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How and when to drop to 1 nap?

drop to 1 nap

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As a parent, watching your baby grow is a beautiful and exciting experience. One of the milestones that you will witness is the transition from two naps to one. Although this transition may seem daunting, it’s a natural part of your baby’s development. In this blog, we’ll discuss when and how to drop to 1 nap.

When are they ready?

The average age for babies to drop to 1 nap is between 12 to 14 months. However, every child is different, and some may transition earlier or later and it is important to wait until they are ready before you start.

The signs for dropping to one nap are similar to previous nap transitions:

  • Shorter naps: If your baby is starting to take shorter naps during the day, it could be a sign that they are ready to drop a nap.
  • Longer awake times: As babies grow, they need more awake time between naps. If your baby is easily able to stay awake for longer periods, they may no longer need that second nap or you may run out of daytime for them to have it.
  • Refusal to nap: If your baby is refusing to take their afternoon nap consistently, or it is becoming really tricky it may be time to drop that nap altogether.
  • Difficulty falling asleep at night.
  • Early wakings

If you are experiencing some of these for over a week, and they aren’t teething or poorly, you could consider transitioning their nap.

How do you move to 1 nap?

The key to a successful transition is to make it gradually. Even through their main nap will now be after lunch, it is actually their morning nap which stays, however it is moved back gradually until after their lunch.

If they normally go for a nap around 10, move it back by 15/30 minutes and leave it there for a few days before moving it back again until you reach 12/12.30. Going forwards, you no longer use awake windows, but use the same time daily for the nap and bedtime. They may be really tired, however if they are ready for the transition, they will be able to make the move. Let them sleep for up to two and a half hours (if they sleep that long!) They may need a short 20/30 minute nap in the afternoon to keep them going to bedtime.

If they are struggling to stay awake, use one of the following tips:

  • Get outside
  • Water play
  • A naturally sweet snack.

Once the nap is moved back to 11am, they will not need the afternoon nap, but you might need a 6pm bedtime until the nap is fully moved back!

It’s essential to remember that the transition to one nap can take up to two weeks, and your baby may be more tired and irritable during this time. Be patient and consistent and they will be sleeping soundly for their one nap within no time.

Dropping from two naps to one is a natural part of your baby’s development. Remember that every baby is different, and there is no exact age when babies should drop down to one nap. Pay attention to your baby’s sleep patterns and cues, and adjust their schedule accordingly.

Once they are settled on one nap, they will keep this until they are ready to last the day with no nap (around 2.5-3 years, however some may need a nap for longer – and that is ok, they are all different).

If you are struggling to make the transition or would like to know more about what sleep looks like after 12 months, either book a free 15 minute call to discuss how I can work through the transition with you, or check out my upcoming online seminar.

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