Ready to start tnap transition?
Young babies sleep when they need to but as they grow up they’ll tend to fall into a pattern of two daytime naps, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. However, between 12 and 24 months most babies will drop one of their naps. Read on to find out how to determine if your baby is ready to take the nap transition from two naps to one, and how to make it as easy as possible.
A lack of sleep makes babies irritable so you should never force a nap transition on your baby before they are ready. Babies under twelve months generally need two naps, and if your baby is cranky and miserable when they do miss a nap they’re not ready, either.
Nap transition signs
Don’t start thinking about dropping a nap if your baby is tired and grumpy four hours after waking in the morning, falls asleep every time they are in the car or sleeps well despite fussing before a nap – these are all signs that they still need their sleep.
On the other hand, if you spot any of the following it could be a sign that your baby may be ready to drop a nap:
- Baby misses a nap – perhaps because you’re out and about – and remains cheerful and happy
- Baby has one good nap a day but resists being put down for another one
- Baby rarely falls asleep in the car
- Baby spends at least the first half hour of nap time playing, talking or fussing before falling asleep
If your baby is showing any of the signs above, they are probably ready to make the nap transition.
So what is the best way to make the transition from two naps a day to just one? First, don’t just drop a nap … you need to make the transition gradually, so your baby doesn’t suffer from a lack of sleep.
The best way is to drop the afternoon nap but gradually move the morning nap backwards. If baby normally sleeps between 10am and 11.30am try moving it back to 10.30am, then 11am and so on. You might find that you need to give baby a healthy snack before their nap, so they don’t wake up early because they are hungry. It will also help if you bring bedtime forwards, as your baby is likely to be tired earlier. Eventually naptime will settle at lunchtime or early afternoon and you can return to a normal bedtime.
The other method is to give your baby one long nap in the late morning and then a shorter “rest period” in the afternoon. If you can, have a rest yourself and let baby play and talk in the cot or have quiet time reading books or doing relaxing activities.