Finding The Signs And How To Handle The 3-2 Nap Transition

Did you know that every month your little ones sleep patterns are ever changing for the first year of their life? Babies and children require a great amount of sleep during the day and night. Sleep plays a large role in growth, development and cognitive functions. Children are undergoing developments at a more intense rate than adults, therefore, they require more sleep to be able to grow and develop properly. These are some of the reasons that most infants nap during the day. Naps are vital in helping form complete and healthy sleep patterns and habits.

What Signs Should You Look For?

There’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ for nap transitions. Usually by 6-9 months most children will be ready for the 3-2 nap transition. Around 7-8 months your baby's awake time will naturally increase making it a good time to transition to two naps if you are seeing the signs. On average the awake time should be around 2 hours 30 mins to 3 hours. The range can vary at this age, so it is vital to document your child's sleepy cues, so you can find the nap sweet spot. As their body naturally increases the awake time and the naps lengthen out, there then won’t be enough time in the day for that third nap.

Babies that are between 6 and 7 months of age should be awake for around 2 hours 15 minutes to 2 hours and 45 minutes before they go down for their first nap in the morning. The first wake window of the day can be the shortest for many babies. One major indicator a baby is ready for the move, if they are able to have two longer naps in the day along with the longer wake window this shows the body's natural circadian rhythm is ready for the big change. Another sign that your child is ready to drop their third nap is no matter what you do, that 3rd nap just won't happen.

Key items you need to look out for (over the course of 7-10 days) are:

Issues settling to sleep for a nap

Waking early from a nap

One nap baby settles well, but unable to sleep well for other naps

Issues falling asleep at bedtime

Unable to fit the 3rd nap in for the day

Playing or rolling around for long periods of times before dozing off to sleep

Early morning rising issues 

Struggling to fall back asleep in the early morning hours

How To Handle The Changes:

The transition from 3-2 naps, has many various factors and mainly depends on how well your baby is linking their sleep cycles for the first two naps as well as how long of a wake window they can handle at their age. The transition is much smoother when you have a baby that is able to have two solid and age appropriate naps and no longer needs the 3rd nap to bridge the gap until bedtime. If your baby is only able to have one longer nap, followed by a shorter nap they may not be quiet ready as the wake window until bedtime might be much too long and causing bedtime battles and overnight issues.

If your baby is a habitual cat napper, they will also struggle to make the transition to 2 naps and it can begin to affect their bedtime and nighttime sleep.  Babies who have been given the proper and age appropriate sleep foundations tend to handle sleep changes easier then babies that are missing those solid fundamentals. Remember you want to be sure your baby is ready for this big change and not implementing it too early. The sleep stars need to be aligned properly to be sure you capture the right moment to move your baby from 3 naps to 2 naps a day. The transition is not always obvious and easy for every baby. I highly recommend, writing down and documenting daily your child's sleep patterns, so you have the details for a good solid 7 days, before you make the big move! Baby Connect is my go to app to document all information in real time. 

If you are wanting to dive deeper into your little one(s) sleep, set up your FREE 15 minute call HERE, with me and lets get your family healthier and solid sleep in place. 

I love hearing from you and hoping there are other parents out there that have similar stories, feelings and emotions about their journey through out the first years of your child’s life.

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