3 Experts On When Do Babies Go To One Nap
Our little one’s sleep pattern changes as she grows up, but it’s necessary to know when exactly the changes occur so we know how to adjust.
I remember not knowing the answer to when do babies go to one nap; hence, when my kids started giving up their nap times, I panicked.
I didn’t know that by a certain age, they eat and sleep less because they become more active, and it’s exactly what their body needs to develop.
And because I don’t want you to be anxious like me, I gathered some tips from three experts, outlined below.
When Do Babies Go To One Nap?
1. Dr. Rebecca Kempton, MD, Pediatric sleep specialist
According to Dr. Kempton, The transition from two to one nap usually happens somewhere around 15 to 18 months. It’s usually the morning nap that they give up because the body’s internal biological rhythms--also known as the internal sleep clock--says so.
As adults, you might notice that we feel the most sleepy after lunch. It’s the same thing with our babies. Hence, you will find them cranky and sleepy starting from 12:00 PM.
When that happens, quietly put your baby down for her afternoon nap.
But Dr. Kempton warns against jumping the gun too early. Each of babies are different, so don’t follow what your friends’ kids are doing.
If their babies are already transitioning from two to one nap, don’t force your baby to do the same. Instead, recognize the readiness signs.
Here are some of them:
For several weeks, they consistently avoid napping either in the morning or the afternoon. They stick to one nap.
When they nap, the duration is much shorter than before.
They have unpredictable nap schedule.
When you see these signs, the next you should do is to transition slowly and adjust your schedule (assuming you do other stuff while your baby is sleeping).
These are some things you can do:
Target the lunch or after lunch schedule. Prepare you baby for nap time around this schedule so that it is in sync with her circadian rhythms.
If she still wants to nap in the morning, decrease the nap time so she can sleep in the afternoon. Dr. Kempton suggests capping it to 30-45 minutes.
Make bedtime earlier to compensate for less daytime sleep. If your baby usually sleeps at 7:30 PM, try to put her to bed by 7:00 PM.
2. Rebecca Michi, Children’s Sleep Consultant
For Michi, the answer to when do babies go to one nap starts earlier than what Dr. Kempton says--12 months. But she also says that it can be later but not earlier.
She offers two techniques to transition from two to one nap:
Just go for it
Take it easy
The “just go for it” technique, which she also calls the short sharp is pretty much just trying to make your child awake in the morning for as long as you can.
Keep her active by playing with her or letting her play by herself.
When it’s about lunch time or 11:00 AM, you can shoot for that nap. However, you have to remember one crucial thing:
Feed your baby before letting her nap. Give her either a late morning snack or an early lunch. We don’t want our kids waking up inadvertently because of hunger.
But be prepared for some fussiness later in the day.
Because your baby had only one nap time the entire day, she may be cranky before bedtime. When that happens, you can put her to bed 30 minutes earlier than usual. Just make sure it’s been at least four hours since she woke up from the nap.
Why is this necessary?
Because you don’t want her to take an evening nap then wake up after an hour when you’re about to go to sleep.
You don’t want her to be awake too early in the morning--like during the wee hours.
The second technique goes like this:
You let her take a nap both in the morning and afternoon if she wants to, but push the morning nap by about 30 minutes. Then after 3 or 4 days, push it back some more by 15 to 30 minutes.
After several weeks, she’ll start napping around lunchtime or after lunch. Just make sure not to wake her up so it’s long enough to keep her going until bedtime.
3. Mayo Clinic
Experts at the Mayo Clinic also say that by the time your baby’s one year old or older, she starts to drop the morning nap. The duration is usually two to three hours.
Mayo Clinic also suggests moving the bedtime earlier by a half hour to help her transition smoothly. But it doesn’t end there.
You have to observe her sleep quality at night.
If she finds it hard to fall asleep at bedtime, she could be having too much nap time. Their body is still confused between days and nights, so you have to help her distinguish one from the other.
Here’s how you can do that:
Make sure nap times are no more than four hours a day.
Ensure there’s enough time for activities before bedtime.
Set the mood for nap time. Make the sleep area dark, quiet, and cool.
Be consistent with the schedule.
If she’s easily awakened during nap times, massage, pat, or breastfeed your baby until she goes back to sleep.
Basing on these three experts’ opinions, we can say that the answer to the question, “When do babies go to one nap?” is definitely 18 months. It can start as early as 12 months old, though, but should not be earlier than that.
For your schedule to be in sync with her nap time, you can help her develop a one nap schedule. In other words, sleep train her. The best time is around lunch.
It’s our bodies’ natural biological rhythm. Afternoons are the perfect time to take a break from the daily activities and recharge.
It’s also not so far from bedtime that she’ll lose energy before the day ends.
To develop the schedule, do the following:
Prepare her room for nap time.
Feed her before napping.
Gradually adjust her morning naps until she drops it altogether.
Be consistent with the schedule.