In my recent post on Instagram I provided information on WHEN to drop a nap (be sure to check this out if you haven’t already), and I have also provided a downloadable version of this guide in the link in my instagram bio. Once you have come to the conclusion that it is time your baby drops a nap and checks off one, or all boxes that indicate they are ready, you can follow this guide to achieve your future nap goals!
TIP: If your little one has been fighting an illness, or is showing signs of teething - I would suggest holding off on the transition until they are feeling more like themselves
1. First you are going to set a goal, and figure out where you want naps to be once the last nap of the day has been dropped and the transition is complete. You will base this on the number of naps recommended for their age, and how long your baby should be able to stay up between naps. If you know your baby should be transitioning to less naps, but short naps are preventing this from happening - you may need to implement nap training, and we can help with this!
2. Once you have a schedule goal in mind, you are going to lengthen those wake windows ( time your baby is normally awake between naps)! It is important to go slow with this to prevent your baby from becoming overtired. To start off, I recommend pushing the wake windows anywhere from 10-15 minutes each day until you reach your naptime goal. Visit the blog https://www.theslumbernest.com/post/wake-windows-explained for more information on wake windows. This will give you a better idea of the maximum time your little one can stay awake between naps based on their age. Once you start pushing wake windows - be consistent! Don’t go back to the old times the next day if you find they are acting more tired(this is normal during a transition), make the commitment and keep going! If you keep going back and forth between wake windows, this can cause confusion, and prolong the process - causing nap and nighttime disruptions.
3. Now that you have started lengthening wake windows you are going to find that in order to reach your nap goals, you are going to have to provide lots of extra healthy stimulation in order to keep your little one awake past their old nap times. It is normal for them to start acting tired and showing sleepy cues for the first few days to a week, before they get used to the new schedule. This doesn’t mean they are not ready to make the transition, it just means their brains are adjusting to the change. Keep pushing forward by implementing new sensory toys, or changing their scenery by going outdoors or into a different room to prevent them from becoming cranky.
4. During this transition period it is very normal for bedtime to vary each night until you reach your goal schedule. During the first week you may find that bedtime is very early - sometimes as early as 6:15pm, or as late as 8:00pm and this is normal during a transition period! If bedtime is going to fall any earlier than 6:00pm, continue offering that last nap, but wake them earlier and earlier each day, until you are able to get them to 6:00pm or later for a bedtime. When a transition is complete, you want your child to have a bedtime between 6:30pm - 7:30pm. Try to keep bedtime the same every night once the transition is complete and your child is able to maintain their new wake windows. If your baby is going from 4 naps to 3, it can still be normal to see some inconsistency in naps resulting in different bedtimes each night, but if your baby is going from 3-2, or 2-1 naps you should be seeing predictability in nap times and lengths, making bedtime the same each night! If you are unable to maintain consistency and you feel like your childs days are unpredictable, please consider booking a free phone consultation to see how we can help! https://www.theslumbernest.com/booking-calendar
- Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant