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It is essential to find baby’s optimal wake time and put them to sleep for a nap or bedtime before they become overly tired. By doing this, you enable easy transitions from play periods to sleep periods, and set the foundation for consistent nighttime sleep. Don’t forget…sleep gets sleep.
Keeping baby awake for too long at any given time will negatively effect the next sleep period, where they will likely struggle to go to sleep, wake up early, and/or wake up unhappy. Conversely, putting a baby down too soon for a nap, can also cause these same issues.
It’s imperative to take both the clock and the baby into consideration when determining their optimal wake time at any given age. Watch for baby’s sleep cues within their age-appropriate optimal wake time range, and get them to sleep as soon as you see them. If sleep cues aren’t shown or you miss them, get baby to sleep by the end of their optimal wake time range.
It is also important to limit the amount of time baby spends napping during the day to reflect their age-appropriate amount of total sleep in a 24-hour period, less the 12 hours you want at night. If baby gets too much of their total sleep during the day, it can cause severe nighttime sleep disruptions.