Down To One Nap… Or NOT

I don’t even remember the transition from three to two daily naps, but I am pretty sure I won’t forget the two-to-one nap phase. A little over two weeks ago, Céleste started fighting her afternoon nap. And I mean, REALLY fighting it. When she started refusing, I tried everything I could to make her sleep. 
On the first day, after trying for 45 minutes in her bed, I took her out on a road trip for 30 minutes. DID NOT WORK. On the second day, I tried to put her in bed and then in the baby carrier. DID NOT WORK. On the third day, I walked with her in the carrier for 45 minutes. DID NOT WORK. Finally, on the fourth day, I tried the stroller for 45 minutes, and that DID NOT WORK, either.
That’s when I decided to surrender; there would not be an afternoon nap anymore.For us, transitioning from two daily naps to one has been quite a change. Here are some things I wish I had known to make the shift easier. Keep in mind that every kid is different and for some, the morning nap is the one that disappears.
  • How did it start?

Céleste’s afternoon nap started to be a real struggle. I’d put her down at a usual time and she’d cry for 20 minutes. Then I’d have to go in and rub her back for a good five to 10 minutes. The same thing happened with her nanny, who was the one to suggest that maybe it was time for a transition.  She is the mother of two kids herself, so I trusted her judgement.

  • Moving the morning nap

Moving the morning nap is a necessity when bébé gives up his afternoon nap. If you don’t, you’re going to end up with a very cranky baby in the late afternoon. Doing it by 15 minutes increments over several weeks works best. The idea is to get to a 12:30 p.m. nap. This means that at some point you will also have to move lunch from after to before the nap. To prevent Céleste from waking up from hunger when she takes an 11a.m. nap, I usually give her a snack at 10 a.m.

  • An earlier bedtime (and consequently, an earlier wake-up time)

Bébé is learning to be awake for longer periods of time. Until the morning time has extended to 12:30 p.m., it’s gonna be hard for your little one to stay awake until his usual bedtime. I had to move Céleste’s bed time to one hour earlier.

  • A slow transition

It’s definitely not an overnight change. Two months ago, Céleste also tried to give up her afternoon nap. Turns out she was not ready back then so we had to go back to two naps. How did I know she wasn’t ready yet? Well, she was cranky all the time and started to have very agitated sleep with lots of wake-ups at night. Between June and August, her nap schedule has been pretty unpredictable and only two weeks ago she started to constantly skip the afternoon nap.

Expect a lot of back and forth between one and two daily naps, especially if bébé is sick and needs more sleep than usual. I know it can be frustrating to have a constantly changing schedule, but after that switch, bébé is going to keep taking one nap a day for few years!

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