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How (and when) to transition from three naps to two?

Are you wondering when you should adjust your baby's sleeping schedule down to two naps? Read on to find out how get started!

It seems like just as you master the latest stage of parenthood your baby is ready to make the next transition!

Remember all babies are unique and it is important to follow whatever set up is working for you and your family. I'm here to guide you in making changes to your routines if/when you decide it is no longer the best suited routine for your family, for whatever reason.

Around 6-9 months babies are usually ready to transition from 3 naps down to 2. How will you know it's time? Let's find out...

How long is the afternoon nap?

A good sign it may be time to drop the 3rd nap is if the afternoon nap becomes longer, leaving no time for the third nap. The longer later second nap pushes the 3rd 'bonus' nap into bedtime territory.

Is your baby resisting the 3rd nap?

If your baby is resisting the nap, either through taking significantly longer to fall asleep or being content to continue playing without showing tired signs, this would be a sign they are coping well with extended wake windows.

Wake windows for a baby between 6-8 months should be between 2 - 2.5 hours.

Ok so it's time, now what?

First things first cap the 3rd nap! The third nap is a "bonus" nap, used as a bridge between the afternoon and bedtime. It should only be between 20 and 40 minutes long to ensure no impact on night sleep. Transitioning from any number of naps should be a gradual process and always take into account the individual day and your child's tired signs.

Prepare for an earlier bedtime

Your baby may be ready for bed a little earlier than before, during the transition. Be prepared for an earlier bedtime to avoid an overtired baby, resulting in fighting sleep or more frequent night wakings.

Prioritise sleep!

The most vital part of achieving healthy sleep habits is to prioritise sleep. It is important that during times of transition or when making moves to teach self settling or solving habitual waking that sleep routines are prioritised. I know that can be tough as many of us love to get out of the house with baby and being stuck in can feel overwhelming. Just make sure you get baby down to sleep within the age appropriate wake windows and ideally BEFORE they show signs of tiredness. The morning wake window is shorter. The first nap of the day should be within 2 hours and once your baby is between 8 - 10 months they may be able to stretch to 3.5 hours between sleeps later in the day. Watch out for your babies unique tired behaviours and if you see them try get your baby down 15 minutes earlier the next day until you find their unique wake window.

Now you've mastered the timing transitioning down to 2 naps a day will be much smoother

If you're looking for more in depth sleep shaping support the Sensible sleep approach offers personalised sleep shaping from a certified Sleepy Lambs sleep consultant from as little as £60, Book your package HERE

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