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When To Drop A Nap

How do you know when your baby is ready to drop a nap?

Is it based on a chart? What your girlfriend said? or what some stranger on the internet commented on your post?

As you know, your baby is human and has their own individual timeline for things like nap transitions, crawling, walking, etc.

So to help you out today, I'll share some of the things I look for when considering dropping a nap!

1) Change in nap length

If your baby was regularly having naps that were over an hour, and now you're finding that over the last several days, maybe a week, that those naps are getting shorter, that may be a sign!

As babies get older, they need less daytime sleep and more awake time. You'll start to see the shift in them when they take shorter naps than before.

2) Resistance to naps

The other sign that you may notice is resistance to naps!

Maybe they go down easily for the first nap of the day (which is really common) and then for the afternoon nap, they are taking more than 20 minutes to fall asleep, maybe there's more crying, or you're finding that they just don't seem ready!

What to do?

Add 15-30 minutes of awake time and see if you notice:

  • a longer nap

  • less resistance aka crying

  • they fall asleep in under 20 minutes, ideally in under 15 minutes

If so, then you've hit their nap sweet spot!

3) Last nap is hit and miss

If you're finding that your baby's 3rd or 4th nap of the day is becoming more difficult to get out of your baby, and when they do eventually sleep, it's hard to figure out bedtime, then it's time to drop it!

The last nap of the day is commonly the most challenging nap and can be the toughest to get in a crib.

So if you've increased their awake time, and they are now taking, for example, two naps over an hour in length, then move towards an early bedtime vs. trying to fight them to take a third nap.

Pro-tip: an early bedtime can fix a lot of sleep issues! What's early? Anywhere from 6:00-6:30 pm. It's typically temporary but it helps them catch up on sleep, and then it's a win-win for everyone!

4) It takes time!

Expect that it may take a couple of weeks for your baby to get used to the new nap schedule! It's a transition after all, and it's normal for us humans to take time to adjust!

5) Going back!

What if you try a nap transition and after a week or so, it's clear to you that your baby can't handle it?

Go back!

It's okay! Some babies are not ready and by trying, you at least know that your baby isn't quite ready. Soon enough, they will be.

In the meantime, they may need a later bedtime as maybe they're taking a late afternoon nap and a 7 pm bedtime isn't going to do it for them!

Remember, it's temporary:)

Have questions about nap transitions? Maybe your baby isn't napping well no matter what? Let's talk! Click the button below to get in touch!

Here for you,

Melody Patton

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