Babies change so much week to week sometimes even day to day! One day they love tummy time, the next day they hate it. One day they are happy when anyone holds them, the next day they only want mommy to hold them. Even their sleep habits change rather quickly as well! They will eventually shift from 3 naps to 2, from 2 to 1, and from 1 to none. But how do you know when your little one is ready to shift from 3 naps to just 2? Keep reading to find out!
WHEN WILL BABY MAKE THE TRANSITION?
Generally, babies are ready to shift from 3 naps to 2 at 6 months of age. But like with most things with babies, they may not be ready at exactly month 6, it might be more like month 7 or even month 8. This is all normal. So just what signs point to when your baby is ready to transition from 3 naps to 2 naps?
HOW WILL I KNOW WHEN BABY IS READY TO MAKE THE TRANSITION?
-Baby will demonstrate and increase in stamina (baby used to get sleepy after 2 hours of wake time, but now they seem they can stay awake for 2.5 or even 3 hours!)
-Nap 3 will become problematic. Baby will struggle to get to sleep for the third nap and at times will never get to sleep for the third nap! Once the third nap becomes problematic 2-5 times per week for 2 weeks, then it’s a good indication that baby is ready to transition from 3 naps to 2.
-Other naps lengthen not leaving enough time for nap 3. The first and second nap increase in length which leaves little time for the third nap. If baby wakes from the second nap at 3:30 and bedtime is at 7:00, there isn’t enough time left in the day for a nap, but baby doesn’t have enough stamina yet to stay awake for 3.5 hours! So what do you do?
HOW DO I ACTUALLY MAKE THE TRANSITION?
-Plan for Nap 3 in the car/stroller- This nap will usually last 1 sleep cycle (20-40 minutes). This nap is meant to help take the edge off and keep sleep affecting hormones in balance so that baby will fall asleep smoothly at bedtime
-Shift bedtime earlier. If baby wakes from nap 2 at 4pm, then staying awake until 7 might be much of a stretch for her. So you would simply shift bedtime from 7pm to 6:30pm for a few weeks.
-Shift nap start times-Start naps 15 minutes later for 3 consecutive days. You would shift them by 15 more minutes for the next consecutive 3 days. You would stop shifting her nap start times once the time she wakes from her second nap at 4:30/5:00. This means she has 2-2.5 hours until bedtime and now has the stamina to do so. She will then settle into bedtime smoothly.
*It’s important to remember that anytime you make changes to the body clock, it takes the body 4 weeks, even 5 or 6 weeks to fully adjust. Naturally, things might be a little wonky for some time. Just stay the course and soon you will see everything fall into place with your 2 naps a day baby. I hope this helped you! Sleep well.