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Moving to one day nap

Posted by Karen Faulkner on
baby sleep, nap transition, moving to one day nap, toddler sleep, separation anxiety
This is something I get asked about a lot: How to move your baby on to their new day sleeps. When to give up the morning sleep and how to do it.

It usually starts to happen at around 12 months. Of course, some babies will need two day sleeps till 14-15 months and some toddlers give up all their day sleeps at 18 months - YIKES!

But most need their day sleeps. They're important for many reasons - processing and coping with the demands of their day, coping with huge developmental leaps and letting their bodies rest after strenuous physical workouts!

When are babies ready to drop that morning sleep?

Once you find it really hard to get them down for their morning sleep, it's a 20-30 minute battle and they're not even looking tired. Once this goes on for a week it's a sign. Sleep should happen in 10-15 minutes with most babies if you get their 'window' correct.

Another sign is they're really hard to get down at night because they've had too much day sleep and are not tired. I know mums (and dads) love those day sleeps. It's a time to get things done. But when it's ready to go its gotta go!

You've got a choice of either doing it cold turkey and keeping them up till their afternoon nap which will/may need to be brought forward. Yes it might mean a cranky little one in the short term but it's only 3 days to readjust.

Another option is to only give 40 mins in the morning (a sleep cycle) and wake them and give only 1.5 hours in the afternoon. Then move to one sleep after they've adjusted to only having 2 hours in the day total. It may take 3 days or so and then I'd take the morning sleep away.

Once they've merged give your toddler a 1.5-2 hour afternoon nap.

Daily flexible routine for a toddler 12 months plus

    • 6 am – Wake, change nappy and milk feed.

    • 7am – Breakfast. Followed by playtime and morning walk.

    • 11:30 to 12 midday – Lunch, main and dessert. Followed by short playtime

    • 1 - 3 pm – Afternoon sleep (1.5 to 2 hours)

    • 5pm – Evening meal, main and dessert. Bedtime routine and wind down – bath, story time and milk feed

  • 7pm – Bedtime and sleep till 6 am. There should be No Night Feeds, this is really important. Water can be offered to help provide you, the parent with an alternative.
And voila you're there :-)

If you have questions, why not get me to answer them during my next Facebook Live Q&A  at.

There's some more helpful reading on my blog below. The first link is a case study of where I worked with one mum to adjust daytime sleeps:

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