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Posts Tagged ‘transition from two naps to one nap’

How will you know it is time to drop a nap?
Typically, they tend to resist taking the last nap of the day or seem unsettled during the last nap of the day. They might even start to sleep a shorter amount of time for that nap. All of the other naps could also be effected, causing them to be shorter in length. You may even notice he may have a hard time going to bed at your designated bedtime, making bedtime later than you would desire. For some babies, they might even start waking early in the mornings because they are getting to much daytime sleep.

Try Shortening the nap to a catnap first
If your baby is experiencing sleeping problems mention above, sometimes all you have to do is shorten the last nap of the day to a catnap. A catnap is a nap that is usually very brief, about 30-45 minutes in length. If, however, shortening the last nap to a catnap does not resolve the other nap lengths or help bedtime, then you know it is time to drop the last nap of the day.

Dropping the 4th Nap
Around what age will they drop the 4th nap? Between 4-5 months

It is easy to drop the 4th nap when you move from a 3 hour schedule to a 3.5/4 hour schedule. Another way to drop the 4th nap is to just keep your baby awake during that 4th nap, but you might have to put your baby to bed early for a few nights or weeks until they are adjusted to staying up longer at night before bedtime.

Personal Experience:
With my son, I dropped the 4th nap when I moved from a 3 hour schedule to a 4 hour schedule at 4 months of age.
My son’s schedule @3 months on a 3 hour schedule(4 naps):
8:00 Feed
9:30-10:30/11:00 Nap
11:00 Feed
12:30-2:00 Nap
2:00 Feed
3:30-5:00 Nap
5:00 Feed
6:30-7:15 Cat Nap
7:30 Feed
9:00-10:30 Nap/ Nighttime sleep
10:30 Feed & Put right back to Bed for nighttime sleep

My son’s schedule @4 months on a 3.5/4 hour schedule (3 naps):
7:00 Feed
8:30-10:30 Nap
10:30 Feed
12:30-2:30 Nap
2:30 Feed
4:30-6:30 Nap *** He stopped taking a good nap here at around 20 weeks old so I began to shorten it to a cat nap
6:30 Feed
9:00 Feed
9:15/ 9:30 Bed

With my twin daughters, I dropped the the 4th nap when I move from a 3 hour schedule to a 3.5 hour schedule. There was about a week or two when I had to put the twins to bed around 6/6:30pm instead of the desired 6:45pm/7pm when I dropped the 4th nap. Gradually I started to stretch out their bedtime back to 6:45/7pm as they learned to stay awake longer at night.
Twin’s schedule @ 4 months on a 3 hour schedule (4 naps):
7:00 Nurse
8:30-10:00 Nap
10:00 Nurse
11:30-1:00 Nap
1:00 Nurse
2:30-4:00 Nap
4:00 Nurse
5:30-6:15 Nap
6:15 Nurse
7:45 Nurse
8:00 Bedtime

Twins’ Schedule @5 months on a 3.5 hour schedule (3 naps):
7:00 Nurse
8:30-10:30 Nap
10:30 Nurse & Solids
12:15-2:15 Nap
2:15 Nurse
4:00-4:45 Nap
4:45 Nurse & Solids
6:15 Nurse
6:45 Anna Bedtime, 7:00 Molly Bedtime

Dropping the 3rd Nap

Around what age will they drop the 3rd nap? Between 6-8 months of age

Typically around 6-8 months, you will find that your baby will be able to stay awake longer in the evenings. Your baby will most likely be on a 4 hour schedule at this point and will not longer require the 3rd nap (usually a cat nap by this time). I have found that around 6-8 months of age, babies tend to fall into a 2-3-4 napping schedule. This is when the baby is awake for 2 hours in the morning and then nap, awakes for 3 hours in the afternoon and then naps, and then awake for 4 hours in the evening before going to bed. For more information on a 2-3-4 napping schedule, please see my post 2-3-4 napping schedule for older babies: https://blogginaboutbabies.wordpress.com/2009/05/13/2-3-4-nap-schedule-for-older-babies/

Personal Experience:
My son Cooper dropped the 3rd nap at 6 months of age. I just decided that he did not need that nap any longer because it was effecting his bedtime. He need a longer wake time before bedtime and I did not want to put him to bed any later than 8pm. So I just dropped the catnap cold turkey. It took about a week or two of distracting him and helping him stay awake the last hour before bedtime, but he eventually he was able to stay awake happily until bedtime without the catnap.

Cooper’s Schedule @5 months (3 naps)
7:00 Feed (milk & solids)
9:00-11:00 Nap
11:00 Feed (milk & solids)
1:00- 3:00 Nap
3:00 Feed (milk only)
5:00-5:45 Cat Nap
5:45 Feed (solids only)
7:45 Feed (milk only)
8:00 Bed

Cooper’s Schedule @6 months (2 naps)
7:00 milk & solids
9:00 nap
11:30 milk & solids
2:00/2:30 nap
3:30/4:00 milk
5:30 solids
6:30 bath & milk
7:00 bed

My twins dropped the 3rd nap at 6 months of age. I knew they needed to drop the catnap because they started to refuse to sleep for the 3rd nap and if they did take the 3rd nap, they would stay awake longer at night before bedtime. I did not drop the catnap cold turkey with them though. I started trying to keep them awake until bedtime without a catnap. Some nights they could make it to bedtime without the 3rd nap and other nights they could not skip the catnap and would need to take it. Anna dropped the catnap much quicker than Molly. On some nights that they dropped the catnap, they had to go to bed earlier than 7pm, which is their normal bedtime. Even now at almost 8 months old, Molly still needs to go to bed earlier, around 6:30pm and Anna can make it to 7/7:30pm.

Twin’s Schedule @first half of 6 Months
7:00 Nurse & Solids
9:00-11:00 Nap
11:00 Nurse & Solids
1:00-3:00 Nap
3:00 Nurse
5:00- 5:30 Nap
5:30 Nurse & Solids
7:30 Nurse & Bed

Twin’s Schedule @Second half of 6 months
7am Nurse
8am Solids
9:00/9:15- 11:00 Nap (Molly goes down for a nap sooner than Anna)
11:00 Nurse
12:30 Solids
1:15/1:30- 3:30 Nap (Molly goes down for a nap sooner than Anna)
3:30 Nurse
5:00 Solids
6:30 Molly Bottle, Followed by Bed
7:00 Anna Nurse, Followed by Bed

Dropping the Second Nap
Around what age will they drop the 2nd nap? Typically between 15-18 months of age, but for some it could be as early as 12 months old.

I wrote a long post about moving from two naps a day to only one nap a day. Please read that post to get more information about dropping the second nap. https://blogginaboutbabies.wordpress.com/2009/12/14/transition-from-two-naps-to-one-nap/

Personal Experience:
With both my son Cooper and my twin daughters, I found that I had to shorten the morning nap in order for them to be tired enough to still take a good afternoon nap. If my kids took a longer nap 1.5-2 hours in the morning, the afternoon nap started became shorter or they required a longer wake time in order to go to sleep for their second nap (making the second nap too late in the day and thus effecting bedtime). I shortened the morning nap to 1 hour and the afternoon nap was preserved this way and was usually about 1.5-2 hours in length.

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Usually sometime between 15-18 months old, your toddler will no longer need two naps and will start the transition to one nap. The mid-day nap usually starts around 12:30/1:00pm and last 2-3 hours. However, for some young toddlers, this transition can happen soon, as was the case with my son. Right around my son’s first birthday (12 months-old), my son stopped taking good naps. This was a sign to me that it was time to start the process of weaning him off two naps and down to one nap.

Signs that your toddler might be ready for one nap:
1. Takes too long to fall asleep for the morning nap
2. Takes a very short morning nap
3. Sleeps too long for the morning nap that your child will not take an afternoon nap or will take a very late afternoon nap that effects bedtime
4. In some cases, the afternoon nap can also be effected- same reasons listed for #1-3

How I knew my son was ready to make the transition from 2 naps to 1 nap:
My son was taking pretty solid naps 2- 1.5 hours of sleep daily for each nap. Then he started taking very long to fall asleep for his morning nap and needing a longer wake time to take the afternoon nap. His also started taking a longer amount of time to fall asleep at bedtime because his afternoon sleep was too close to his nap.

What I did to help transition my son from two naps to one nap:
So I pushed the morning nap up by 1/2 hour so he would be tired enough to take the nap and shortened the morning nap to a cat nap (30-45 minutes). I also increase the amount of wake time between the two naps so he would be tired enough to take the afternoon nap. The second transition schedule worked for a very short while (2-3 weeks). Then suddenly he stopped taking his morning nap. Instead of taking a morning nap, he would just “rest in his crib”. After his morning nap was a “rest period” instead of a nap for over a week, I decided to drop the morning nap and just move to one middle of the day nap. This is what his schedules looked like during the transition:

#1 Schedule with two solid naps
7am wake up
10-11:30/12:00 nap
3:00-4:30/5:00 nap
8:00 bedtime
#2 Schedule with two naps in transition
7am wake up
10:30-11:00/ 11:15 nap
3:00-4:30 nap
8:00 bedtime

#3 Schedule with one middle of day nap
7am wake up
1:00-3:30/4:00 nap
8:00 Bedtime


Some tricks to dealing with one nap a day (when the transition is first made):

Your child is going to have a hard time at first with one nap a day. There morning wake time has lengthened considerably and they will most likely get fussy, cranky, and throw tantrums more easily. In order to deal with the late morning during the beginning stages of this transition I suggest you keep them active. Go outside to play, take them to the library for story time, have a play date with another child, go the park, run around the house…but do something to keep them busy so they will not be as agitated.  Don’t do activities that require sitting, such as watching a movie or driving in the car. They are sure fire ways to make them more cranky or even fall asleep before it is time for their nap. This will make their one nap disrupted and cause sleep problems.

There might be days when your child still needs two naps:
There might be days when after you have made the switch to one nap that your child might need two naps. I would say allow your child to take two naps only if necessary. I would try to limited your child to having two naps only once a week once you have made the switch over to one nap. Jumping from two naps to one nap will not allow your child’s body to adjust to a longer wake time in the morning.

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