It’s always difficult for moms when it’s time to let go of a nap. I love having a baby who sleeps a lot, so it’s hard for me when the time comes for baby to transition to just one nap a day.
Once we make the transition, though, I’m always pleasantly surprised at how much freedom it gives us! It’s hard to run errands or do any fun activities away from home and also accommodate two naps a day.
When baby drops the morning nap, we can be on the go without worrying missing a nap or about how exhausted she’ll be!
How do you know when baby is ready to transition to one nap?
It can be hard to know when baby is ready to transition to just one nap. There will often be a period when it seems like they don’t quite need a full two naps a day, but they aren’t quite ready to drop that second nap altogether.
But if you find that she’s often fighting that second nap of the day, that’s a pretty good sign that it’s time to start the transition. It might take a few weeks of being cranky in the morning, but with some adjustments, she should be able to make it through the day with only one nap!
Which nap do babies drop first?
When babies transition to just one nap, they usually drop the morning nap and take their only nap of the day in the afternoon. However, you’ll need to make some adjustments to the afternoon nap once that morning naps goes away. If she used to nap from 8-10 and 2-4, you may want to make the afternoon nap start closer to 12 or 1 so that the morning wake window for your baby is not as long.
How do you transition to one nap?
There are a few different strategies you can try when transitioning to one nap.
- Keep your baby awake – if you want to go cold turkey on the morning nap, you can try keeping your baby awake all day until it’s time for a nap in the afternoon. I don’t necessarily recommend this strategy because it can be miserable for everyone involved. If you do try it, you’ll probably want to make some plans to stay busy and on the go to keep your baby awake and happy. Just be careful not to let her fall asleep in the car on the way home! If your baby is anything like mine were, even a couple minutes of shut eye in the car will totally ruin that afternoon nap.
- Cut the morning nap short – If you’d like to ease into the transition of going from two naps to one, wake your baby up from her morning nap a few minute earlier each day. For example, if she typically sleeps from 8-10, wake her at 9:45 to start the adjustment. The next day, wake her at 9:30, and so on, until the nap is gone! You can adjust the afternoon nap accordingly like I mentioned above.
- Push the morning nap back – Another strategy to use is to push the morning back a little each day until it merges with the afternoon nap. Example: If she usually sleeps at 8, keep her awake until 8:30. The next day, stay awake until 9. As the morning nap gets later during the transition, you may want to make the afternoon nap shorter so that it doesn’t interfere with bed time.
- Every other day morning nap – On some days, it might seem like your baby is totally good to go without a morning nap, and on other days is totally wiped by 9 AM. If that’s the case, an every other day morning nap schedule might be helpful for awhile. Keep baby awake in the morning one day, and then the next day she’ll probably be pretty tired from the previous busy day and be willing to settle down for a morning nap. This is a great way to gradually transition from two naps two one. Eventually she’ll grow out of needing the morning nap completely.
Is 11 months too early for one nap?
Every baby is different! Some might give up the second nap before they turn 1, and others will take two naps until they’re 18 months or later. I would be hesitant to transition to one nap unless I was really sure that my baby was ready. Those nap times are too precious to let go of easily!
Why is my 11 month old fighting naps?
If your baby is fighting her morning or afternoon nap every day, it’s possible that she’s ready to transition to one nap. But it’s important to do a little trouble shooting first to make sure that that’s true, because most 11 month olds do still need two naps. You don’t want to give up a nap before the time is right!
At this stage, the problem could also be that your baby is overly tired. It sounds counter intuitive, but the more exhausted babies are, the less likely they are to sleep well. Try putting her down for her nap half an hour earlier than usual and see if that helps. That way, you’ll hopefully be able to catch the window where she’s sleepy before she’s totally exhausted.
Is there a sleep regression at 12 months?
While babies do start sleeping less around the time they turn one, it’s generally not referred to as a regression. Calling it a regression implies that it’s something that needs to be fixed, but it’s perfectly natural for baby to drop the morning nap at this age.
If you start dealing with multiple night wakings after months of having a great sleeper, then you might want to troubleshoot that problem as that is more regression-like. But losing the morning nap isn’t really a developmental issue and doesn’t need to be remedied.
Should babies nap close to bedtime when transitioning from two to one naps?
It’s common for very young babies to take two long naps and one short catnap in the evening. The last nap of the day just gives them a little extra boost to make it through to bed time.
But as babies get older, they need to be awake longer in between nap time and bed time. If your baby is older than 6 months, you should aim to keep them awake for 3.5 to 4 hours before bedtime.
That might mean you need to wake them up in the afternoon before they wake up on their own! Otherwise they may have trouble settling down in the evening.
How long should baby nap?
When babies are ready for just one nap a day, it’s because they don’t need as much sleep as they once did. Babies under 1 year need 14-15 hours of sleep per day, but one they’re 12 months, they only need 12-14 hours.
Most of that “lost” sleep is from dropping the morning nap. You might notice that the afternoon nap gets a bit longer or baby is ready for bed a little earlier once she transitions to just one nap.
But depending on how much night time sleep your baby is getting, naps can last anywhere from 1-3 hours. Since a 1 year old needs up to 14 hours of sleep in a 24 hour day, take that into consideration when deciding how long their daily naps should be. If your baby sleeps from 7 PM to 7 AM, then a two hour nap should be sufficient. A baby who doesn’t sleep as long at night might need a longer nap!
How long do you let baby cry it out for naps?
If crying it out is something you’re comfortable with, you can definitely try it for naps. But if baby isn’t sleeping after 15-20 minutes of being in the crib at nap time, I would probably give up and try again later. If they don’t fall asleep in that amount of time for a nap, they likely aren’t tired enough. This is especially true for that transition period from one to two naps!
Is it OK to leave baby in crib awake?
If you’re in that transition phase of being in between one and two naps a day, you might find that your baby benefits from having a little down time in the crib, even if she doesn’t actually sleep. If that day’s naps aren’t going well, there’s nothing wrong with letting her play in her crib for awhile so that you get a break. It’s beneficial for her to learn to play independently and have a little downtime even if she doesn’t sleep!As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Melinda worked with children for years in a professional setting before becoming a full-time stay at home mom. She currently has three young children, and enjoys sharing tips and ideas about parenting and how to manage a home with excellence. She’s been featured on Heathline and Her View From Home.