If your baby is suddenly struggling with one or both of their naps, this can often be an indication that your little one is on the path to dropping from 2 naps to 1. It can be a very uncertain time for parents, especially if you do not know what signs to look out for. Let’s get right to it, because you most likely are pretty tired, and check and see if your baby is ready for this important nap transition.
Why dropping from 2 naps to 1 is important
Dropping from 2 naps to 1 is an important step in your child’s development. Sleep is always evolving, and their awake windows change and their stamina improves. While it can be a difficult transition for some babies, it is a necessary one for their sleep development, and to make sure that they are getting the proper amount of sleep in a 24 hour period. Remembering that “consistency also is key when adjusting to a sleep schedule”, which is recommended by American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)
Signs that your child is ready for the transition
When do babies drop from 2 naps to 1? Is your little one between 13 to 18 months? This is the average age for when a baby typically drops from 2 naps to 1. Every so often I have a family with a baby that transitions at 12 months, so it is important to remember that every child is unique. So what are the indicators that baby is ready? Check out this great list below:
- Will fight or not take one or more naps for approximately 5 days a week for two weeks.
- Typically is fighting the afternoon nap.
- Lays in the crib and babbles and plays at the start of the nap instead of falling asleep.
- Begins to take shorter naps.
- Struggles at bedtime because the second nap is now too close to bedtime.
How to drop from 2 naps to 1 nap
So, if you have read this far, and you are saying to yourself… “yes, this is my baby!”, then you are ready to make the transition. It is important to remember that this transition can sometimes take 4 weeks or more for your baby to fully adjust. Here is your how to:
- Baby will typically fight or not sleep at all during the 1st or second nap for approximately 5 days a week for two weeks. (This is an important first step, as we want to make sure that baby is not going through a developmental milestone that could be the cause of sleep disruptions.)
- The morning nap will now become the new nap.
- Shift the morning nap by 15 minutes every 3 days to the new nap time . Typically lands between 11:30 and 12:30. (Find your baby’s happy spot within this range).
- We are aiming for a 1- 3 hour nap.
- Offer early bedtime, as the adjustment can take 4-6 weeks.
I want to emphasize the importance of a adjusting bedtime earlier. Your child will seem overtired towards the end of the day as their body clock adjusts, offering that early bedtime prevents them from being overtired and struggling with bedtime or overnight sleep.
More tips for a smooth transition
Here are a few more tidbits to help this go as smoothly as possible:
- Ensure that you are doing a nap time and bedtime routine consistently every day.
- Check the temperature of the room. A room that is too warm can affect the time spent between different sleep stages, according to the Sleep Foundation. Baby’s room should be between 18-22 degrees Celsius (68-72 degrees Fahrenheit).
- Make sure to offer an appropriate bedtime.
- Wake your child at the same time every day to help set their circadian rhythm or “body clock”.
- If your child is showing tired signs between 9:00 and 10:00 am, offer them a healthy snack and take them out for some outdoor play.
Dropping from 2 naps to 1 is exciting!
This transition now allows you to have a bit more free time in the morning to do activities, classes, play dates and spend time with your baby, as well as a nice amount of time in the afternoon too. By moving from 2 naps to 1, it can make the day more predictable, allowing you to establish a schedule that is consistent from day to day. Remember to make sure that your baby is showing the signs that they are ready for the 2 naps to 1 nap transition before beginning, and use the above tips to make that transition as smooth as possible. Be patient with your baby, and they will be taking one long middle of the day snooze in no time.
If your baby is struggling with their sleep overall, reaching out for support and guidance can be key to help you and your baby get the sleep that you both deserve. Sign up here for my Free Baby Sleep Goals Guide and sleep tips, and book a Free Baby Sleep Assessment Call With Me, to learn more about how I help families just like yours go from exhausted to rested.