Transitioning from 2 Naps to 1 Nap

Updated on April 23, 2010
H.M. asks from Brookline, MA
12 answers

hi everyone--

i searched this topic throughout the site but am overwhelmed with all the answers, and i didn't find the exact same situation (no surprise!). i am a SAHM with my 13.5 month old daughter. she goes to bed around 6:30pm (her choice-- she gets a little grumpy if she stays up later) and wakes up anywhere from 6-6:30am. this is awesome. then she usually starts yawning and goes down for a nap super-willingly at 9am until 10:30am. her most typical routine has included an afternoon nap from 2-3:30pm.

a couple months ago, she stopped wanting to nap in the afternoon-- as long as she was resting in her crib for an hour, i was fine. but when she started to cry and yell, then i was at a loss. i talked to my postpartum doula, who has wonderful advice, and she suggested limiting her AM nap to no more than 1.5 hours and getting her out of the house immediately (so she knows the difference between downtime and playtime). then, in the afternoon, increase the wind-down period to include sitting in a darkened room reading and having some water, cuddling, etc., before being put down for the PM nap. and then when she wakes up, her babysitter takes her out for a walk immediately until dinner at 4:30. this has been working great until the last few days. now my daughter still goes down willingly for the AM nap but has had shorter PM naps (30-45 minutes) after being in her crib resting and talking to herself for 45 minutes. she is then her happy self until her bedtime.

when i read about 1 nap/day, i hear that it is usually the AM nap that disappears, but my daughter seems to like the AM nap more. question: do i continue this path of a morning nap? do i reduce the morning nap to an hour and see if that gets her more tired in the afternoon for a longer nap then? do i try keeping her up in the AM and putting her down for one nap around 1pm? is she too young for the transition? i'm so confused.

thanks for reading this long post!

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So What Happened?

thanks everyone! the best part of all your answers? the encouragement and support. i am constantly re-learning that what works best for me and my daughter is usually the way to go, and i just need to build up my confidence that mama and baby make a great team. so an update: now that we have returned to a regular schedule, my daughter is back on the 2 naps a day, and as long as she is happy with that, i am happy with it. i also brainstormed with my postpartum doula about the ultimate napping goal so i have a sense of what i am looking for (as a super-organized person, having a broad picture of what's to come and how to get there helps!). thanks again!

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answers from Boston on

I'd start reducing the morning nap. - by reducing the morning nap she also may be ready to go down in the afternoon earlier too....until she's used to 1 nap - once the morning nap is gone the afternoon nap might be a little later and longer.

my son is 20 mos since about 15 mos we've been down to 1 nap - he wakes around 7:30, naps 12-2 or 1-3, then he's in bed between 7:30 & 8. sometimes he does seem ready for a nap around 11 ish... but i stretch him (play /distract him) as long as i can - to get him to 12/12:30ish.

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answers from Chicago on

I can't remember when it happened (sad!!!), but when my son dropped his second nap, it was the afternoon one. Like your daughter, he also was more attached to the morning nap. What I did was slowly start pushing that morning nap later and later (maybe 15-30 minutes at a time with at least a week between changes) until it was at noon. That seemed like an "acceptable" time to me. He later just naturally pushed it back further due to activities, etc. He's now 27 months and sleeps from 1-4. I hope this helps!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

Mine also starting wanting only one nap a day at like a year old, I was amazed. I think you can do like a four hour window, like if she is up at 6, do a 10am nap, 6:30 a 10:30 nap. Maybe you can put her to bed at 6:45 for week and see if she wakes up slightly later in the morning. If all goes well, maybe try 7 or so. I only say this bc that schedule could get increasingly difficult if you ever want to take her on playdates or try and go to the gym or whatever. If you can get her to nap after lunch it would be awesome but at her age she will probably need a nap about 4 hours or so after she wakes up. If you can slowly push her bedtime back a little and get it to 7:30 or so then I think she could probably handle a nap after lunch like at noonish. Best wishes!!! You will definitely figure it out, just takes some tweeking sometimes:)



answers from Pocatello on

I think the bottom line is babies move from two naps to one. I would follow your child's lead. Let her have one good nap (without limiting the time), and then do you best to keep her awake and happy until bedtime.



answers from Indianapolis on

At 10.5 months, our daughter was transitioned from the infant room to the toddler room at day care. They needed the infant space, she was definitely the most developmentally advanced child, and it saved us $25/week. Win, win, win situation.

2 things had to happen - she had to be off a bottle (which they worked with her on) and had to be on 1 nap/day.

It was a little tough at first. The infant room basically had a nap-at-will policy. But, they have a consistent routine at school, and she's done beautifully. She naps ~2-3 hours from noon-2pm/3pm each day. She has since turned 2 and has transitioned to a different class, but she did really well.

Good luck. I think as long as you're consistent, you'll find after a few weeks, it will be a good adjustment.

We didn't do it as early with our son - he was closer to 18 months. Different kid, different sleep needs. At almost 4, he still takes ~2 hour nap/day at day care.



answers from Boston on

Unfortunately, every child is very different and there is no "right" answer for you here.

However, if you want to try to transition to 1 nap, your better bet is to try to move the AM nap up later ... thereby eventually making it somewhere in the middle of where the AM and the PM naps used to be.

Eventually, both of my children started taking naps right after lunch - around noon and made it to bedtime at 8:00 PM. But, like I said, every child is different. Some just require more sleep than others - and some require less of course!

You're going to have to use your best judgement here and see how she transitions herself. You can gently coax her into a better schedule for your convenience, but most of it will be done by her when she's ready.



answers from Boise on

My son's new daycare took care of the process for us, because he went from a place with 2 naps, to a class with only 1. He transitioned amazingly well, and it was pretty much cold turkey. He was 16 months at the time, but the classroom is really for those over 1, who are walking, so my next will transition earlier. They nap from 12/12:30 to about 2/2:30, although on weekends, my son, now almost 2 will sometimes nap a little later (depending on what we are doing), and stay down for up to 3 hours. Also, his bedtime is 6:30, and he wakes up 6-6:30 as well. It's not too early, and if she is already trying to get rid of one of the naps (my son was still enjoying both naps when he transitioned), she is probably telling you that she is ready.



answers from Tampa on

Based on everything I read about sleep and naps, most babies lose their morning nap and only nap once in the afternoon by around 12 months of age. This is presumably the natural sleep-wake pattern at that age. I would therefore try to either gradually reduce her morning nap time until she no longer naps in the morning, or try to keep her up in the morning and she will start going down for her afternoon nap earlier (around noon). Good luck!



answers from Boston on

I agree with those who say you have to just go with what works for your daughter. There's no rationale for moving her bedtime later to get her to sleep later as some posts responded - your question was specifically about naps and there's nothing wrong with your routine at all.

My little one was in limbo between one and two naps for a long time. SHe ended up on a routine that had reduced her afternoon nap and then her morning nap moved back a little at a time until it was closer to 11:30 or 12.

And now that she's 2.5 - she actually naps earlier - between 11 and 11:30 - if we wait until noon she's overtired and can't fall asleep.

Anyway, unless you have a compelling reason I would just let it evolve to what she's happy with. It sounds like you have a wonderful little girl and a great routine.

good luck!


answers from Barnstable on

There is no right answer, only going with what your daughter needs. Every child is different. My daughter dropped ALL NAPS by 2!!!! My son takes 1 nap for 1.5 hrs from 12 till 1:30.

Go with what she is doing as long as she is happy.




answers from Boston on

My son is 15 month old, and seems to be dropping the afternoon nap as well. I tend to follow my kids lead in naptime (he's my third). In my experience, the morning nap will drift later and end up in the early afternoon as they are able to stay up longer before needing that rest. Right now, he seems to need more than one nap, but not quite 2, which is awkward... it means that he gets grumpy around dinnertime and is going to bed slightly earlier and quite easily, but as I have 2 older children, having later afternoons be napfree is kind of convenient as I can more easily handle their afterschool schedules without worrying about the little guy's nap. Anyway, my advice is ignore what the "experts" say -- you're the expert on your daughter -- do what she needs. Watch and listen to her cues, and make sure she gets the naps she needs when she needs them. It will be a bit unpredictable during the transition time. As long as she's getting the rest she needs, it doesn't really matter whether she naps in the morning or the afternoon.



answers from Boston on

You might have it all figured out by now, but I thought I would add my 2 cents since my son, now 21mo, was similar.

He also wanted to give up his 2nd nap, so I continued to give him 'quiet' crib time for a while, some days he slept, most he didn't. I slowly moved up his am nap, 15 minutes or so at a time every few days or so, until he was at the 'tradition' 1-3 nap time after lunch.

I, too found everything seems to be individual with each family and you have to just trust your instincts and give your kid what they want/need, they seem to know better thatn us, don't they!!!

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