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Nap Transitions- The When and How to Navigate.

Updated: Jun 13

Baby taking a nap

Are you feeling like you finally figured out your baby's schedule and nap routine, all for it to suddenly change? It can be confusing and frustrating! Luckily there are some key signs of readiness so you can know when to look for these signs! Keep reading to help decide if it's time for nap transition.

WHEN Do Nap Transitions Happen?

Wondering when to expect a transition? See the guide below for age ranges.

(Reminder, if your baby showed up a bit early, to use their gestation age!)

3-5 Months

4-3 Naps

6-9 Months

3-2 Naps

12-18 Months

2-1 Nap

3-4 Years Old

Drop the nap completely

SIGNS it's Time

If your child is at or close to the appropriate age to transitions and is showing some of these additional signs (consistently) its likely time drop the nap

  • Fighting a nap where they weren't previously

  • Sudden change in nap length (shorter)

  • Naps are making bedtime really late

  • Sudden early morning wakes

But HOW do we do this?

Babe is in the right age range, and showing signs. What now. Don't panic, read on and know this could take a bit of time to get sorted!

Stretching Wake Windows

In order to transition the amount of naps your baby is taking, they need to stretch their wake windows first. This is the time they spend awake before their next sleep! Start slow, 15-20 minutes longer than their usual time every few days. Even if they are ready to drop their nap, their bodies might show sleepy cues at their regular time. You need to keep them entertained and help them stay up a little bit longer. Some of my favourite ways?

  • Watch outside the window! Is the bus going by? Are their birds in the trees?

  • Break out a bowl of water on a towel on the floor or let them splash in the sink!

  • Favourite finger snacks? Yes please.

  • New toy or one they haven't played with in awhile, lets get that out

Sunlight AND darkness

Our bodies are really smart and can help us with when it's time to sleep and when it's time to be awake. Exposing your kiddo to sunlight can help keep them awake and alert. Conversely, when its time for sleep we want to make sure their environments are DARK. If you can see things in your child's room when the door is closed and lights are out, its not dark enough. Especially for middle of the day naps. Black out shades often aren't enough. Double up with a curtain and/or use some garbage bags before you find a more permanent solution.

Shifting Bedtime

Don't be worried about early bedtimes! When you are dropping a nap, your kiddos bedtime is likely going to need to be earlier. This is ok! I promise. (I'm talking 6:30, its OK!)


Are there going to be days where your little one just can't make it and takes an accidental nap on the way home from somewhere? Yep. These transitions are hard. But for the most part lets try to keep their schedules and naps really consistent for the first few weeks. These transitions can take 2-4 weeks to really get settled.

Nap transitions can be tough for everyone, but you'll get it sorted!

If sleep is feeling hard and you're trying to get on top of it. Let's Talk. I promise I can make this feel MUCH easier. Book a call HERE

XO Erin

Have you made it through all the previous nap transitions and now it's time to drop the last nap for good? Read about that HERE

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