I’m sure it doesn’t surprise you when I tell you that I get asked about the 2-3-4 nap schedule ALL THE TIME. What can I say, it must have a good ring to it 🙂
Truthfully, I’ve NEVER been a fan of this nap schedule because it simply doesn’t work for the vast majority of babies.
In this episode of the My Sleeping Baby podcast, I explain what the 2-3-4 nap schedule is, why it almost always never works, and what type of schedule to put your baby on instead. Have a listen!
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Speaker 1 (00:04):
Eva (00:04):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, so today we’re gonna talk all about the 2, 3, 4 NAP schedule, what it is, and specifically why I don’t like it. Generally speaking, spoiler alert, the main reason why I don’t like it is because generally speaking, it just doesn’t work. You guys all know that I am a very pragmatic solution oriented individual. If something works, even if it seems wacky and out there, I’m all for it because hey, whatever can get your little one sleeping through the night like a champ so you can feel like a functioning human I am all for. But I can tell you, after having done this for a number of years already, and having worked with over 2000 families to date, the 2, 3 4 nap schedule almost always does not work and creates a combination of over tiredness and under tiredness all at the same time. So before I delve into this in more detail, let’s just first talk about what the 2, 3 4 nap schedule is.
So the 2, 3 4 NAP schedule is basically a framework for your little one schedule, presumably once they turn about six months, this is what, um, the experts on the 2, 3 4 nap schedule say that when your little one is six months, they should be placed onto a two nap schedule where your little one’s first nap, the day happens two hours after they wake up, and then the second nap happens three hours after they wake up from their first nap. And then bedtime should be scheduled four hours after your little one had woken up from their second app. So it’s basically a framework that describes what your little one’s wake window should be when they’re moved onto a Tune app schedule around the six month mark. So why do I not like this schedule? Well, there’s two main reasons. Number one, the vast majority of six month olds still need to be napping three times and meet that third cat nap near the end of the day.
Without that cat nap, it forces them onto as a two nap schedule with very big wake windows that they just can’t pull off without getting very overtired in the process. So for that reason alone, I don’t like the 2 3, 4 nap schedule because it pushes babies that are way too young to be on a two nap schedule onto a schedule that they’re just not ready for. And the reason why you don’t want your baby to be overtired is because overt tiredness can cause pretty much every single sleep problem out there. Your overtired baby can really struggle to fall asleep at bedtime and wake up more at night and be waking you up really early for the day and be giving you short, crappy cat naps, all because they are overtired from being up for periods of time that are too long. So you wanna avoid overt tiredness like the plague if sleep is your friend here.
The second, and I would say most important reason why I don’t like the 2, 3, 4 nap schedule is because even if you have a slightly older infant who is ready for a two nap schedule, this framework usually doesn’t work because you see, if you have a baby who is young enough and legitimately tired enough after only two hours of wait time before their morning nap, that same baby is almost certainly not going to be able to do a four hour wake widow at the end of the day, which is double the amount of time that the baby was up for before Nap one. So if you have a baby that really needs that two hour window before nap one, a four hour window before bedtime is almost certainly going to cause over tiredness. And then the opposite is also true, where if you have a baby who is old enough that they legitimately need a full four hours of wake time before bed, and anything smaller than that is just not enough wake time, that same baby is going to be under tired before nap one with only a two hour window.
And so that two hour window that’s too short might also get you a really crappy cat nap because there just wasn’t enough sleep pressure built up for your little one to be able to not only fall asleep nicely for that first nap, but sleep longer than 30 minutes to begin with. Now, don’t get me wrong, when your baby is on a Tune app schedule, legitimately it is very common to see that that first nap needs to happen a little bit sooner than the rest of them. And you may even see those wake windows get big art as the day goes on. But for your little ones wake windows to be two hours in the morning and four hours before bed, and for both of those to legitimately work without any over tiredness or under tiredness is just not likely. Typically on a Tune app schedule, especially when a baby is just transitioning to a Tune app schedule, that first window needs to be a little bit longer or a lot longer, and that last window needs to be a little bit shorter or a lot shorter.
That’s usually what we are looking at. Now, obviously, if you have a baby on a 2, 3, 4 nap schedule and it works perfectly, then disregard this whole thing because listen, I would never tell you to stop doing something that legitimately works. So if you’re telling me that your baby is giving you two amazing naps on the 2, 3, 4 schedule and sleeping through the night around the clock like a champ, don’t change anything because you don’t wanna mess with success here. Now, obviously it goes without saying that the success that you’re seeing on that schedule might be short lived because eventually the overtired ness or under tiredness might catch up to your baby. But then keep this episode here on the front of your mind knowing that the success that you’re seeing, what that schedule is probably going to be temporary to begin with. But again, if it works like I mean, really, really works, then take this with a grain of salt because obviously this is just meant to be general information.
It’s not customized help for your specific baby. Every baby is going to be a little bit different. I can just tell you, having worked with well over 2000 families to date, that I can probably count on less than one hand how many babies a schedule like this actually really works for, If I’m gonna be honest, I think this whole 2, 3, 4 schedule thing caught on simply because it has a good ring to it. 2, 3, 4, it sounds great. It flows off your tongue so easily. Way easier than two hours, 45 minutes, three and a half, three and a half. Does that sound nearly as smooth? Not so much. 2, 3, 4 sounds way smoother, even though it usually doesn’t work nearly as well as the less smoother type of schedule does. So yeah, if you’ve been trying to get your little one onto this 2, 3, 4 schedule and your best friend swears by it and it’s just not working for your baby, I want you to know that your best friend’s baby is the exception and that your baby is actually following the rule here.
Don’t beat yourself up. Your baby is not an alien incapable of figuring this out. Your little one just needs a much more age appropriate, biologically appropriate schedule that actually works and takes into account veer specific unique sleep needs. All right, That’s about it. Short and sweet. I am so happy that I was able to get this off of my chest because I cannot tell you how often I have my clients and sleep Bible members asking me about my opinion on the 2, 3, 4 nap schedule and whether or not their baby should be going onto it. So if you are really struggling in the sleep department with difficulty falling asleep, getting your little one to Bed Night Wakings early rising short naps, and you are falling on your face exhausted, check out my free master class that will teach you everything you need to know about getting your little one sleeping for the night like a champ so you could feel like a functioning human. The link is in the show notes to this episode. Go and watch it now.
Thank you everyone for listening, and I hope you all have a wonderful day. 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 listener, so feel free to DM me on Instagram at my sleeping baby or send me an email at email@example.com. Until next time, have a wonderful restful nights.