many different ways across day and night. Babies themselves don't care whether they sleep 6 hours during the day and only 7 hours at night - but we do. If you want baby to sleep 10 hours at night, then only 13 hours minus 10 hours are left for daytime sleep equals 3 hours of total nap time. That's one of the secrets of the How Babies Sleep method, and research strongly supports the notion that gently waking babies up to match the desired daytime sleep duration directly improves nighttime sleep. 

How do we wake babies up? You can be a little noisy around them. If she still sleeps, it's ok to pick her up. It's normal for babies to be cranky - you can distract her with a new toy or show her something, or feed her.

Questions? Email