When do babies drop the third nap? It’s a question parents all over the world ask. While there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, there are some general guidelines that might help you and your baby find the right schedule when it comes time to transition from three naps to two. In this blog post, we’ll delve into what age is most appropriate for making this switch in baby sleep, and arm you with tips on how best to make it happen. Let’s take a look!
Signs That Your Baby Is Ready For Nap Transition!
Signs that your baby is ready for the transition from three naps to two can often include resistance or refusal for the third nap, skipping out on naps altogether, taking shorter-than-usual naps, and even nights where they can’t stay asleep for long periods of time. If your child isn’t getting a good 10 hours of sleep during the night while still taking three naps a day, transitioning to two could help strengthen their nighttime sleep.
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The transition usually involves adjusting awake times between morning and afternoon naps, pushing bedtime earlier, and replacing cat naps with a long afternoon nap.
Most babies need some help falling asleep during the daytime string of two naps, but because it mirrors night sleep more closely than three nap times do, they aren’t as resistant. Ultimately transitioning your baby from three to two naps can lead to an earlier bedtime which can result in improved nap quality and better night sleep.
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When Do Babies Drop The Third Nap?
Your baby’s wake times will increase from 6 to 8 months old, and the third nap is typically dropped at this age. The range between 6 to 8 months is a big one for babies, so make sure to observe your little one closely to determine whether he is ready for two naps instead of three. In general, babies would need 2-3 hours of daytime sleep at this age, and with the average wake windows being between 2-3 hours long, both a six-month-old and a seven-month-old would have slightly different schedules.
For instance, a six-month-old normally has three naps in the day while a seven-month-old may only have two. So if you notice that your baby becomes easily tired after a few hours of activity and seems bored more often than before throughout each nap of the day, then it might be time to drop that third nap.
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Strategies To Manage This Transition
Making a successful transition in sleep can be tricky, but some strategies can ease the process.
1. Lengthen Wake Windows
Managing the transition from one sleeping pattern to another can be difficult. A strategy that can help is to make sleep patterns lengthen wake windows: if the goal is to increase awake time, stagger daytime sleep by transitioning from multiple short naps to several longer ones, or an earlier bedtime with a morning nap. This way, night waking and difficulty falling asleep become less of a problem over time as the body develops better habits and gets used to its new routine.
2. Offer The Third Nap “On The Go”
One of the best strategies for managing the transition from two to one nap a day is offering the third nap “on the go”. To do this, you should move the early bedtime earlier, ideally at or just before 6 p.m., and then offer a little catnap of 20 to 30 minutes in the late afternoon if your child is feeling sleepy. This short, independent cat nap helps facilitate the transition away from two naps and your toddler can enjoy an earlier evening bedtime with less stress and struggle around falling asleep.
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3. Move Bedtime Earlier
Managing nap transitions can be challenging for parents. One successful strategy is to take longer naps or move bedtime earlier after a skipped nap. This adjustment can help young ones fall asleep more easily, allowing both toddlers and their parents to get an earlier start on the day. It also helps maintain consistent sleeping habits over time by making up for lost naps due to irregular schedules or missed naps due to travel. While this strategy can’t eliminate nap transitions, it is an effective tool in helping manage them.
Tips For Good Naps For Babies
Here are some tips for good naps for babies.
Get A Bassinet
Having a bassinet in their bedroom is essential for a baby’s nap time routine. This will give them a safe and comfortable place to sleep, as well as provide them with familiarity and security. Make sure that the mattress fits snugly in the bassinet so that it won’t move around too much when your baby is sleeping.
Create A Routine
Creating a predictable nap time routine will help your baby learn how to fall asleep quickly and stay asleep longer. Start by having consistent wake-up times, then make sure they have plenty of time to wind down before bedtime with activities like reading or singing lullabies. Also, try to keep the same bedtime every night, so your little one knows exactly what comes next when nap time rolls around.
Establish A Calm Environment
To promote deep and restful sleep, establish a calming environment in their bedroom or nursery. Keep lights low and noise levels low, and add soothing music or white noise if needed. If possible, leave the doors open so that any noises from outside won’t disturb them while they’re sleeping. Additionally, make sure their bedding is cozy and comfortable, so they can snuggle up for a good night’s rest.
How Long Does The 3-2 Nap Transition Take?
The 3-2 nap transition can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. How quickly it goes depends on the readiness of the child, so children that are more ready for the transition may adjust faster than those who aren’t quite there yet. During this time, you’ll likely see some days with three naps and others with two as your child gets used to the new nap schedule again.
Does Dropping A Nap At This Age Cause Night Wakings?
If a child is awake for too long before their bedtime. Overtiredness makes it hard for a child to fall asleep and remain asleep on their own, so setting an appropriate bedtime is essential. Not getting enough sleep can also affect overall emotions, physical energy levels, and focus during the day.
As your baby starts to drop the third nap, you may find that he or she is more resistant to going down for a nap. However, if you stick to a consistent schedule and keep up with their sleep cues, they should be able to adjust just fine. Be patient and remember that every baby is different! If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to reach out to us. We are always happy to help in any way we can.
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