As your baby grows, the need for day sleep becomes less and less. The 3-2 nap transition is often a natural transition as your child’s schedule begins to solidify the first 2 naps lengthen and the need for the 3rd catnap begins to lesson. For some babies, this is a natural transition, but for other you may need to temporarily shift their schedule to help with this transition. This blog outlines what signs to look for and how to help your little one make this transition with ease!
At what age does this transition happen?
The timing of this transition will vary from baby to baby, however, typically we see this transition happen around 8-9 months. By 9 months, most babies are ready for a 2-nap schedule. Remember, every child is unique and so are their sleep needs. The timing of this transition will vary and that is okay.
Signs of readiness:
Taking longer to fall asleep at bedtime (longer than 20 minutes)
Refusing the 3rd cat nap
Waking more often through the night
Frequent early morning wakings
Just as overtiredness affects your child’s quality of sleep, so does being UNDERtired. If your child is clocking too much day sleep, it will begin to affect their quality of night sleep. If you have consistently been seeing the above signs for 1-2 weeks it is time to begin the transition from 3 naps down to 2.
Here is what to do:
Continue offering nap 1 between 8:30am-9:00am
Begin pushing Naps 2 later until timing is around 12:30pm
Do not offer the 3rd nap, Instead….
Temporarily shift bedtime EARLIER by 30 – 60 minutes
It may take up to a week for your child to fully adjust to the transition, but don’t give up! After a few days (or up to a week), begin shifting bedtime later by 15 minutes each day until you are back at your normal bedtime. (Note: It is important to begin shifting bedtime back to their normal time to avid getting into an early bedtime rut.)
As you work through this transition, you may notice changes in behavior and even some extra sleepiness throughout the day. Here are some other ways you can help:
Get Outside: Try to go outside for some playtime around the time your child would normally be napping. Your child may still be showing sleepy signs around this time, so a change of scenery and some outdoor play can be just the stimulation they need help get over the hump. Bonus: exposure to outside light is a great natural way to help your child’s natural rhythms get on track!
Have Patience: As with any sleep transition, this will take time. It can take at least 4-6 weeks for your child to fully adjust to this transition. Keep at it and don’t give up!
Are you in the middle of a nap transition or just struggling with finding the right sleep schedule for your child? I would love to connect and help you work toward your sleep goals! Contact me here.