Naps are one of those things that feel like as soon as you've fallen into a rhythm and got them down to a 'T', your little one decides it's time to switch it up. So what are the signs that is is time to reduce or drop a nap?
Babies often naturally drop or reduce their naps, and there can be a number of signs to look out for to help you determine when and if this is happening. While some nap disturbance every now an again is normal, if you're persistently getting these signs, they're often a good indication an adjustment would be helpful.
The first nap to be dropped is usually a babies third, late afternoon nap. This is usually shown through either resistance or bed time being pushed back much later. It's common to drop this nap around 6 - 9 months.
It is then common for the morning nap to be reduced or dropped next, around 10 - 15 months, followed by the final lunch time nap being reduced and dropped anywhere from age 2 onwards. Many toddlers still have naps up un til age 4, where as many are also happy to be nap free from 2.
It is important to stress the averages above, all babies sleep needs are different and you baby will drop or reduce naps at different times to their peers, and even when their own siblings did. Try not to compare or use generic sleep plans and they often don't present a structure that works for an individual, just an average at that age.
Below are some of the most common signs it is time to drop or reduce a nap:
One of the key indicators it's time to drop a nap is they're resisting or going down much later for a nap they previously went down easily for. The resistance can present in different ways, you may find they're just laying chatting or playing in their sleep space, they may get upset and cry or call for you or older toddlers may tell you they don't want to nap.
2. IMPACT ON LATER NAP OR BED TIME
If a second or third nap (where they're still having them) or bed time is being negatively impacted i.e. they're not falling asleep or refusing it, by a previous nap, this is a sign to either reduce or drop that nap to avoid the domino effect on their later sleeps.
3. EARLY WAKE UPS
Early wake ups can be a sign their day and night time sleep balance needs adjusting. If they're achieving a lot of day time sleep but waking very early, this could be a sign to push back and reduce, or drop their first nap. A first nap which is too early can often consolidate early wakes.
4. WAKING FROM NAP EARLY
You might find your little one is waking from their nap earlier than usual, and this could be a sign that they've had their fill to keep them going until the next nap or bed time.
I NEED HELP
Working out your baby's sleep needs can be daunting and it can also cause worry that you may disrupt them or make their sleep more unbalanced that it currently is.
This is where working with a professional can help you look at your little one's current schedule, the issues you're facing and where they are in their development and whats going on in their home life and help you to build a schedule that works for your individual.
If you would like more help with your child's sleep I can help create a tailor made plan for your family based on your individual needs. Explore my packages for something that suit you