Baby naps and I have such a love/hate relationship. When the baby naps I’m more than happy to take a break, but sometimes I question whether the process is worth the reward. My sweet little devil is normally a home-run-hitting-rockstar night sleeper, I’m talking 13 hours or longer, but when it comes to daytime naps she has always been difficult to settle. I’ve found the most difficult aspect of dropping a nap to be the lack of scheduling, I feel like a child trying to preform a magic trick, “When will this child nap, NOW? Ok, maybe NOW? TA-DA, now?” The process can be difficult and a bit frustrating until the dust settles, but I’ve included a few tips on how to drop a nap based on my own experiences.
First and foremost, is your baby ready to drop a nap? I first noticed my daughter was ready to drop down to one nap when she spent her designated morning nap playing in her crib. There would be some days when she would eventually fall asleep after 45 minutes, but other days she remained wide awake. I finally started to skip the morning nap when the afternoon nap began to suffer (aka she wouldn’t take one) and she just wasn’t getting much sleep at all.
If you’re still not sure…try pushing the naptime back in 15 minute increments. If naptime is normally 9am, push it back slowly (9:15, 9:30, etc.) to see if your little one can handle being awake. If you are still in a multiple nap phase, you can only push so far until there isn’t enough time in between naps. Experiment slowly (15 minute per week) until you have a clear answer!
If you find yourself in the midst of a transition, I suggest sticking to a schedule. After I made the decision to skip the first nap, I set a goal naptime of 12:30pm. Unless my daughter was showing serious signs of sleepiness, I kept her distracted until that time and she was generally tired enough to sleep for a few hours. Regardless of which nap you are dropping, repetition is key for habit forming schedule changes.
Dropping a nap requires good old-fashioned trial and error. After two months of taking only one nap a day, I still experience moments of napping uncertainty. If the baby had a rough night sleep, she might want to take an earlier nap the next day. I have learned to go with the flow as much as possible and recognize the schedule I have implemented is meant to be broken and put back together every once and a while; little ones change so frequently that it’s impossible to stick to the same schedule forever!
Did you experience difficulties transitioning and dropping naps?
Below are tips on how to drop a nap