If you have been gifted with a baby who is a great sleeper or have struggled with sleep from day one, you may be getting to the stage when you are wondering when it may be time to drop a nap in your little one’s day. When is the right time to drop from two daytime naps to one, and what cues indicate that your baby is ready for this change?
Most babies transition from two to one daytime nap between 14-18 months. However, the average age an infant will drop to just one rest daily is unique to each child and has a significant variance of 12 to 24 months. Some infants may even be ready from 10 months, but this is rare.
Suppose you wonder whether it is the right time and circumstance for your child to drop from their usual two naps per day to just one daytime nap.
You may be unsure whether they are of the correct age and whether they are ready for the life- change.
There are some ways to gauge whether the time is right and some tips to make the process smoother.
When Is My Baby The Right Age To Drop To Just One Nap A Day?
Depending on your situation, the routines of your families’ daily activities and structure, and the age and temperament of your unique child, these factors can all determine whether your baby is ready to adjust to just having one nap during the day.
Sleep is essential for babies; they need to be getting close to the prescribed number of hours per day of rest, which assists with their brain development.
Most professionals and infant health care workers agree that a baby can drop to just one nap each day, most typically from the age of 12 months and between the ages of 12- 24 months.
The most common age for babies to drop to just one sleep each day is between 12- 18 months of age.
So, if your child is of this age, they may be getting ready to switch from two daytime rests to just one per day.
Indications That Your Baby Is Ready To Drop To One Nap
As each child and each family situation is unique and individual, the time frame for dropping a daytime nap for children is quite broad.
Take into account your schedule, the schedule of your child, and whether they are showing signs that can help indicate that they are no longer in need of the second rest during the day.
It is not to say that your baby would need to have all of the signs that they may be ready for this change; however, if a couple of the signals are there, you could consider helping with the process of swapping over to just the one sleep each day.
Here are some clues your infant may be showing signs that they may be ready to drop a nap during the day:
- Your baby is happy to rest quietly, playing without making a fuss.
- It takes your baby much longer to fall asleep for the second nap of the day than it would usually.
- It takes your baby much longer to settle down for their second nap of the day than usual.
- If the second nap is missed on a day, your baby is not significantly impacted and is still happy and content by the end of the day.
- Your baby can stay awake and be happy in their awake time 4-5 hours before and 4-5 hours after sleep. When driving with your child, they do not fall asleep but stay awake for the car ride.
- At bedtime, your baby takes longer to fall asleep after having the second daytime nap.
Tips For Helping Your Baby Adjust To Dropping To One Nap
There are ways in which you will be able to make the adjustment process smoother for both you and your child by dropping one of their daytime naps.
Here are some things to consider and tips for assisting in adjusting to this new change in sleep schedule:
- Take your time; the process may take between 2-3 weeks.
- Allow your baby to nap once during the day for 2-3 hours; this will make up the sleep time needed for their age.
- Once or twice a week, especially initially, allow your baby to have the old two naps a day, as they will become tired after the build-up of several days of just one sleep while they transition.
- Start with dropping the last afternoon nap, not the morning nap.
- Try to keep your baby awake for 4-5 hours before and after one sleep each day.
- Make the new nap time closer to mid-day, as you want the one nap they take to be in the middle of the day so that they will manage both the morning and the afternoon with the sleep in between.
When Do Babies Transition To Two Naps?
You may find yourself in a season with your baby where you are concerned about sleep routines and your child’s amount of sleep time.
You may have a younger baby and wonder when they would drop from frequent naps each day to just two daytime naps, one in the morning and one in the afternoon.
Just two naps each day may be a delightful and welcome thought, as this will enable you to plan your day and your time better and more efficiently.
The good news is that your baby would, in most cases, drop to just two naps each day at the age of between 9-12 months.
Of course, we all know our children are all unique in their needs, and this is no different when it comes to sleep.
Each child will have different sleep needs. Remember that daytime sleep and the quality will impact nighttime sleep, so you do not want to rush to drop a daytime nap, only for your baby to sleep worse at night.
Should I Swaddle My Baby For Their Naps?
As with most baby-related things, the swaddling debate is personal to each child.
You may have a baby who loves the comfort of being swaddled or have a baby who hates to have any covering and legs sprawled out for their sleep time.
Swaddling can be a great tool in your bedtime and nap routine.
You can feed, change and then swaddle your baby before sleep times and, in this way, create a pattern whereby your child will associate being wrapped with their sleep time and alert them to what is coming next.
As great as swaddling can be, it does not work for every child, so if it works for you and your child- that’s great!
If your baby fights to be wrapped tightly, there is no need to stress, do what they like and what makes them most comfortable.
If your child is between the ages of 12 and 24 months of age, you may be in a season of contemplating dropping from two to one daytime nap.
This can be a bit scary, but by staying alert to your child’s sleep needs and applying some practical help tips, the process doesn’t have to be too daunting.
Some children adapt to one less nap easily and quickly, and some may take longer.
That is ok because there is no script or precise time, only the right time for your kid.
Your baby will still need to be getting their full quota of overall sleep, whether you are dropping to one sleep or continuing with two, and excellent daytime sleep will usually mean good nighttime sleep.