Don't worry, this transition is the easiest to master and most babies navigate through it fairly quickly without too much fuss.
When Is My Baby Ready To Go From Three Day Naps To Two?
Is the last sleep of the day creeping later and later? Is your baby really hard to settle at night? Then it might be time to consider moving from three daytime naps to two.
Let’s explore if your baby is ready for this step.
When Does It Happen?
Anytime between 6 and 8 months, your baby will start to show signs of being ready to drop from three daytime naps down to two. Until about 6 months, your baby’s daytime sleep schedule should look something like this…
1st nap (morning) - short-ish, around 30-45 minutes. 2nd nap (across the middle of the day) - good consolidated sleep of at least 1.5 to 2 hours and 3rd nap (around 4pm - 4:30pm) - a power nap of 20-30 minutes to see them through till bedtime.
But around this time as your baby's awake time increases there will no longer be time to fit in the 3rd nap.
Signs Your Baby Is Ready To Drop Their Third Nap
The best sign is to judge how the third nap of the day is going. You will know they are ready to transition to two daytime naps if the last nap of the day starts to become troublesome - that means it is hard to settle your baby and they seem particularly resistant and under tired at that nap.
It is also time to explore the transition if the third nap is creeping later and later in the day. If your baby is not going down until 5pm, it may significantly impact their bedtime and push things out too late . If that last nap is too restorative then your baby will go down to sleep undertired, struggle to settle and battle sleep for long periods of time.
So if your baby is starting to niggle around that last nap of the day, they could be ready to drop down to two daytime naps.
If They Are Not Quite Ready
Some babies are not quite ready to drop the third nap at 6 months and may become overtired without it. However, letting them sleep for too long can have a flow on effect at bedtime. If the 3rd nap has become too tricky in the cot, try offering a quick power nap in either the pram, car seat or front pack.
A 15 minute nap during a well timed car ride, or walk in the pram can give them the snatch of sleep they need to carry them through till bedtime.
If They Are Ready
Around 6 months (this can vary) your baby's awake windows will naturally increase making it a good time to transition to two naps. That awake time is typically around 2 hours 45mins to 3 hours. If you naturally increase their awake time to fall within this timeframe, there may not be enough time in the day for that third nap.
So, babies that are between 6 and 7 months of age should be awake for around 2 hrs 45 mins before they go down for their first nap in the morning. Then, after they wake from their short morning nap should be awake for at least 3 hours before they go down for their next nap.
What If They Are Sleepy In The Afternoon?
If you have transitioned down to two naps and you find that your baby is still sleepy in the late afternoon, bring bedtime forward by half an hour for a short while to prevent them getting overtired at bedtime.
How Will The Transition Go?
Typically the process of transitioning from three daytime naps to two is reasonably easy. The transition phase should not last more than 5 to 7 days.
What parents do find when they make the transition is that those two naps become a lot easier and your baby should settle much quicker. The second nap will naturally lengthen and become more consolidated giving your baby the right amount of sleep to last till bedtime.
Hopefully, following these tips should help you to easily make the transition from three daytime naps to two. But if you do have any concerns at all, then please feel free to get in touch with me here at Serene Sleep. My 30 mins phone consultation has been proving hugely popular among parents and at just $59 you'd be crazy not to.