All Aboard the Snuggle Train
Nap time is one of the greatest times of the day when you have a little one. It is either a time for you to catch much needed sleep and to eat, finally, or a time for you to have a little alone time. If you have older children, it might be a time where you have one on one time with them.
Regardless of how you spend your time during baby’s nap time, there does come a day when the sleep train stops making two stops at your house, and naps only come once a day now. Then it’s time for nap transitions.
How Will I Know When it is Time?
There is no date on the calendar that is circled indicating the end of double nap time. It just starts to gradually happen. Your little one will fight going to sleep or may just stay up and sneak play time in, or babble to themselves. They may even fuss, or cry, because they are embarking on a developmental leap and that it is interrupting their sleep patterns, too. Remember these bullet points, they will help you know it is time:
- Age: when baby is 12 to 18 months (average is 13-14 months) they tend to need less sleep and no need for two naps.
- Baby is fussy, or crying, keeping them awake during the 2nd nap.
- Baby is babbling, or playing during 2nd nap time, showing no signs of being tired.
Keep in mind, some babies will still need two naps up to 18 months, and if that is the case, work with your sleep consultant or pediatrician to make sure there are no underlying reasons your baby needs the extra sleep.
Nap Transitions, Finding the Right Time
Now that you are down to one nap a day, it is imperative to find the right time during the day. Because naps do not come with manuals or directions, it is up to you and your partner to make the right transition for your baby’s needs. There will be trial and error, and that is to be expected. This will also take time. Be patient and hang in there. You are doing great!
The new nap schedule will eliminate the afternoon nap and moving the morning nap to start between what was the morning and afternoon nap time. If morning nap was 9:30 a.m. and afternoon nap was at 2:00 p.m., the new nap time will be 12:00 or 12:30. We will modify the time, little by little, until the new nap time is established. This can be a weird transition. Your baby is now asleep when they used to be awake. Usually right in line with signing them up for swimming lessons at Noon haha!
- Move the time by 15 to 30 minutes, every three to four days.
- If you start the new nap schedule on a Monday, and morning nap was 10:00 a.m., we will move it to 10:15 or 10:30 on Monday.
- On Thursday, we will move nap time to 10:30 if you are doing 15-minute changes, or 11:00 if you are doing 30-minute changes.
- This will continue every three to four days until you reach the new nap time of 12:00 or 12:30.
Keep in Mind
There will be challenges as you do nap transitions, and baby will adjust, it will just take time. Once the new nap time is established, give baby a couple weeks to adhere to the new schedule.
Remember, baby still may take a catnap in the afternoon. Let them, just ensure the cat nap is not longer than 30 minutes.
If you are working with a sleep consultant, they can help you with this transition and creating the right schedule for baby, too, and work through all the changes and challenges while you go through this transition.