Baby Nap Transition: 10 Tips For Keeping Your Sanity
When you first brought your baby home from the hospital, it probably slept all the time. And then, you finally got them on a steady sleep routine—hooray!
Only now, to your dismay, it’s time to shake things (and wake things) up a bit.
Your little one isn’t so little anymore, and it’s time for them to only catch one nap a day.
Why in the world would you disrupt them from sleep?
Well, for a variety of reasons.
Older babies need less sleep than younger babies. They are also learning how to fully sleep through the night and an extra nap during the day may seriously disrupt this.
Eventually, your baby will become a toddler and then a pre-schooler, where one nap (or no nap at all) is all they need.
If you’re not sure where or when to start your two to one transition, read on to gain 10 helpful tips (from one mom to another).
Know the Signs
Some babies aren’t ready when you try to take a nap away. Others jump at the chance to stay away.
Be observant of the signs around you.
If your baby is between 14 and 18 months of age, and they are consistently refusing their nap (mainly the morning one), then it may be time to take it away.
Make decisions based on your baby’s cues. They’ll lead you in the right direction!
Wait 10 Days
If your child is constantly fighting one of their naps, it’s great to acknowledge their feelings and behavior.
But, before totally taking it away, give it at least 10 days.
Many doctors attribute the lack of tiredness due to a big developmental milestone, like a speech explosion or a physical feat.
If after 10 days they are still demonstrating the same fight, then act.
Work in Half Hour Increments
If you want to take away your child’s morning nap, it’s wise to begin pushing it back by a half hour increments.
Each time you push it back, wait several days before doing so again.
Eventually, you do this routine until you achieve the desired nap time. For most, it is after lunch, between 12 and 1 in the afternoon.
Don’t Quit the Morning Nap Until You Get to 11 a.m.
When working in half hour increments, keep your baby’s afternoon nap until you reach the magic hour of 11 am.
Once this time is achieved, simply drop the afternoon nap and just conduct an early bedtime while you’re continuing to work toward your desired afternoon nap time.
It can take about a month for the transition to occur.
Expect tantrums, mainly due to overtiredness, and frustration, due to the change in the routine they were so used to and loved.
Reward their efforts by offering stickers, special snacks, and special shows to watch during these trying times.
Do Something Special
In order to keep your child awake, and not necessarily mind the effects, take them somewhere special.
The zoo, the park, on a playdate—the sky’s the limit.
It may be tricky taking them in the car since the car tends to make kids tired.
So if travelling to a special location is a must, play a movie or give them your phone or a tablet to stay engaged (not asleep) during the ride.
Keep Up With Your Bedtime Routine
Since your baby’s sleep world is getting disrupted during the day, it’s important to keep things consistent at night.
Change not a thing!
Your baby will look forward to knowing what to expect before turning in for the evening and will feel comforted.
Get Them Good and Tired
A half hour before it’s time for your baby’s one nap of the day, get them good and tired.
Let them run around, dance, talk a walk in cool air, visit the park—the more active they get before nap time, the more tired they’ll be!
Use a Sticker Chart
Hang a sticker chart in a visible place. Explain to your baby that when they nap and nap successfully, they can earn a sticker.
When a row is filled in, your baby gets to pick a small gift.
Keep a bunch of wrapped trinkets in a box and cheer them on when they embrace their new routine.
Time Your Baby's Naps
You can determine if your baby is doing well with their nap transition based on the length of their nap.
If your baby is getting one nap, ideally, they’ll sleep for two hours.
But, anywhere between an hour and two hours is deemed successful.
If they are still waking up quickly, you may need to push their nap back, and push bedtime back as well.
Not needing two naps is a big deal for your baby.
It’s the first big step in becoming a bigger kid.
It can be an overwhelming time for both parent and baby. But, things can go much smoother by considering these 10 tips to help everyone through the process.