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How do I drop my baby’s nap?!

HOT TOPIC!! This is one that no parent can avoid. Whether you have a 7 month old dropping to 2 naps, or a 14 month old who is moving to one nap a day, this blog is for YOU!

As your baby gets older, they will inevitably need fewer naps. With age, they can stay awake for longer stretches, and their total sleep needs slowly decrease. It’s important that we are adjusting their schedule to fit their new age and abilities, which will allow them to get more consolidated sleep. Isn’t that always the goal?! We want our babies to have the best quality sleep possible, so you can too! ♥️

Before we start adjusting their schedule, we want to be sure that they are ready for one less nap a day. So how do you know when your baby is ready to drop a nap?

🐑They can stay awake for longer stretches

🐑They are fighting naps (especially the last one!)

🐑Bedtime is getting more difficult, and it is taking them longer to fall asleep

🐑Early morning wake ups, split nights, and/or false starts

While you may not see ALL of the above signs, one or two of these examples could be indicative that a schedule change is needed. It’s also possible that your baby is going through a regression! Babies experience so much growth and change in the first couple of years, so let’s dive into WHEN we can expect nap transitions to occur, so we can ensure they are ready and rule out that something else is causing sleep disruptions.

🐑Newborns will take 4+ naps a day. They need 14-17 hours of total sleep a day, so don’t stress too much at this time. Follow their lead!

🐑At 4-5 months most babies will be taking between 3-4 naps. You can expect that nap 4 will need to go during this time. 

🐑Between 6-9 months, your baby will move to a 2 nap schedule. The timing of this transition will depend on how long their naps are. If they are great at napping, you may find that there is not enough time to fit in a third nap at 6 months old. On average, most babies are ready to drop nap 3 between 7-8 months. 

🐑Most babies will move to one nap a day between 12-18 months. On average, babies are most ready around 13-15 months. However, if you have a great napper you may see them drop to one nap around 12 months (rarely earlier, but it happens!). My girls both dropped to one nap around 11 months old, but they were very good nappers which allowed us to do so. 

🐑Your baby will need one nap a day for while! The timing of when the nap is no longer needed will depend on your child's individual sleep needs. Most children will no longer require a daily nap between 3-5 years old. At that time, I would recommend that we switch “naptime” with “quiet time,” to give them a bit of a break from the stimulation and prevent overtiredness.

If you’re seeing one or more of those signs of readiness, and they are at an age where a transition is common, then it’s probably time to DROP A NAP!

Before we just cut the last nap entirely, we want to ensure that we are getting to a reasonable bedtime. It’s common if you need to move bedtime earlier, up to one hour earlier, when we first start skipping a nap. If bedtime will be much too early, then we can utilize a bridge nap to extend their wake time and get to normal bedtime. Head to this blog to learn all about what a bridge nap is and how to use one

Remember that it usually takes several weeks to officially drop a nap! Take it slowly and follow your child’s lead. During this transition, your days will probably be inconsistent. It can be frustrating to not know what your day will look like when you wake up in the morning, but know that this is just a phase and you can have consistency again soon! 

I hope that you feel more equipped to take on nap transitions with confidence! As always, we are here to help you navigate the ups and downs of your child's sleep. Book a free call to chat with a Certified Sleep Coach today! 

Sweet Dreams,

Jane Anderson Certified Sleep Coach and Founder of Counting Sheep

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