When and How to Transition From Three Naps a Day to Two

Naps can be tricky. Getting your little one down at the right time, having them fall asleep easily, naps that last for an hour or more, and a baby who wakes up happy – all of these elements of a positive nap schedule can be difficult to attain.

Even if you do have naps down, then a nap transition shows up. How lovely! This post is the first in a three-part series about nap transitions – the ins and outs of transitioning your baby from three naps a day to two.

What is this transition? 

When your little one is napping three times a day, nap one is in the morning, nap two is midday, and nap three happens late in the afternoon. The 3-to-2 transition is when the third, late-afternoon nap disappears.

When does this happen?

Your little one will be ready for two naps a day when they are between six and eight months of age.

What are the signs that your baby is ready to drop nap three?

  • They have begun to fight nap three by taking a very long time to fall asleep or not napping at all
  • They are suddenly taking an unusually long time to fall asleep at bedtime
  • A night waking issue pops up out of nowhere

How do you make the transition as easy as possible?

To be honest, this is the easiest nap change. Most babies phase the third nap out on their own.

If this doesn’t happen for you, it’s often because nap two is too early (around noon). Pushing it later (closer to 1:00 p.m.) not only helps your baby get through the rest of the afternoon without a third nap, but it often increases the duration of the second nap.

A late afternoon walk or playing outside in the sunshine can also help your little one get to bedtime without falling asleep late in the afternoon (as long as they’re not falling asleep in the stroller).

Once they are no longer taking a third nap, you may need to temporarily put them down to bed earlier to prevent them from becoming overtired.

Even if you do all of these things, any change to your child’s sleep schedule can throw things off for a while. Do not worry. You are doing all of the right things. Just stay consistent, and their naps will lengthen, they will go down easily again, and now you’ll only have to get them down for two naps a day!

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Rachel Ross

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