Many babies switch from two naps per day to one when they are between one and two years old. Keep in mind that this transition looks different for each baby, and it can be a complicated process for both parents and their babies. All babies are unique and will make the switch when they’re ready.
When Do Babies Switch from Two Naps to One?
Babies are usually ready to move from two naps to one between 12 months and 24 months. All babies are different, though, so your baby might drop their second nap earlier or later than that age range. Some babies drop their second nap as early as nine months old.
Common Ages for Nap-time Transitions
At different phases in your baby’s life, they will begin taking fewer naps per day. Sleep plays a vital role in a baby’s overall health, which is why naps are so important. Many parents are aware that newborn babies need a lot more sleep than older babies.
Remember that the following age ranges are common, but your baby might follow a different pattern.
Your baby might go from four naps to three naps at age 4 to 5 months. Then, when your baby is 6 to 7 months old, they will drop from three down to two naps.
Finally, as mentioned, your baby might drop their second nap and take just one nap a day anywhere from 1 to 2 years of age.
Kids eventually stop napping when they are around preschool age. Due to childcare and preschool, kids may not have the opportunity to take naps during the week.
Some kids nap throughout elementary school when they get home from school each day. It depends on the child and what their bodies need to function. It’s okay to let your child sleep after school.
Signs Your Baby is Ready for One Nap
Since your baby can’t tell you whether they’re ready to drop a nap, it’s a good idea to look out for these signs. It would help if you looked for multiple signs that occur more than once.
For example, if your baby skips their daily nap one day, this isn’t a sign that they’re ditching their whole nap schedule.
1. Your baby is having trouble falling asleep at nap time.
By letting your baby spend more time awake during the day, you are allowing them to be ready to sleep at their nap-time or bedtime.
They may not be able to fall asleep because they’re not tired.
2. Your baby is waking up earlier or having trouble falling asleep at night.
Your baby might start waking up early in the morning, ready to start their day. This is a sign that they haven’t had enough awake time in the day.
If your baby is having a hard time going to sleep at night at their usual bedtime, this could be because they are napping too close to bedtime.
They may not be getting enough awake time in between their afternoon nap and bedtime. Your baby might also have unexplained night wakings.
3. Your baby is starting to take a shorter nap.
If your baby used to take two 2-hour naps per day and is suddenly taking a 30-minute afternoon nap, they may not be tired enough for two long naps.
As babies grow, they need less sleep or sleep more throughout the night instead of during their naps.
Ways to Make the Nap-time Transition Easier
If your child is ready to make a nap-time switch, you can start to push the morning nap 15 minutes later each day. Over time, your child will begin to get tired right after lunchtime.
You can also start putting your child to bed earlier. This will help to make up for some of the lost daytime sleep.
Throughout this process, try to remain flexible. Some days your child may need two naps, even after transitioning to one. While having a routine is helpful, remember that your child may have different needs on certain days.
Consider talking to the daycare staff about nap-time. If your child is in daycare and has trouble napping at home on the weekends, try to figure out what time your child naps at daycare.
See if you can replicate this at home. If not, know that kids can typically adjust to sleeping at different times, as long as they get their daily naps.
How Much Sleep Do Babies and Toddlers Need?
At different stages in a baby’s life, they will need specific amounts of sleep. It’s also worth noting that babies are all different.
Your baby might sleep more during the day and less at night. Your toddler might require more sleep to function than most kids do.
When your child gets sleep doesn’t necessarily matter. It can be night sleep or daytime sleep, as long as they’re getting enough.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, babies 0 to 3 months sleep for 14 to 17 hours per day. There’s no specific recommended amount of sleep for babies under four months because babies’ sleep naturally fluctuates.
The American Association of Pediatrics recommends that babies 4 to 11 months old sleep 12 to 16 hours per day.
Babies need to get plenty of sleep because sleep plays a crucial role in brain and physical development.
When Are Babies Sleeping Through the Night?
If you’re the parent of a newborn, you might be wondering when you can expect your baby to sleep through the night. It’s vital to remember that all babies are on different schedules.
Some babies sleep through the night at six months, while others don’t sleep through the night until they are a year old. It depends on the baby.
What’s most important is that your baby is getting the recommended amount of sleep overall, regardless of sleeping.
Unfortunately for parents, that may mean that their baby does most of their sleeping during the day and wakes up often throughout the night.
Toddlers between the ages of 1 and 2 need 11 to 14 hours of sleep per day.
Alternatives to Nap-time for Toddlers
If your toddler doesn’t nap every day or is taking fewer naps per day but still needs a rest, you might consider a designated quiet time each day. This can make the transition from two naps to one nap easier on parents as well.
During a quiet time, your child can spend time alone, either reading or playing. You might let your toddler independently play in their room.
They can also have the option to take a short nap if they choose to. This is one benefit of them having quiet time in their bedroom.
Relaxing Room Time
You can set a timer for them so they know how long they must stay in their room.
In the beginning, your child may not feel comfortable being alone for very long. You know your child best, though, and you can try to determine what they can handle.
Independent Play Time
You can customize your child’s quiet time to fit their specific needs. Some kids might do well playing independently for 30 minutes, while others might not want to be alone for that long.
It’s essential to adapt the quiet time routine to your child’s personality. Quiet time could also include a relaxing activity that you and your toddler do together while the baby naps.
Quiet time can replace the second nap or be used in place of all naps later on. It gives you time to do housework, work from home, or have your own quiet time, even once your child stops napping.
When to Talk to Your Child’s Pediatrician About Sleep
If you feel that your baby isn’t sleeping enough, you should talk to your baby’s pediatrician. It can be helpful to keep a sleep diary of when your baby is sleeping.
Be sure to take note of any feedings before your baby goes to sleep too. Your baby’s pediatrician might want to know about your baby’s sleeping environment, too, such as the temperature of the room, any noise (like white noise), and more.
To Answer Your Questions
If you have any questions or concerns about your baby’s naps or sleep schedule altogether, don’t hesitate to talk to their pediatrician.
Your baby’s pediatrician might have specific recommendations to help you figure out what’s going on with your baby’s nap transitions.
For a Referral
Your baby’s pediatrician can also refer you to a baby sleep consultant who can help you out if needed. It’s okay to ask for help and clarification from the professionals if you and your baby need it.
While most babies end up dropping their second nap when they are 12 to 24 months old, all babies are different.
It’s essential to pay attention to your baby’s specific needs and look for signs that they might be ready for the switch.
If you feel that your child can still benefit from some alone time throughout the day, consider a designated quiet time.