Many parents are nervous when it comes time to drop a nap. A schedule that has probably worked pretty well (for both parents and baby) is hard and it can be difficult to change a baby’s schedule. Bottom line, yes, changing a schedule may be kind of crazy for a bit, but in the end your baby will establish a new routine that works best for him. In all the parents I’ve talked to, it seems that when you drop from two naps to one – that single nap often becomes longer than either of the single naps. It can be deeper sleep and can make scheduling things around naps a lot easier.
For both my son and my twin girls, they slept for 1.5 hours 2x a day. When we dropped a nap, I gained a 2.5 hour nap in the middle of the day. Sometimes my girls will even sleep for 3 hours. So while not every baby will do this, there are some perks to dropping a nap.
So how can you tell if your baby should drop to one nap? Here are some of the things I looked for my second time around, with my twins:
- At nap time, he/she fusses or plays for a long while before falling asleep OR does not fall asleep at all.
- He/she stops falling asleep in the car. This was one of the ways I knew my twin girls were ready to drop the mid-morning nap. We’d go out and they’d stop falling asleep in the car at their morning nap time. Prior to that, they’d be out like a light if we were in the car at nap time.
- he/she does not get as fussy or cranky at one of the nap times; they keep their energy
- may nap really well during one nap but gives you trouble during the next
When I saw most of these signs, I took out the morning nap.
How to Make the Switch
The switch to one nap can be a transition period. I found that my twin girls went back and forth. Some days they did great with the one nap and then other days reverted back to needing two. This is still going on to some degree, after about a month of making the switch. When you choose a new naptime, pick a time that is later than that morning nap. For me, my girls used to nap at 10:30am and then again at 2:30.. When switching to the one nap, I picked 12:30 as the time. I make sure I keep them really busy, engaged and with lots of ‘baby exercise’ all morning. Then, after lunch, it’s time for a nap.
No matter what, remember that one size does NOT fit all with babies. Read your babies cues and do what works. There may be a time where you feel like naps are a mess, but eventually it will work out and your baby will have a new, successful routine! Goodluck!