Originally posted by brenda2,
What are A times?
A (Activity) time is all the time LO is awake. It includes feeding, diaper changes, playtime, winding down, shh/pat and the going to sleep process. In other words, any time your baby is not in a stage of sleep is A time.
If your plan is to have 1.5 hours of A time keep in mind the length of your winddown and how long it takes your baby to actually fall asleep. As a result, you may be starting the wind down after 1 hour and have him in the crib at 1 hour 15 minutes to allow 15 minutes to go to sleep. Spirited (and sometimes Touchy) bubs may need a short winddown and a short going to sleep process so adjust this timing accordingly.
While you should always watch your baby for sleepy cues to decide when to put him down, you do want to have a general idea of how much A time you are aiming for. Sometimes the first yawn (with young babies what about particular types??) can be too late. Furthermore, after 6 months some older babies either stop giving sleep cues or the normal cues are no longer reliable. This is not meant to encourage clock-watching, but instead help you learn your baby's (new) cues & respond to his needs accordingly.
How Do I Adjust EASY if I have a Short Napper?
Short naps really throw a wrench into the EASY plan! 30 minute naps usually mean OT (overtired) and 45 minute naps can mean OT or UT (undertired). Knowing that will help you to plan an appropriate A time for your baby. For example, if he had 1 hour A time and did a 45 minute nap he may have needed a longer A time. If, on the other hand, he had 2 hours A time and did a 30 minute nap he likely needed a shorter A time.
Whatever the reason for the short nap, they wonít be well rested when they wake up and therefore wonít be able to tolerate normal (for their age) A times. For at least the next cycle (and possibly all day) you will need to reduce A times.
Between the short naps and adjusting the subsequent A time(s) your EASY will look more like EASAS or EASAEAS. This is okay; itís important for LO to have more naps in a day if they are all short. Your main goal at this point is to accumulate enough day sleep overall and continue to encourage independent sleep.
Therefore, if your baby has a short nap and you canít settle him back down for more sleep (count all resettling time as A time if baby does not fall back asleep), they may have a short, quiet A time outside of the crib, but possibly not outside of his bedroom, and then go back for another nap before itís time for the next feed. Try your best to fit the feeds around the short naps (granted, this can be difficult!!) which may mean feeding slightly earlier or later depending on when the nap falls. With short napping itís generally more important for them to get back on track with sleep to avoid OT than it is to have their feed exactly on time.
So although you may plan your day with the ďregularĒ A times in mind, the subsequent A time (and the rest of your day) depends on the length of this first nap. If the first nap is long enough (usually greater than an hour) repeat the length of the first A time in the next EASY cycle. If, however, the first nap is short (less than 45 min) shorten your next A time by at least 30 minutes. Hopefully this will allow LO to have the next nap as long as necessary in order to get back on track with EASY.
How do I know my baby is ready to increase their A times?
With regards to whether it's time to extend A time, your lo is the best gauge of that. Signs are if he's starting to be more difficult to get to sleep for his naps, or if his naps start to be cut short Ė this means that his bodyís not quite tired enough to relax enough for a longer, more refreshing nap. It's always best to increase A time in increments, usually of around 10-15 mins. Any more could result in an overtired & cranky lo.
When you are upping A times some babies HATE it!! This is a situation where we say 'Mummy knows best!'. Once they are used to the A time push- this only takes a day or 2- they are much happier and sleeping better. Also- they can seem tired and grumpy- when they actually need a change in scenery.
What are the Average A times for my baby?
Here is a general guideline of what you can expect regarding awake time for your lo: (remember some babies get a little more, some a little less. It's just a rough guideline)
Awake time for babies
Newborn 50-60 mins
1 month 60 mins-hour and 15
2 months 1 hour and 15 - 20 mins
3 months 1 hour and 20 - 30 mins
4 months 1 hour and 45 - 2 hours
5 months 2 hours - 2.25 hours
Late 5 months/early 6 months 2.25-2.5 hours
6.5 - 7 months 2.75-3 hours. Some are getting more.
8 - 10 months 3 - 4 hours. Some are getting more.
11 - 12 months 3.5 -4.5 hours. Some are getting more if moved early to 1 nap
***Remember these are guidelines, NOT rules, so if you feel that your baby is not yet ready for these A times, please do not force them, as this will cause further problems***
additions by Amayzie in 2013