Are the days of a seamless, 2-nap schedule a thing of the past?
The average age for a child to drop their second nap of the day is around 15 months old.
Some keep it as long as 18 months and some drop it as early as 12 or 13 months. Keep in mind, that a child who holds onto 2 naps longer, may experience disrupted sleep at night and overall shortened night sleep.
As you near the 2-1 nap transition, there are warning signs:
Short naps. (45 minutes to 1 hour)
Baby is having difficulty falling asleep for one or both naps.
Early morning waking's consistently for 5 days or longer. 45+ minutes earlier than your desired wake time.
Taking a long time to fall asleep at bedtime.
Not sleeping through the night anymore.
Just like the other nap transitions, the 2-1 nap transition will also take some time. Generally, it takes 4-6 weeks to truly settle into the new schedule. Especially if you are doing it at the younger age of the average.
Tips for 2-1 nap transition
Here's how to start the 2-1 nap transition!
Delay morning nap by 30-60 minutes and settle there for 5-7 days before adjusting again. That could look like 11am-1pm nap with an early bedtime. Eventually settling at 12PM.
Wake windows on a 1-nap schedule are 5/5. Keeping in mind they broaden as your child gets older. Going to 5.5/5 then 6/5.5 wake windows.
Example of a 1-nap clocked schedule
By keeping the nap at a set time, the morning wakes and bedtime will become settled without much variation.
Catnaps will happen in the afternoon by the way of a car ride, and sometimes that can't be avoided.... This is okay.
The main thing to remember is that when you get to 11AM (or a 4 hour first wake window) You won't offer a second nap on those days, instead you will offer an early, early bedtime. Sometimes, as early as 6PM.
Bedtime will need to be moved earlier during the transition as your little one adjusts to these longer awake periods during the day. Total wake time may drop from 10 to 9 hours temporarily.
Before moving to a one nap a day, check that your baby's day can't be stretched out even further. Something like 3/3/4, for example. Or even 3/3.5/4. Once your baby's total wake time for the day is close to 11 hours, it is TIME to drop the 2nd nap.
A common two-nap schedule your baby may be on before dropping their second nap of the day could look like:
*Check that your 2-nap schedule doesn't have some room for manipulation first i.e. capping nap lengths and lengthening wake times.
Many times I feel parents are anxious to lose the 2 nap schedule, but what lays ahead is a dedicated LONG afternoon nap. It really was one of my favorite nap transitions for my twins'. I got my nap time hustle done and even took many naps myself on the weekends.
Looking for an experienced sleep consultant? Lindsay has helped over 100+ sets of twins to date and countless singleton babies and children.
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Lindsay Loring is a certified pediatric sleep consultant and Owner of Tweet Dreamzz Sleep Consulting. She lives in the St. Louis, MO metro area with her husband and twin girls.
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