Around the time of your baby’s first birthday, they’re likely to start needing slightly less daytime sleep. This usually means they can switch from two shorter daytime naps down to one longer one.
This can be a very tough transition to make. Pushing their nap time later in the day can lead to overtiredness, but letting them sleep too early in the day means they’ll be awake for too long before bedtime.
In today’s video, I’ve got a few tips to help you find the balance between these two undesirable scenarios and get your baby down to one nap a day without messing up their schedule.
Today I wanna talk about transitioning your baby from two naps down to one, what to look for, and what are the signs that your baby is ready. Well, let’s start with the age. I find that this starts to show up somewhere around the first birthday. I have seen it in babies as early as nine months, and I’ve seen it in toddlers as late as 18 months. So there is a pretty big variation in ages here. But for the sake of discussion, let’s say roughly around the first birthday is when this starts to show up.
So what should you look for? Well, the good news is that the morning nap is usually going wonderfully. She’s taking a nice two-hour morning nap. It’s perfect. Everything’s awesome until you get to that afternoon nap. And you go to put her down like you normally would, and she either cries for half an hour before she finally falls asleep, or more commonly, she just lays in her crib and chitchats and sings to herself for 45 minutes before she finally falls asleep for 20 minutes. And this will be showing up about four times a week.
That’s the trick. You think, just when you start to think, okay, I guess she’s only, she only needs one nap, then all of a sudden she’ll take two naps perfectly. But if this is showing up I’d say four to five times per week for longer than the two-week period, because it could just be a little phase she’s going through, a developmental milestone, but if it’s showing up for longer than two weeks, then I would say it’s a good sign that she’s ready to transition. So how do you do it? Well, basically what we need to do is take that morning nap that’s going wonderfully and just push it down until it gets to a more appropriate hour. But we can’t do this too hard because we’ll send her into overtiredness, and that’ll just make everything worse.
So we’ve gotta basically slowly inch that morning nap down till it gets to about 12:30. That’s a perfect place for one nap a day. So just every three days or so, inch that morning nap down by 30 minutes until it gradually gets to where you want it. She should still take a beautiful morning nap. The problem is for a little while you’ve got a lot of space between when she wakes up from that nap and bedtime. So how can you fill that gap? Well, my advice would be to take her for a walk or a car ride in the later afternoon, you know, maybe around three o’clock, 3:30. Give her a bit of a catnap in that scenario so it’ll take the edge off a little bit and get her to her normal bedtime. You can also move bedtime earlier by 30 minutes to compensate for some of the fatigue that might be setting in at that time.
Now, this is a transition. And anytime we make changes to a body clock, it takes time for the body to catch up. So don’t panic if this doesn’t go smoothly right from the get-go. It won’t , okay? That I can tell you. It’s gonna take about four weeks before you finally feel like, okay, we got this. She’s doing well with one nap a day. So just hang in there. I do think once you’ve decided to make the jump, go for it. Don’t waffle back and forth. Just keep moving forward with it. That’ll get her body clock in line with the changes a lot faster.
Thanks so much for watching today. Sleep well.
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