How to Tell if Baby Is Ready For One Nap

Sleepy child in the bed waking up or getting sleep.

Is Your Baby Ready to Drop to One Nap?

The plus side – This can be a nice transition because instead of two shorter naps, you get one long nap in the middle of the afternoon.  It makes planning your day easier and opens up your morning.  You can also get a lot done or relax during the one longer nap!

How do I know if my baby is ready?

If you notice your baby is doing great during the morning nap, but then fussing or playing for 30 plus minutes before doing down, that is a strong indication.

“He does that for a few days in a row, but then on day three, he’ll absolutely sack out for his afternoon nap,” I hear you saying, and that’s really common.

The rule I’d like to adhere to is this. If baby’s fighting the afternoon nap four or five times a week, it’s probably a good time to make the switch.  Developmental milestones can cause some disruptions which might make you think that baby’s ready when they are actually not, so make sure this is the pattern for a minimum of two weeks.

The reason I error on the side of caution here is because once you start with the process, it’s important not to back-step.  If you pull the nap, but then baby manages to fight off the change, it’s going to cause some confusion, and that will just complicate the situation.

When does this typically occur?

Anywhere from 12-16 months.

How do I make this change?

My approach is to nudge the morning nap time a half hour later every three days, up until nap time hits around 12:00/12:30 pm.  You will want to take your time with this because it is a tough transition for your little one.  The process could take 4-6 weeks to get fully implemented.  

Once your baby does start accepting the one nap, you may notice a little inconsistency in the length.  This is completely normal and to be expected while their bodies learn to consolidate the amount of daytime sleep they require into one afternoon nap.


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