The purpose of nap 3 is to simply bridge the gap between daytime and bedtime. Nap 1 supports cognitive development and nap 2 supports motor skill development. It is important that nap 1 and 2 are a minimum of 1 hour in length in order for them to be considered restorative. This is the key to set your little one up for success to transition from 3 to 2 naps without becoming overtired.
If you’re struggling with short naps be sure to apply the 1-hour rule to nap 1 and nap 2 using your preferred sleep training method. This will teach the baby how to connect sleep cycles and achieve the goal of 60 minutes of asleep time or longer.
5 Signs baby is ready to transition from 3 to 2 naps:
- Nap 1 and nap 2 are regularly exceeding 60 minutes of asleep time or longer
- Nap 2 is regularly long enough where you cannot squeeze in nap 3 prior to 4:30 pm
- All day sleep needs to be capped by 4:30 pm in order to protect the sleep pressure we want heading into bedtime
- Your baby is starting to skip or fight nap 3 more often
- Your baby is between 7 and 9 months old
- Nap 3 can always be on the go and a key indicator baby is ready to drop nap 3 is when the classic late afternoon stroller nap is refused by your baby
3 Ways to Navigate the Transition:
- The timing of nap 1 and nap 2 will remain the same at roughly 9 am and 1 pm
- Your baby will likely be able to tolerate a longer awake period between nap 2 and bedtime, however, you will temporarily adjust with an earlier bedtime for 2 to 3 weeks
- Slowly bump bedtime later in 10-minute increments every 3-5 nights until you reach the bedtime that your baby had when he was taking 3 naps prior to the transition
- So, if your baby had a 6:30 pm bedtime prior to the transition when he was on 3 naps, you will need to adjust with an earlier bedtime closer to 5:45 – 6:00 pm and slowly stretch bedtime toward 6:30 pm
If you’re struggling with naps schedule a free 15-minute sleep consultation today by visiting www.dreambabysleep.com/scheduler.