A growing baby needs a lot of sleep to be able to develop, and any parent will agree when we say that a well-rested baby is a happy baby. However, it is also important to inculcate a sleeping and eating routine from a very early age so that the body can function normally. Most babies will nap twice a day and those naps will need to be transitioned as the baby grows. This might feel like a challenging time for parents and might also pop up a lot of questions with regards to the baby’s existing routine. However, this is a completely normal and healthy phenomenon for a baby, and it is possible to switch them over to a one nap schedule. Read on to find out more about moving from 2 naps to 1.
When Do Babies Drop to One Nap?
Usually, in the first year of their lives, many babies tend to take two naps during the course of the day; one nap in the morning and another one in the afternoon. Around the baby’s birthday, many parents wonder when they should change the sleep schedule to a one nap schedule. Between 12 and 24 months, it starts tending towards a one nap schedule and this can manifest itself in different ways. Many babies tend to skip their morning naps. Although they still need the naps, they decide to skip it anyway, and this imbalance causes them to get grumpy and might end with them crying for a while. If you’re lucky, your baby will transition into the new nap schedule happily, without any fuss, and these parents are truly blessed.
Signs to Look for When Transitioning From a Two-Nap to One-Nap
Luckily, over the course of humanity, through trial and error, humans have figured out some common signs that you can look for when the 2 to 1 nap transition is taking place, so that you are ready for it and can tackle it accordingly. Here are some of the signs that you may notice anytime after the first year upto 24 months.
1. Two-Week Timeline
The baby does not want to nap over a span of two weeks. Two weeks is a good timeline to be able to judge the sleeping pattern. Make sure you are aware of and looking around for active signs.
2. Staying Up
Your baby stays up for upto 4 hours with or without fussiness. Many babies need sleep after some time but in case your baby is ready for the transition, you will find that he stays awake for multiple hours at a time. This might be a sign that your baby is ready to make the big transition.
3. Refusal of One Nap
In case your baby is transitioning, you might find that he refuses one of the naps. This could be either the morning nap or the afternoon nap but your baby will remain awake. This is a good sign and you can play some light music for him/her and make it a time for rest.
4. One Nap Paradox
In this situation, you might find that your baby is not refusing any of the naps, even though you are trying to transition him into a one nap schedule. This is a paradox and might be a sign of regression.
5. Varied Lengths of Naps
The naps that your baby was taking for the past few months were all at equal intervals but now the lengths of the naps have changed. Sometimes, the ones in the morning are long and the ones in the afternoon are short or vice versa. This could be assigned that your baby needs to be shifted to a one nap schedule from a 2 nap schedule.
Make sure to keep a track of his progress over a couple of weeks. If these signs persist, it might be the answer to the question “when to drop to one nap?”.
How to Transition Your Child to a One-Nap Schedule
The transition stage can be a bit tricky and might require some hits and misses but if you manage to do it right, your baby will comfortably slip into his new routine. Your baby may spend time going back and forth between 1 and 2 naps per day. This can be confusing for your baby but you can try and replace the morning nap with rest time. During this time, you can read to him, play white noise or give a light massage etc. Make sure that this is different from a full-fledged nap so that he can recognise the difference between the two. When your baby finally shifts to a one nap schedule, you will notice that the afternoon nap will last a bit longer than usual and all three meals, will arrive a little earlier.
When Should You Avoid Switching Your Baby to a One-Nap Schedule?
Even though your baby and you are trying to make this transition as smooth as possible, there could be hiccups along the way and signs to look for in case your baby is not ready to switch over to a one nap schedule. Make sure to look for the signs and don’t try and force your baby into a schedule that he may not be comfortable with yet. These include signs such as:
- If your baby is around 11–13 months, it might be a bit early to try and switch him over to a one-nap schedule.
- In case your baby wakes up early in the morning or is awake frequently during the night after switching to one nap, it might not be time to switch over.
- In case your baby has just started walking or talking, it might be a good idea to switch back because developmental milestones usually disrupt sleeping pattern for a few days.
- If missing a nap leads to tantrums, crankiness and fatigue, then it may not be the time to switch over to a one-nap schedule yet.
All babies are unique with their own requirements. No two babies have the exact same requirements. This time of transition can be tricky and may involve a steep learning curve from the parents’ side but it is nothing to worry about. Most babies are very intuitive and will be able to adjust on their own with a little support from their loving parents. Look for the signs and try and understand what your baby is communicating with you and it will make it easier for both of you. Make sure to stay in touch with your doctor and get some advice when you feel like you might need it. Do not try any home remedies to fix it in case it makes it worse.