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Nap transitions - when do you drop a nap?

Updated: Mar 26, 2021

You've nailed your baby's routine, everything is going well and then BAM! They start resisting their nap, taking forever to fall asleep or refusing it altogether. What's changed?


Welcome to the world of nap transitions! You were just starting to feel confident with their nap timings and finally feeling a bit more settled and in control of how your day might pan out. But then something changes; your baby is showing signs that they are ready to drop a nap.


What does this look like? Nap resistance and taking a long time to fall asleep are the two most obvious tell tale signs that your little one is trying to tell you something. They may also wake early for the day or have numerous wakings overnight, suggesting that they are getting too much daytime sleep and a nap has to go!

"Nap resistance and taking a long time to fall asleep are the two most obvious tell tale signs that your little one is trying to tell you something".

But how many naps should your child be having?


4 naps + (newborn) - during the first 12 weeks your new arrival will likely have very fragmented and disorganized sleep. You’ll find that they have 4 or more shorted naps during the day as their awake times are only 45-90 minutes between sleeps.


3 naps (3-6 months) – around 12-16weeks old your baby will start to consolidate their sleep into 3 more structured naps, ideally falling within their biological nap windows (the time when they are best set up to sleep) to encourage optimal snoozing.


2 naps (7-9 months) – between 7-9 months your baby will drop their third late afternoon nap and have a shorter one in the morning and a long lunch siesta.


1 nap (15-18 months) – around 1.5yrs of age your toddler will drop the morning nap and ideally have one, longer restorative sleep in the middle of the day


0 naps (2.5-3yrs) - between 2.5yrs and 3yrs old your mini me will likely start to drop their midday snooze and you’ll have the freedom of no naps! Although they might not need a nap anymore I do suggest you continue to offer them some quiet time so they can relax and unwind, as can you!


Now that we have established how many naps your little love should be having, how can you successfully drop a nap? Cut the nap right back, until it’s as short as 10-15min, before dropping it completely. You may need to bring their bedtime forward a tad to compensate for the loss of that small nap and ensure they aren’t overtired come bedtime. As always, keep an eye on their awake times rather than clock watching too much.


If you need any additional information or support please feel free to contact me at amy@littledreamers.co.nz to book in a FREE 15 minute phone consultation to talk about what is happening for your baby and how we help.

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