If you’re wondering when your little one is ready to drop down to one nap, this episode is for you.
In this episode, I’m talking all about:
– When this transition usually happens
– What typically triggers the 2-1 nap transition
– How to move your little one to a 1 nap schedule when they’re ready
– How long your little one should be napping for
– What your little one’s 1 nap schedule should be looking like
– How to avoid overtiredness during the transition
Have a listen!
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Hey there, you’re listening to the, My Sleeping Baby podcast, which is all about baby and child sleep. I’m so excited to teach you how you can get your little ones sleeping so that you can sleep too and enjoy parenthood to its fullest. I’m Eva Klein, your resident’s sleep expert, mom of three, founder of the Sleep Bible online coaching program, and lover of all things sleep and motherhood. If you’re looking for tangible solutions for your little one sleep woes or you simply want to learn more, this podcast is for you. For more information, check out mysleepingbaby.com and you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook @mysleepingbaby.
All right. Hi everyone. So today we’re gonna be talking all about the two to one nap, transition where your little one is on a two nap schedule and drops down to a one nap schedule. And I find that the reaction from PA the parents end to their little one to transitioning to a one nap schedule is pretty mixed. I find about half the time you have parents celebrating and saying, oh my gosh, this is such a relief. It’s gonna make my life so much easier because now we can go out in the morning. We don’t have to worry about two naps. We only have to now worry about one and we’ll have so much more free time in our day. The other half of the time, I find the parents going, hold on, wait a second. You mean that? Now I can’t have my cup of coffee in peace and quiet
I don’t like this very much. Or now I can’t go. My 30 minutes of Pilates, you know, while my little one is snoozing away. So I find that it’s definitely a mixed bag in terms of reactions, but the reality is that no matter what, your little ones, two nap days are going to come to an end for better or for worse. And they are going to grow the need for two naps. And so we’re gonna talk about what that typically looks like. What usually triggers the transition from a two nap schedule to a one nap schedule and how you can go about navigating that as best as you can. So I find that the most common trigger of the transition to a one nap schedule is when your little one is just not tired enough for their morning nap anymore. So maybe they’re out for the day at seven, and you try putting them down for a nap at 10, 10, 15, 10 30, and either they roll around for the whole hour and just don’t fall asleep at all.
Or maybe they do fall asleep, but they fall asleep after rolling around for a half hour. And so now the day is getting dragged on because now it means that your little ones first step is ending later, necessitating us to push at second nap later. And then oftentimes the exact same thing happens where you get that little one of yours down for their second nap. And rather than going to sleep nicely, like they used to, they’re just rolling around and either not falling asleep at all or falling asleep 45 minutes later. And so what oftentimes happens is that the day just gets dragged on where now your little one is waking up early and going to bed very late and the schedule is just not working. And it’s typically really triggered by your little one, just not being tired enough for their first nap in the morning anymore.
Another scenario that might be happening, it’s not as common, but it definitely does happen is when your little ones, two naps that he was previously giving, you have suddenly shrunk into two cat naps. Sometimes this can happen because it’s a reflection of the fact that your little one now, more wake time and more sleep pressure to be able to sleep longer than one 40 minute sleep cycle. And so in that scenario, we typically need to get your little one onto a one nap schedule. Now, this transition I find typically happens somewhere are in the 15 to 18 month range. Um, it can happen a little bit earlier. I have seen some 14 month olds go down to one nap sooner, though. It is rare. And then I’ve definitely seen some 18 month olds still need two naps. Um, in fact, Eliana was that baby that was on a two nap schedule until she was 18 and a half months.
Now, I actually wasn’t surprised because she always had slightly shorter wake periods than average. So it wasn’t the least bit surprising that she was holding on to that QAP schedule, um, for dear life. But to be honest, I wasn’t complaining in the least bit because I was definitely in the second category of parents who were like, why can’t I drink my cup of coffee and quiet
Eliana was, was on one nap by 18 and a half months. And JJ GOFI, who is my textbook baby. He was on one nap by the time he was 16 months on the dot. Now it happens to be that he probably could have held onto his two nap schedule for a little bit longer. But what happened was that he started at a new daycare program. We had just moved to a new house in a new neighborhood. And so I moved him to a new daycare center. And so what happened on the very first day that he started was they tried putting him down for a nap in the morning and not surprisingly, he didn’t take it because he’s transitioning to a new daycare center. So that’s all par for the course. And so I picked him up around one o’clock I had him in a part-time daycare program at the time and I said, Hey, all right, I guess we gotta try this one nap thing because you haven’t napped it all yet.
And so I put him down for a nap at one, and I had to wake him up at four. And that’s when I went, Hey, wait a second. Like he could actually pull this off now, to be honest, I think that if he had been at his old daycare, he probably would have gone down for that nap in the morning and perhaps held onto it for a little bit longer, maybe another couple weeks, but he made the one nap schedule work, you know, right on time, you know, pretty darn average go figure because JJ always was that average baby. So that was how he transitioned to one nap. In a nutshell.
Now we want your little ones nap to ideally be no earlier than the 12 to 1230 rain. Honestly, what more ideal than that is actually somewhere in the 1230 to one o’clock range. We wanna be very, very careful about not putting your little one down for a nap that is too early, because even if it’s a solid nap, it means that it’s going to end early and then you’re gonna have to do a very early bedtime to avoid over tiredness. So we ideally want that nap time to be somewhere in that 12 to one o’clock rage.
So here’s a couple tips or things to keep in the back of your mind when your little one is going through this transition. So the first thing is that your little one, regardless of how well this transition is going, might be a little bit over tired in the thick of things. And that’s very normal because she is used to napping twice a day, and now she’s only napping once. And so by the end of the day, she might be exhausted. And especially if that one nap that she took is a short nap. It wasn’t that two and a half to three hour long nap that you might have been hoping for. You’re gonna wanna do an earlier bedtime as a means of damage control to avoid that over tiredness and get your little one to bed so that you can help with this adjustment period.
I remember when Eliana was going through this safe specifically, even though she was napping a lot of the time, three hours at a time, I was still getting her to bed somewhere between six and six 30, because she was wiped, but it was very temporary. Again, I am not a fan of doing a regular bedtime in the sixes because it is recipe for a wakeup in the fives. If your little one is sleeping 11 to 11 and a half hours. So it was only a matter of time within, you know, a week or a week and a half where she was on that solid schedule. And her bedtime was then bumped to the sevens. But when you’re in the thick of that transition, don’t be afraid to put your little one to bed early. The other little tidbit that I will give you with regards to this transition, which I think is really important is don’t be afraid to offer an emergency cat nap on the go.
If your little ones, one nap that they gave you was short and crappy. So again, in the name of avoiding over tiredness, which we know is a very big sleep Steeler and can cause every single sleep problem out there, don’t be afraid to offer your little one, another nap around that three or four o’clock mark. If they are completely wiped, if your little one on only napped from 12 until one o’clock, then I would say, you know what? Put them in the stroller, take them for a walk at, you know, four o’clock let them snooze for 30 or 45 minutes so that they’re not going to bed in exhausted basket case.
Now here’s the last thing that I wanna emphasize about this transition, which I think is no different than any other nap transition. And that is that you really want it to be a baby led transition. A lot of people think that when I tell the them that most babies are ready somewhere between 15 and 18 months, that they think that they then have a choice that now that their little one is 15 months, they can choose whether or not they want their little wine to be on one nap or two naps. And I wanna just emphasize that that’s actually not the case. What I mean to say is that most babies are developmentally ready for that one nap somewhere between 15 and 18 months. But it doesn’t mean that we can choose. So when your little one is 15 months, there is really only one, right answer in terms of what they need.
If they need a two nap schedule, then we need to be offering them a two nap schedule. And if don’t, and we try forcing them onto a one nap schedule that they’re just not ready for. It’s going to backfire like crazy, because it means that your little one is now gonna be crazy over tired, likely not napping well up for periods of time that are too long. And that can easily spill over to your little one’s nighttime sleep. So you want it to be a transition that happens because your little one is legitimately ready for it, based on what we were just talking about. Your little one, just not being tired enough in the morning. You don’t want that transition to happen out of convenience. And I listen, I can absolutely appreciate that. You might be thinking to yourself. Yeah, but there is a music class that happened that’s happening at 10 o’clock and I wanna sign him out for it, but it’s only gonna work if he’s naing once, what do I do?
Here’s what I wanna assure you of, as I said, eventually, sooner or later, your little one will be on at one nap schedule. And that 10 o’clock or 10 30 music class is going to work perfectly for you. But right now, if your little one needs that two nap schedule try and find a music class around noon, I promise you they exist as well. And make those classes work around the schedule, that your little one, so that he can continue to sleep like a champ day in and day out. Don’t force him onto a schedule that works better for you. And by the way, the same thing applies to forcing a baby onto a two nap schedule when they might be ready. For one, if you try doing that, you’re likely gonna get two crappy naps and also a pretty overtired baby. So if your baby needs one nap and we’re forcing them onto two, that’s gonna be equally as disastrous as making your baby who needs two naps, sleep on a one nap schedule. So we want it to be a baby led process, no matter what. And I just wanna emphasize that if you do have your little one in daycare and you’re going holy, what do I do? My 13 month old is being forced, you know, onto a one nap schedule there. How am I supposed to navigate this? Check out my episode on navigating daycare transitions. I will link that in the show notes so that you have an action plan for navigating daycare. That is like a whole separate Hannah wars.
Now, as always, this transition is likely going to be very bumpy for you at best. If your little one doesn’t know how to sleep independently, because it means that the Dre of your little ones naps are likely gonna continue to be inconsistent at best, even when they are on a one nap schedule. And I wanna assure you that it is never too late to teach your little one, how to fall asleep independently and sleep like a champ throughout the night. I wanna assure you that your older baby, your toddler and your preschooler can absolutely learn to fall asleep on their own and consistently sleep through the night and they can learn. And you can teach them in a loving and supportive way so that you don’t need to be leaving them alone to cry for even any period of time, if that is outside of your comfort zone. And so if you wanna learn more, check out my free master class on how to get your little one consistently sleeping 11 to 12 hours at night. So you can feel like a functioning human again, so that you can learn how to teach your little one, how to sleep independently, how to nap like a champ so that you can feel like a normal functioning, human sane person. Again,
Thank you so much for listening. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, leave a review and share this episode with a friend who can benefit from it. I also love hearing from my listeners. So feel free to DM me on Instagram @mysleepingbaby, or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org until next time have a wonderful restful nights.