WHAT DO YOU DO if your baby is around 10 months old or so and you start to see that the afternoon nap is getting SHORTER, or they are taking a lot longer to settle in the afternoon?
Once you start to see the afternoon nap suffer, this is when you will want to start to cut back the morning nap to ensure that your little one is still sleeping in the afternoon. We know it is no fun waking your baby from the morning nap but you will want do so to protect the afternoon nap since this is the most important nap of the day.
We usually start to see that around 10-11 months of age, babies who are napping longer than 1 hour-1 hour 15 minutes in the morning will then not sleep well in the afternoon, or will take forever to fall asleep for their afternoon nap. They are starting to prepare for the transition to 1 nap but are NOT ready yet. Transitioning to one nap usually happens between 14-18 months of age. So when you cut back the morning nap, it makes more room for the afternoon nap and they do not fight it as much.
Where to start:
-If your baby sleeps 2 hours in the morning, start to cap their morning nap at 1.5 hours. Do this until you start to see the afternoon nap suffer again.
-Then cut it down to 1 hour and 15 minutes and see what happens with afternoon nap.
-If afternoon nap starts to suffer again, cut that morning nap to 1 hour, then 45 minutes
By this time, your baby might be old enough for the transition to 1 nap. If not, you can cut the morning nap down to 30 minutes and then a short little 20 minute cat nap to buy you some more time until baby is a little more ready! I have gone down to 20 minutes with my children but some children do not do well with that. It is important to keep note of what works for your little one!
*Please note: This advice is for babies who are 10-12 months. If your younger baby is having some nap challenges, we might not advise the same cutting back of naps and we would want to look into everything to see what might be contributing.
Of course, if your baby is between this age and is napping well for both naps, there is no need to make the changes yet! This is more for babies who are napping long in the morning and not well in the afternoon.
If you find yourself struggling with sleep challenges and need help digging into the problem and coming up with solutions- we are here to help! We have helped many families (read what they have to say here) get the sleep they need! Check out our services page and contact us for a free consultation to find out how we can help!
I just finished sleep training my baby few weeks ago. But the side-effect I realize is that the naps are getting… LONGER. Not shorter. It’s like he’s able to sleep more. It’s just 15-20 minutes but per nap gives you an hour more a day. So I’m wondering – should I do something about it or just enjoy my time?
Restful Parenting | Holistic Sleep Consultants says
Definitely enjoy the extra time! 😉
My baby does 20 mins in morning 9:30-9:50am then I put her down again at 12:30 but only sleeps 1 hour and 18 mins super upset. Any ideas on what I should do?
She is 10 months old and very fussy at eating at the moment so I give her a bottle after solids to fill her up. Cheers
This was excellent advice thanks so much. Will try! My baby girl 10 months sleeps well in the morning (almost 2 hours ) but completely refused her afternoon nap until she was completely exhausted. She took the last nap around the time she usually WAKES from that nap. Will try capping tomorrow and see what happens…..