When and How to Drop a Nap
Once your baby starts to show some consistency around how many naps they take, it can feel nerve-wracking to change them but dropping to fewer naps can make getting out to classes or meeting up with friends much easier. It can also mean night time sleep improves!
How many Naps Should my Baby be Having ?
There is no ideal age at which a baby should drop a nap. The chart below is to give you a very rough idea of when your baby may transition between naps. However, there will always be little ones whose naps don’t ‘fit’ neatly into this table but that doesn’t mean either of you are doing anything wrong! If your baby or toddler is taking more or less naps than shown in the chart for their age but they are sleeping well and they are happy during the day then I wouldn’t advise making any changes to their daytime routine.
When it comes to transitioning (dropping) naps the most important thing is that you do it when your baby is ready.
3 Signs that Your Baby is ready to Drop a Nap
1.Bedtime or the last nap of the day gets later
If your baby is on two or more naps a day and you find that your baby starts to fight their last nap of the day which means that bedtime becomes later, then it could be time to try dropping a nap .
2. Night time sleep changes and becomes harder
If your baby starts to have false starts (they are waking up 30-50 minutes after they go to bed), they have split nights (they are wide awake for a long period during the night) or you are getting very early morning wake ups, it could be a sign that your baby is ready to drop a nap.
3.Your baby fights naps or has shorter naps than usual
If your baby starts to fight a nap which they usually go down easily for, or they wake from their nap earlier than usual (and they are happy with less sleep) this may mean that it is time to drop a nap.
4 Steps to Support Your Baby to Drop a Nap
1. Whichever nap you are trying to drop, start by reducing that nap before you drop it entirely. You can start doing this gradually until you get to about a 15/20 minute nap.
2. Once you are ready to try dropping the nap, the night before, try putting your baby to bed a little later in the hope that they sleep a little longer in the morning. This should help them to make it through the day with less naps.
3. At your baby’s usual nap time do something different like go outside or have water play in the bath. This will signal to the brain that sleep is not coming. You may find that they get a little burst of energy and that they find it easier staying awake than you thought they would.
4. Avoid any motion around the time of the nap you are trying to drop as well as the time close to bedtime otherwise you could be in for a danger nap!
My Baby is Struggling to Drop a Nap
Transitioning between naps can be a tricky phase. Some little ones find this phase easier than others and may only take a few days to drop a nap, whereas other little ones may find the process a little harder and take a few weeks or even months to drop a nap consistently. It is also common to drop a nap for a few days or even weeks and then bring it back.
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