Why Do Babies Fight Sleep At Nap Time? The 2-1 Nap Transition
Every toddler eventually transitions to one nap at a certain point. The questions “when will my baby drop his second nap” and “why do babies fight sleep at nap time?” are questions I get asked frequently by clients. Nap transitions are always tricky- and this one isn’t any different.
Here is my advice for ensuring this transition goes as smoothly as possible:
Hold onto two naps for as long as possible.
The older your child is, the easier this transition will be. Even if your baby appears to have adjusted well to a one nap schedule, a sleep debt can accumulate over time if the baby transitioned prematurely. This creates overtiredness, which leads to difficulty falling asleep, night-wakings and early rising.
On average, most babies are ready to drop down to one nap by 15-18 months of age.
Protect the afternoon nap.
By the time your baby falls into the 11-14 month age range, she might start refusing to nap in the afternoon. This doesn’t mean that she’s ready to drop down to one nap. I repeat- do not take away her afternoon nap! Instead, try capping her morning nap at one hour so that she’s tired enough to still nap well in the afternoon. If she still protests her second nap, try increasing the duration she’s awake between these naps to 3.5-4 hours.
Transition your baby to two naps when you see the signs that he is ready.
Here is a list of signs that your baby is ready to transition to one nap:
- He’s taking longer and longer to fall asleep for his morning nap, but then he’s waking from it quite early (or not falling asleep at all). Once he has fought his morning nap for a week straight, that’s a clear sign that he’s ready for this change.
- He doesn’t fall asleep until very late in the morning, which ends up pushing the afternoon nap too late into the day.
- Do not transition your baby to one nap until he is sleeping through the night. Focus on improving nighttime sleep before tackling this nap change.
Your baby is officially ready to transition to one nap- what do you do now? Start off by putting your baby down for a nap around 11am, which is later than her morning nap but earlier than when her nap should start. Shift the timing of this nap later every 1-2 days in 15 minute increments so that she’s napping at 12:30 or 1pm within 7-10 days of beginning this transition.
It will likely take your toddler a few weeks to adjust to napping once a day. To avoid having an overtired monster on your hands, put him to bed earlier than usual- he will be exhausted!
Hold onto naps!
Keep the PM nap
Start with an early bed time
Wondering why can’t I sleep? Here are some tips.
Need help with toddler sleep training?
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Eva is a certified Infant and Child Sleep Consultant through the International Maternity and Parenting Institute and is the founder of My Sleeping Baby. Eva’s main goal is to assist her clients establish healthy sleep habits for their children. After experiencing the debilitating effects of chronic sleep deprivation from her two children, Eva was inspired to help families overcome their sleep challenges. Eva truly empathizes with her clients’ sleep troubles and personally invests herself in their sleep journey. Eva is a proud wife and mother of two beautiful girls (who are now both great sleepers) and lives with her family in Toronto. She provides individual sleep consultations, either in-person or over the phone, and facilitates group seminars. In addition to completing her sleep consulting certification, Eva has her Bachelor of Arts from York University and her law degree from the University of Western Ontario.