Is there not enough time in the day to fit in 3 naps anymore?
Around the age of 7-8 months, your baby will drop their 3rd nap. This nap is most likely a catnap and more often than not, pushing bedtime pretty late (past 7:45/8PM).
As you near the 3-2 nap transition, there are warning signs:
Refusing the 3rd nap
Difficulty falling asleep for the 3rd nap.
Bedtime is getting too late (moving past a 10.5 hour night).
Taking a long time to fall asleep at bedtime.
Naps altogether have become very short.
2-nap schedules are GREAT, because sleep times become completely by the clock.
No more counting wake times!
Ideal 2 nap schedule
6:30/7 awake Nap 1- 9:30-11
Nap 2- 2-3:30
Bedtime will be brought earlier while 2 naps settle.
The most important thing to remember is 4 hours is too long to be awake in the beginning. If nap 2 is short, then bedtime is brought earlier to compensate. Bedtime will be predictable eventually. 6:45-7:15PM.
But, in the beginning, it can be as early as 6:15 PM.
Tips to ensure the 3-2 nap transition is successful!
Encourage a 90 minute crib time for each nap
An Eat/Wake/Sleep pattern can fit nicely within the day.
Starting solids and moving to 4 liquid feedings is common.
Give it a full two weeks to settle
Find activities to enjoy to pass the time and avoid car rides and stroller walks, momentarily.
This transition is by far the most stressful, in my own experience and with clients. Keeping this predictable and by the clock is the fastest way to longer, more restorative naps!
Lindsay Loring is Pediatric Sleep Consultant and mama to twin girls. To work one on one with Lindsay, visit her scheduling page!