6 Signs It’s Time to Drop a Nap
Babies can be so confusing, can’t they? As soon as you’ve settled into a comfortable, predictable routine, everything changes.
It’s not your imagination…
They continually move the goal posts, keeping us on our toes. And this is especially true with naps.
Nap transitions can be a confusing time. Firstly, you tend to notice that something strange is going on with your baby’s daytime sleep. They may be fighting naps when they wouldn’t usually and can appear very tired at other parts of the day.
What’s going on?
Often this is a sign that your baby is in a nap transition. So how do you know that your baby is ready to change routines and drop a nap?
Here Are 6 Signs It’s Time to Drop a Nap:
1. Your baby is at or near the appropriate age range
While all children are different developmentally, there are general recommendations you can follow for daytime sleep based on your child’s age. This handy guide will give you an idea of whether your child needs to continue with his current nap schedule or start to transition soon.
4 naps → 3 naps: 4 months
3 naps → 2 naps: 6 to 7 months
2 naps → 1 nap: 13 to 17 months
2. The last nap of the day is interfering with bedtime
Is your little one suddenly fighting bedtime? Where once your baby used to fall asleep within minutes, now protests like crazy or just lies in his/her cot awake.
Moving bedtime a bit later can help, initially. But eventually, you will need to drop that last nap to keep his/her bedtime about 7:00pm, while also getting sufficient wake time to fall asleep easily.
3. Early morning waking is becoming your norm
Is your little one wide awake and ready to party at 5:00am when this previously wasn’t an issue? Unless you fancy the idea of joining the party this early in the day, it may mean it’s time to drop a nap.
Most families want their baby to sleep until the much more respectable time of 6.30- 7.00am, am I right?
There are many causes of early morning waking, so before you decide to drop a nap, check out this blog post about the 4 reasons why babies wake up early.
4. Suddenly your baby doesn’t seem tired at naptime and starts to have trouble falling asleep
If your baby was able to fall asleep at naptime a week ago but now just won’t seem to drift off, this can be a clear sign that your little one needs more awake time prior to each nap. Dropping a nap helps create an age-appropriate daytime schedule and prevents a battle at naptime.
If your little one is currently having three day naps, and you think they might be ready to drop to two naps, read this post.
5. Your baby begins to consistently have short naps
Is your little one suddenly deciding naptime is over after a 30–45-minute snooze? If your baby suddenly starts taking shorter naps, when longer naps were normal before, his/her nap schedule may be the culprit.
It’s possible they may need more awake time before being ready for a solid nap. Or it may be that dropping a nap during the day will helping your baby be tired enough to take long, restful naps.
6. Your child’s general sleep cycle seems “off”
If suddenly, your champion night-time sleeper is waking up throughout the night, or is crashing at different points in the day, it might be due to their nap schedule. They also may show no visible sleepy cues when the scheduled nap times comes, and this can be a sign that it’s time to drop that nap.
This isn’t always the case, but it is worth considering and looking at the other signs to assess whether this may be the reason for the shift.
Dropping the nap is a gradual process and you need to remain in tune with what your toddler needs from day-to-day. Keep in mind that it can be a tiring time, so on those non nap days get your toddler into bed super early so that they can get the deep, restorative sleep that they need to grow and thrive.
If your baby is ready to give up on naps altogether (the day will come, hopefully later rather than earlier) then read this post on how to drop from one nap to none.
Need some further guidance on how to drop a nap? Let me know in the comments below, or send me a message, and I will walk you through the steps to make it a smooth transition.
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