You finally get into the groove of planning your day around your child’s two daily naps and suddenly, you find yourself with a child that no longer sleeps in the morning. Although this sounds ideal because you can finally spend your mornings getting out to have some fun with your child, you may find it’s not as simple as that— you are in the middle of the 2-1 nap transition! What can you expect from your child when dropping from 2 naps to 1? We covered the signs and the when and how of dropping from two naps to one in this blog post, but we wanted to talk a little more about this nap transition so that you can be prepared! Knowing what you can expect can help take the frustration and stress out of these transition periods.
This 2 nap to 1 nap is a big transition! We definitely find that the whole transition goes a little smoother if your child is very ready for only one nap (check out the signs here) however, even if your younger baby is ready to drop to 1 nap, it can definitely take a little time for them to adjust to the new schedule.
What can you expect to happen during this transition?
1) That one nap won’t be as long as you want it to be at first.
2) You may see your child early rising for a short period.
Although your ultimate goal is to have your child sleep for a long time in the afternoon, ideally 2-3 hours, it is not always that easy. It is very common for them to take some time to truly lengthen that nap. So for the first little while, if their nap is only 1-1.5 hours, give their body clock some time to get used to the fact that they should be sleeping longer.
Work on extending the nap
When they wake up, don’t rush in. (Unless they are absolutely in need of you right away.) Keeping them in their sleep environment for a little longer will help send signals to their circadian rhythm that it is still sleep time. Just as a small reminder that light and stimulation means awake while a dark and peaceful sleep environment helps promote sleep. When working on extending naps, you are really working with your child’s circadian rhythm. They may not fall back asleep right away, but in time, their bodies will learn to sleep longer. Check out this video with tips on what to do if your child wakes up crying from naps.
Too early of a nap will make things harder
When your child drops to one nap, they might be very tired in the late morning or early afternoon. Having their nap at 10:30/11:00 a.m can be way too early for them though and can perpetuate any challenges or early rising that you may be experiencing. We have a blog outlining all of the reasons why it is best to push towards a later nap once you are down to one a day. You can read about the 11am nap trap here. Among many of the reasons, can you imagine how exhausted your child will be and how challenging your evenings might be if your child naps from 11:00 am-12:30/1:00 p.m and then has to be awake all the way to bedtime!
Embrace an earlier bedtime at first
When working on this shift in schedule, it is a good idea to ensure that bedtime is slightly earlier during this phase so that they have a good chance to adjust and ample opportunity to sleep when possible! Your child’s bedtime may need to be as early as 6:00pm or 6:15pm at the beginning. After approximately 1-3 weeks, your child will start to adjust to the 1 nap schedule. At this point, you can start to push bedtime later again by 15 minute increments every few nights to ease into the later bedtime. Not too late though!
Give it time
Any time that you are making changes to your child’s schedule or going through a nap transition it is very important to remember that it takes time for their bodies to adjust. We know it can be frustrating that the nap transition may also come with some other setbacks but try to take a deep breath and remember that Rome was not built in a day and as long as you are working on it, you are consistent with your approach and how you deal and respond to your child, it will come!
If you are noticing that your little one is not adjusting or you need some guidance with their overall sleep, we can help you get everything sorted! We would love to chat with you in a complimentary 15 minute consultation to get to know a little bit about you. Book a consultation with us here.