When do babies go to one nap? Learn how to tell if it’s time to transition your baby down to one nap a day.
All new parents know that naptime is sacred. Babies need naps during the day to allow them to get the necessary amount of sleep they need for their development.
However, like most things, as your baby grows, naptime routines will change to meet their developmental needs. And transitions at every stage of development can be difficult for both you and your little one, especially when babies transition from two naps to one.
So how do you know when it’s time for your baby to go down to one nap? We’re setting you and your baby up for success with everything you need to know to successfully transition to one nap a day.
To learn more about baby sleep, sign up for Dr. Rebecca Spencer’s Masterclass about Baby & Toddler Sleep and get your baby to actually sleep like a baby!
So, When Do Babies Go To One Nap??
Transitioning from two naps a day to one isn’t the first time your baby’s daytime sleeping schedule will change. As your baby grows and develops, you will make many changes to their nap routine.
Typically, you can expect nap routines to change at these ages:
- 3-4 Months- Transitions to 4 naps a day
- 5-6 Months- Transitions to 3 naps a day
- 7-9 Months- Transitions to 2 naps a day
- 14-18 Months- Transitions to 1 nap a day
While most babies go down to one nap between 14-18 months old, every child is different. In order for you to decide when your baby is ready to go down to one nap, there are some signs to look out for.
Sleep is vital to your baby’s overall health and development, and so is a consistent schedule that ensures they are able to get the sleep they need and the appropriate amount of awake time and stimulation.
You can download the Kinedu app to watch expert-led classes about baby sleep.
Signs Your Baby Is Ready For One Nap
In addition to their age, the answer to the question, “when do babies go to one nap?” is dependent on whether or not your baby is ready. There are some telltale signs to be aware of that will let you know that your baby is ready to make the transition to one nap.
- They resist or refuse a nap: If your baby begins to regularly resist one of their regular naps, this is a key sign that they may be ready to drop down to one nap. This will happen consistently over a few weeks.
- Their naps become shorter: When your baby is taking 2 naps a day, each nap should last between 1 and 2 hours. If your little one is sleeping less than an hour during one of their naps consistently, they may be ready to move to a 1 nap schedule.
- Their nap times are getting later: Babies spend 7 months or longer on a 2 nap schedule. If all of a sudden you notice that your baby isn’t ready for sleep during their regular nap schedule, it is a good sign that they need more awake time.
- They start waking up earlier: Once your baby is old enough to drop down to one nap, you probably have a well-established bedtime and wake-up schedule. If your little one begins regularly waking much earlier, it is a good sign that they are getting too much sleep during the day.
- Their bedtime gets later: Similarly to an earlier wake-up time, if you are starting to push naps later in the day, and then consequently bedtime, your baby is probably ready to drop down to 1 nap a day.
How To Transition Your Baby To One Nap
Once you determine that your baby is ready for a 1 nap schedule, it is time to start transitioning them into their new nap schedule. When a baby transitions to one nap, they will go down to 1 nap in the afternoon.
The afternoon nap should begin between 12 and 1 pm and should last around 2 hours and up to 2 and a half hours once you have successfully phased out their morning nap completely. This transition should be done slowly and generally takes a few weeks.
Remember that during this time you and your baby are both adjusting to a new routine and a new schedule and it’s normal for it to feel a bit challenging. Here are some tips to help make the 2 naps to 1 transition a little smoother for everyone:
- Extend their morning awake time: Ideally, your baby will be awake for 4-5 hours before their one afternoon nap and then again 4-5 hours before bedtime. Start by gradually extending their morning awake time an hour at a time. The goal is to ultimately have your baby ready for their nap around 12 or 1pm.
- Be flexible with mealtimes: As you extend their awake time in the morning, you will be starting their naps earlier than 12:00 for a short time. Having lunch and dinner earlier can accommodate an earlier afternoon nap and an earlier bedtime.
- Replace the morning nap with quiet time: The longer your baby is staying awake before their nap, the more likely they are to be a little fussy in the beginning. If you notice your baby seems tired or fussy during what would be their morning nap, use that time for quiet reading or snuggling.
- Make bedtime earlier temporarily: As your baby transitions to one nap a day, they are also transitioning to less sleep. As you introduce an early afternoon nap, your little one may need to go to sleep for the night earlier to ensure they are feeling rested and energized for their longer awake times during the day.
- Make sure their one nap is long enough: When your baby goes down to one nap, they will need to sleep for around 2 hours. If you are noticing that your baby isn’t staying asleep for that long, you may need to implement an earlier bedtime. You can also introduce calming routines to help them adjust to their new schedule.
It is common for parents and babies to struggle with sleep transitions and to have questions about sleep at different times during their growth and development. “When do babies go to one nap?” is just one of the common concerns parents have when it comes to babies and sleep.
Many parents can benefit from qualified outside help. You can learn how to best tackle your current sleep struggles and goals through our coaching sessions with a certified sleep expert.