Transitioning from 3 Naps to 2
The first year of life is an important one for all children. But just when you think you have things figured out, something is bound to change. While change can be difficult to navigate, it is a good sign that your child’s development is right on track.
Somewhere between 6 and 8 months your child will likely drop to just 2 naps. However, some babies will keep that 3rd nap as long as 9 or 10 months! It is rare, but does happen.
As a child ages, their sleep matures. They also have an increased tolerance for being awake! When baby can stay awake a naturally longer interval without being overtired, this leads to 2 naps rather than 3. Your child may transition themselves naturally, or they may exhibit some key signs which indicate it may be time to lose the extra nap and start to make a plan around transition.
- Are they resisting nap time?
- Are they sleeping? Or, are they crying or playing through nap time?
If the answer to these questions is “yes” majority of the time, it’s likely time to transition to 2 naps.
Work to increase their time awake between naps: Find the balance between them being awake longer but not getting over tired. The average awake window for a child who is newly on 2 naps is between 2.5 - 3.5 hours. With the shortest awake window happening in the morning before nap #1, and the longest awake window between nap #2 and bedtime.
Consider an earlier bedtime throughout the transition. An early bedtime does not mean they will wake earlier, it simply provides an opportunity for your child to catch up on any lost sleep.
And if your child is still taking naps in the 30 - 45 minute range like many 3 - 5 month olds do, you might need to hold onto that 3rd nap a little longer than your baby's peers. They just might need a little bit more time for their sleep needs to mature. And really, that is okay too!
Still confused? This might be a good point of a discussion for a mini-consult. I would be happy to help you navigate this one.
PS - beautiful family photos courtesy of Stacie Lynn Photography.