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Dropping naps – transitioning from two to one to no naps

When do babies drop naps?Although an infant’s naps will eventually come to an end sometimes the end can’t come soon enough for exhausted parents.

Thankfully, we are going to cover some of the ins and outs when it comes to your infant’s nap schedule and dropping naps plus some helpful hints to will help make the transition process operate like a well-oiled machine.

The nap transition process

Within the first 12 months after birth, it is likely that your infant will cut their naps from five or six naps a day, to about two.

In the next year sometime, those two naps should become one. This is usually when your toddler is about 15 to 18 months old. If your child drops their one nap too soon, this may in turn affect their night sleep, where your child may start waking too early in the morning.

Some toddlers may drop their day nap all together but this is the exception to the rule. Regardless, at this age, all kindergartens and daycare centres insist that children nap (or at least rest) as part of the daily schedule.

Transitioning from two naps to one nap a day

Signs your child still needs two naps a day

  • Your child copes well with their day when they only have two napes and is ready for bed in the early evening.
  • When you put your child down for a nap, they play, resist, or fuss for a while, but always ends up sleeping for an hour or more.
  • When you take your child for car rides during the day, they usually fall asleep.
  • If your child misses a nap they’re fussy or act tired until the next nap or bedtime.
  • Your child misses naps when you’re on the go, but at home takes two good naps.

Signs your child is ready to cut back to one nap

  • When you put your child down for a nap they play or fuss before falling asleep, and then takes only a short nap, or doesn’t fall asleep at all.
  • Your child can go for car rides early in the day and not fall asleep in the car.
  • When your child misses a nap they’re happy and energetic until the next nap or bedtime.
  • Your child sleeps well for one of their naps, but totally resists the other nap and is not too grumpy when it’s time for bed in the early evening.

Transitioning from one nap to no naps

Signs your child is done with their daytime nap

  • If your child doesn’t seem tired and has trouble falling asleep at naptime.
  • If your child is taking naps and staying up later in the evening or has a hard time falling asleep at night after taking an afternoon nap
  • If your child is skipping naps with no negative side effects, it is likely that your child has already made the transition on their own
  • The older your child gets, the more they can tolerate being awake all day.

The no-nap transition process won’t happen overnight. It is something that will occur, as the child gets older. A good way to look at it is a change in schedule. Some parents choose to give their child an hour of quiet time, whether it be watching a movie or reading, but it is mostly up to your child’s biological clock and your patience in getting them through the no-nap transition process.



About Cheryl Fingleson

Cheryl has completed The Gentle Sleep Coach Program, the first and most extensive professional sleep coaching certification program available. Cheryl works with families across a range of areas, including settling ...

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