All About Naps

I love naps! Nothing is more peaceful than watching a baby sleep as you drink coffee or catch up on some reading (or chores). Sadly, the time comes when baby drops a nap, then another, and another, until no naps are left. So how do we know when baby is ready to drop a nap and how do we drop it?

Generally, babies of different ages usually have these transitions:

  • 4 to 6 months: 4 naps – 3 naps
  • 8 to 9 months: 3 naps – 2 naps
  • 11 to 18 months: 2 naps – 1 nap
  • 2 to 4 years: no more napping 

Keep in mind that’s a guide, and each baby is unique with their own sleep rhythm and totals.

Baby is ready to drop a nap when the following happens:

  • Baby is around the ages listed above
  • Taking a long time to settle at the usual nap time
  • Has a short nap multiple days in a row
  • Fighting a nap at the usual time 
  • Taking a long time to fall asleep at bedtime
  • Early waking (before 6:00am) 

Now that it’s time to drop a nap, how do we do it?

  • Lengthen wake windows before and between naps
  • Move bedtime earlier to prevent an overtired baby
  • Cap the last nap of the day to not interfere with bedtime

Nap transitions sound easily enough but they aren’t always. Each baby responds differently to dropping a nap. Be patient and flexible. Nap transitions aren’t linear. One day baby might be having one nap, and the next baby might need a regular nap and a catnap. Your baby’s natural sleep rhythm will help guide you, but it might take a few weeks before baby adjusts to dropping a nap.