Nap Transitions-when?

Nap transitions
Your child has a need to nap-in fact; Mama’s have a need to nap too! But the child nap can be a hard one to master! Your child goes through so many nap transitions in the first 18 months that I thought you might like to know what we might consider to be typical in most instances.
The early days and months and filled with multiple naps, some long ( if you are lucky) some short-which is very normal, but by the time your chid is 6 months plus then their nap rhythms have started to establish and if you haven’t had any long naps yet then, the possibility is higher now.
Generally from 6 to 8 months of age most children require 3 naps per day. I will always place a high emphasis on nap 1 and nap 2 and these naps you will keep until your child is around 15 months+. To that end, if you are working on establishing positive sleep practices then naps in the cot for 1 and 2 would be a good idea.
Somewhere beyond 7.5 -8 months +, biologically the 3 rd nap retires. Typically, you don’t need to do anything to eliminate this nap, it just becomes not needed and your child, who used to take a third nap, just won’t. Don’t be a bit concerned about this, as it is usual, but understand now, that without the 3rd nap you may find yourself with some sleep challenges as your day sleep may finish too soon before bedtime creating an overtired cycle, that can initiate unwanted night time activity.
I encourage a nap gap dynamic from 8m-18m of not more than 4 hours between the final nap and in bed asleep. This may mean you need to move the first and second nap later and bedtime forward to close this gap. Visit my book The Baby Sleep Solution, to learn more about these suggestions.
Your child will now require 2 naps until around 15-18 months. There is a common misconception that at 12 months, one nap is relevant, but I rarely find that to be the case. 2 naps are routinely required if your child is 12motnhs + and still seems tired before 10am. Many parents will report that they are tired by 10am but can’t manage another nap. So limiting nap 1 to make room for nap 2 is required for a while.
Then somewhere between 15-18 months, 1 nap is needed for most children. We never initiate the transition until we see the signs as follows:
• Resisting nap 1 or nap 2 (even if you are capping nap 1)
Then 1 nap becomes a reality and ideally, when 1 nap is needed, the timing of 1230/1pm start time is preferred.
This allows the nap gap dynamic of 4-5 hours before bedtime in an effort to make sure that overtiredness does not undermine your child’s sleep ability.
Finally somewhere closer to 3 years, your child will probably not require a day time sleep and will be able to go from morning wake to bedtime without a sleep, but it can be worth still providing a rest or quiet time around the time that the nap would normally have happened.

Do you want o read more? Purchase the book The Baby Sleep Solution addressing all sleep issues from birth to 6 years and answering all the questions that you may have…€16.99 plus €3 p&P

Lucy Wolfe, CGSC, MAPSC, H.Dip RM is a paediatric sleep consultant, Author of the bestselling book The Baby Sleep Solution, creator of “Sleep Through”, a natural bed and body sleep spray and relaxing rub, and mum of four. She runs a private sleep consulting practice where she provides knowledge, expertise and valuable support to families across the country. See |087 2683584 or |

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