How to Make the 2-to-1 Nap Transition as Easy as Possible
Like any transition, the 2 to 1 nap transition can be a little rocky! Your baby is going from a nap every few hours to 4-6 hours between wakeups and nap/bed time.
It’s likely to be a little rough at first!
However, I really enjoy this one nap schedule with my own son. Hopefully I can make the transition a little easier for you as you go through it too.
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BEFORE YOU DROP A NAP
Before you rush into dropping from two naps to one, make sure any issues that are arising with your baby’s sleep aren’t due to other issues.
Here are some things that could help if your toddler is waking up early or through the night.
- Try a sleep sack like the weighted Nested Bean sleep sack. This sleep sack has helped so many babies sleep better and deeper! The weight acts as if you have your hand on your little babe and comforts them through the night.
- Make sure your toddler is not just going through a regression. Regressions tend to happen around 12 and 18 months, with some developmental leaps in between there. These regressions can impact sleep but they shouldn’t last too long!
OTHER THINGS THAT COULD HELP YOUR TODDLER SLEEP
Babies aren’t used to the quiet. It was pretty loud in your tummy! Plus sound machines block out any other noises from around the house. This is my all time favorite sound machine! It’s small, portable, and when charged lasts all night.
Don’t underestimate the power of a dark room. Babies sleep so much better the darker it is. These adorable black out shades have suction cups that you can easily apply to any window, so they’re portable!
Once it’s safe for you to add a lovey to your baby’s crib, it can be really comforting to your child. The attachment they make with it can be beneficial in all sorts of situations outside of sleep too, such as difficult changes or transitions.
This one comes in all sorts of adorable animals and is sooo soft!
SIGNS YOUR BABY/TODDLER IS READY TO DROP TO ONE NAP
Ideally your toddler is doing any of these for a period of 2 weeks or so before you decide to fully drop the nap.
- Naps are shortening significantly
- Your baby/toddler is refusing one of those naps
- Wake windows (time between naps) are getting longer, pushing bedtime consistently later
- Frequent early morning wakeups
- Frequent night wakings
HOW TO KNOW WHEN TO TRANSITION
Most toddlers will drop to one nap between 14 and 18 months, but that doesn’t have to be your baby!
On occasion, babies will transition as early as 12 months or later than 18 months.
Keep two naps as long as you can! Babies and toddlers need to be well rested. Sometimes what seems like a nap transition is just a regression and will pass.
An overtired baby is no more fun than a nap transition.
HOW TO MAKE THE TRANSITION
- Start by capping off the morning nap by 15 minutes for as long as that will work. With my son I kept capping off that morning nap until it was about 20 minutes before dropping it. Keep your baby on 2 naps for as long as you can!
- Alternate between two nap days and one nap days to ensure your toddler keeps up on rest.
- Once your toddler is on one nap, he/she may not fully make it to a reasonable nap time (my son naps from 12-2:30/3:00 now, but once we dropped the morning nap he barely made it to 11). That’s okay. Push your toddler as long as you can, but it will take time!
- Don’t be afraid of an early bedtime! It’s not true that a baby who goes to bed early will wake up early. A baby that catches up on missed sleep by going to bed early keeps from getting overtired and actually sleeps better! Eventually your toddler won’t need an early bedtime anymore.
The Nested Bean Sleep Sack can also help make this transition a little easier for you by helping your toddler get to sleep easier and stay asleep!
Just remember, it’s a phase that will eventually pass and get easier, like everything else.