TAKING CARA BABIES
5 Signs It’s Time to Drop a Nap
Cara Dumaplin, Founder
Oh mama—babies can be so tricky! As soon as you’ve settled into a comfortable, predictable routine, everything changes. It’s not your imagination! This near-constant changing is true for baby activities, baby skills, baby feeding — and, of course, baby naps.
So how do you know that your baby is ready to change routines and drop a nap?
Here are the 5 signs to look for:
(You’ll likely see a few of these when it’s time. If you’ve already decided it’s time, go check out “How to Drop a Nap in 8 Steps.”)
1) Your baby is at or near the appropriate age range:
4 naps → 3 naps: 4 to 5 months
3 naps → 2 naps: 6 to 7 months
2 naps → 1 nap: 13 to 17 months
2) The last nap of the day is interfering with bedtime.
Is your little one suddenly fighting bedtime? Perhaps this sounds familiar: After following your bedtime routine, your baby used to put himself to sleep within minutes, but now he either protests like crazy or just lies in his crib awake.
He may simply need to be awake longer before bedtime to fill his “tired tank.” Sure, shifting bedtime a bit later can help–for awhile. But eventually, he’ll need to drop that last nap to keep his bedtime between 7:00 and 8:00pm AND get the awake time his body requires to fall asleep easily.
3) Your baby–all of a sudden–just doesn’t seem tired at naptime and begins to have trouble falling asleep.
If your baby was able to fall asleep at naptime a week ago but now just won’t seem to drift off, this can be a sign that your little one needs more awake time prior to each nap. Dropping a nap helps create an age-appropriate daytime schedule and prevents a battle at naptime.
If you need help setting up a flexible routine appropriate for your baby, “Nap Schedules: 5 Months to 25 Months” will help you tremendously.
If falling asleep at naptime has always been a struggle, we can help! Check out our online class, “The ABC’s of Sleep.” It’s designed to help you get your little one (5-24 months) sleeping through the night, gradually wean night feedings, and conquer naps too.
4) Early morning wakings are becoming your norm.
Baby suddenly wide awake and ready to party at 5:00am when this previously wasn’t an issue? This can mean it’s time to drop a nap also.
Early morning wakings can be caused by too much daytime sleep. As your baby grows, her sleep requirements lessen. Too much daytime sleep CAN create shorter night sleep, simply because your baby’s sleep needs have already been met during the day.
Expert Tip: There are many causes of early morning wakings, so before you decide to drop a nap, check out this blog post about the “10 Culprits for Early Morning Wakings.”
5) Your baby begins to consistently have short naps–when longer naps were normal before.
Baby suddenly deciding naptime is over after a 30-45 minute snooze?
If your baby suddenly starts taking shorter naps, his nap schedule may be the culprit. It’s very possible that his “tired tank” just isn’t full, and he needs more awake time before he will be ready for a solid nap. Dropping a nap during the day can be the answer to helping your baby be tired enough to take long, restful naps.
Expert Tip: There are many factors that can cause short naps so check out this blog post on “10 Questions to Ask if Your Little One is Struggling with Short Naps” before you drop that nap.
So, you’ve decided it’s definitely time to drop a nap, but you’re not sure how to approach it?
Go visit the blog post How to Drop a Nap in 8 Steps. And remember, babies and their changing needs can be challenging, but you’ve got this mama!
I’m a mom of four, neonatal nurse, and wife of a pediatrician. My passion is teaching parents how to help their babies sleep with the science of a nurse and the heart of a mama so they can reclaim the joy of parenthood.