Transitioning to One Nap a Day

Infant Sleep · Toddler Sleep

Naps are a beautiful thing, and I’m sure you wish you could snuggle down and nap the way your sweet baby gets to each day. In fact, you may be at the point where your little one isn’t showing nearly the appreciation for their nap time that you would!

If that’s the case, perhaps it’s time to shift from two naps to one. But how can you be certain?

When Is It Time To Move To One Nap A Day?

Sometimes babies just don’t want to sleep. Sometimes teething can disrupt their normally scheduled behavior. Other times they may be learning something new or extra stimulated by external factors.

And sometimes it’s that it really is time to say goodbye to that afternoon nap and go down to one daytime sleep period.

The Right Age For One Nap A Day

Is there really a “right” age that’s one size fits all so parents can be sure it’s the right time to cut out that second nap time?

Of course not; each baby is uniquely special and you want to do what is best for your little one…not live by some arbitrary number in a book.

However, there is an expected point parents will start to see cues that it might be time and the average age that occurs is right around 13 months. That age combined with the behavior cues will let you know it’s time to transition.

The Hints That It’s Time To Reduce Naps

So what behavior cues will let you know it’s time to reduce the number of naps your sweet baby is taking each day?

Well, first you’ll see the they start fussing during the second nap or play in their crib through it. They resist that sleep like a champ!

After a couple of days of this you realize, “It must be time!” And then the next (and the day or two after that), she naps beautifully.

It’s not quite time, then, but will be soon.

This can go back and forth for several weeks (and often will). But once you hit a 5-day streak of no sleeping 2-3 weeks in a row during that second nap time, you know it’s time to officially make the change.

How To Transition From 2 Naps To 1

When your baby takes 2 naps a day, one is in the morning and one in the afternoon with a gap in between. When the afternoon nap is eliminated, the morning nap must move back to later in the day so that it still bisects your baby’s awake time.

Rather than make a jarring adjustment all at once, easy the morning nap back a half hour every few days. So on Monday, move the 10 a.m. nap to 10:30 and then on Thursday make it 11 a.m. and so on. Nice, easy, gentle changes for both of you.

12:30 is really a great time for an afternoon nap; eat lunch and put her to bed with a full tummy!

And remember, sleep changes take time. You might find your wee one needs a catnap in the stroller or car seat in the late afternoon or perhaps wants to fall asleep a bit earlier at night. That’s okay; her body is getting used to fewer periods of sleep and it will all level out.

So remember:

  • Watch for behavior cues around 13 months of age to know what it’s time
  • Playing and/or fussing during second nap instead of sleeping for 5+ days a week, 3 consecutive weeks in a row
  • Shift morning naps ahead 30 minutes at a time, every 3 days
  • Catnaps are okay to tide over til bedtime during the adjustment
  • You’re not alone; we’re here to help support you through this!

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