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When should we transition from 2 to 1 naps?

Jul 28, 2021

When should we transition from 2 to 1 naps?  

Hi parents, 

Is it time for your baby to drop from 2 naps to 1?  Probably not yet! The conventional wisdom is that baby can drop from 2 to 1 naps between 14 to 18 months.  But I’m going to show you how and why you might want to try keeping 2 naps for closer to 18 months if possible. Let’s discuss.  

When your baby is on 2 naps, they have a morning nap and afternoon nap, and wake windows of 3-4 hours.  

When they first start with 2 naps, they will have nice chunky naps. The schedule may look like this:  

6:30am – wake 

9:30 - 11am – nap 1 

2:40 - 4pm – nap 2 

7:30pm – bed 

Now keep in mind – when you switch to 1 nap, baby has to be able to handle BIG wake windows, of 5-6 hours. That’s a big change!  

The schedule might look like this:  

6:30am – wake 

12:30 to 2:30pm – nap 

7:45pm – bed 

Often parents will think that it’s time to drop to 1 nap when the afternoon nap gets very difficult or there’s lots of drama at bedtime. Something sleep-related feels difficult and dropping the name feels like the only answer.    

However, I’m here to recommend that you keep 2 naps for as close to 18 months as possible. Why? Here’s why: 

  • The transition tends to be more seamless when we wait 
  • The baby won’t have to handle huge wake windows 
  • If you transition to 1 nap too early, there’s a chance of early rising which most of us don’t want (this happens cause they can’t make it all the way to bedtime, they fall asleep super early, and then wake up super early) 
  • It’s easier than you think to keep the 2 naps for longer 

How can you keep the 2 naps going for longer?  It’s easy! You have to trim some time away from the morning wakeup, make the naps a pinch shorter, and make bedtime a bit later. So as you get closer to 18 months, the schedule may look something like this: 

6:30am – wake 

10 to 11am – nap 1 

3:15 to 4:15pm – nap 2 

8pm – bed 

See how I’m being a little stingy with the naps and pushing bedtime a bit later?  And starting the day a bit earlier?  And as a result the wake windows are a bit bigger?  That’s how you’ll be able to keep your 2 naps going for longer.  This is one time when it’s ok to be “cheap with sleep.” 

Wishing you smooth transitions all through your parenting journey! 


Warmly,
Kerry

Cozy Little Sleeper, a 3-week course for newborns age 0 to 4 months

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