When you have a baby, you’ll realize how much they nap. Babies love to take multiple naps a day, and you may wonder if all those naps are good for the baby.
The answer is yes. Babies need much more sleep, as they’re growing fast. However, as they get older, their need for sleep decreases, and they’ll be able to nap less. It will be a gradual process, with babies eventually dropping their second nap.
When Do Babies Drop Their Second Nap?
You can expect babies to drop their second nap around 14-18 months, though there are always exceptions.
How do you know? One way to realize is if you’re trying to get them to have a second nap, and they just aren’t doing it. This can be a sure sign that they’re ready to drop their second nap. However, false positives can happen as well. Sometimes, a baby just can’t sleep, and them dropping their nap is temporary. Give a child a week. If they continue avoiding their second nap, then chances are, they’ve dropped it.
Adjusting The First Nap
Whenever you’re trying to drop the second nap, it’s important that you change the time of the first one. Move the first nap a half hour each day. Eventually, you want the first nap to be in the afternoon. With that said, don’t do it too late, or you may have an early bedtime on your hands. Eventually, the nap will be a way to unwind, not to sleep.
Sometimes, you can be able to adjust naps by switching them back and forth between one and two naps every day until they have adjusted. With that said, this may take longer to transition if you do it this way, so beware.
If you do it the first way, it may take about one to two weeks to do it.
Transition Woes And How To Handle Them
When you are transitioning your baby from two to one naps, they will get cranky. You may have to deal with tantrums as you’re adjusting the nap time. It’s important that you distract them at this time. Distraction can make a baby not realize how tired they are, thus improving their crankiness.
Snacks, playtime, a new toy, these can all help your baby adjust to a new nap schedule quite well. Figure out what distracts your baby and see what you can do about it. Chances are, your baby will be distracted until their new naptime is at hand.
This especially is true if they are ending up skipping their afternoon nap. They may feel grumpy all day and you may end up feeling a little grumpy as well as a result. Don’t let the grumpiness overcome you. Remember that toddlers need sleep and are adjusting to less sleep and a normal schedule. They may feel a little grumpy. Do not take it too personally, as it’s just a part of transitioning. This can be hard, especially if you yourself haven’t had enough sleep. But that’s okay. Both of you are learning.
If the nap is moved to lunchtime, you may wonder when the best time to feed the baby is. Before, or after? Some say that a bit of food can help the baby sleep better, while others are a little skeptical about that.
A good compromise is to have a little bit of food before the nap, and a little bit after the nap. This can help ensure a good medium between the two.
A micronap may help your child transition from one nap to two. For example, a little nap in the stroller or in the car can help the child transition from a second nap to one smaller nap. This is fine in moderation, but make sure the micronap doesn’t become a meganap in the process.
Early To Bed, Early To Transition
As your child is transitioning from one nap to another, it’s important that they go to bed early. Put them early to bed, or at least as early as your schedule allows.
Giving Up Certain Naps
Some children will give up their morning nap, while others may give up their afternoon nap. There are even a few babies who may change it up every day. It’s important that you realize that this is a normal part of the transition.
Every Child Is Different
With that said, you must remember that every child is a little bit different, and it’s important that you don’t rush it. There is nothing too wrong with a toddler having multiple naps a day, although it can mess with their bedtime or cause them to wake up in the middle of the night.
Calming Down An Antsy Child
Sometimes, it may be time for your child’s nap, but they’re still so energetic. If you want to calm them down and allow them to nap better, there are a few ways you can do so, including:
Letting them watch a calming show like nature or something relaxing. Don’t let them watch something too energetic, but instead something to keep them nice and calm.
Play some white noise. Have a fan running, have some ambient sounds, these are a few ways to keep the child calm and not wake up due to any distractions.
Give them a massage. You may feel like you’re the one who needs it, but a toddler massage can calm them down and allow them to get some much-needed rest.
Give them a nice cup of warm milk. This is always good for calming down a baby who needs to tire themselves out.
Whew. Naptime transitioning is harder than you would think. You may think that it’s easy, but dropping one nap and keeping one is a bit tricky. However, with some strategy and some patience, it’s possible for any parent to do. Try doing it and see if you’re able to do so.
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