Friday, April 17, 2009

Consolidating two naps to one-- When to do it?

Ah sleep problems. They have returned. This time in the form of afternoon nap protest. For a week solid Owen refused to take his afternoon nap.

Talking in his crib for an hour, YES, most certainly.

Sleeping in the afternoon- Nope, not having it. Now this had happened in the past ONCE or TWICE but never 5-6 days in a row. I was irritated and so was our boy.

Sometimes he was taking 90 minutes to fall asleep in the afternoon and his usual 2PM nap was starting close to 3PM and not falling asleep until 4PM and then he'd sleep until 5:30PM and then obviously have a fit when we try to put him to bed even at 8PM. Of course he was still waking at 6:30AM either way so he wasn't getting enough sleep at night with the later bed time.

I'm thinking, "IT'S too early to go to one nap" Sleep Lady says 16-18 months and we all know how I worship her and her advice.

Upon reading her very helpful chapter in her book (prompted by her newsletter I get via email) about consolidating two naps to one... it seems this Mommy needed to pay attention to my own child's behaviors not the calendar.

Because Kim West (Sleep Lady) and I are such good buddies (ah HEM, she returns my emails) I asked her if I could publish her newsletter article on this topic here on Baby Business. She said, "yes," So here you go.

This is the Sleep Lady's official advice on the topic, which, of course, I'm following.

Consolidating from two naps to one can be a big physical and psychological transition, with almost all children passing through the "one nap is too little, two naps are too many" phase. All we can do is try to make the transition as smooth as possible, although even in the best case scenario, your child may suffer from crankiness and disruption for two or three weeks. You may need an earlier bedtime for a few weeks while you make this transition.

An extremely common error for parents is to try to consolidate naps prematurely. Many parents will let their twelve-month old take a two or three hour nap in the morning. The child will then refuse to sleep in the afternoon (due to the long morning nap), and have difficulty making it to bedtime without a melt down.

Toddlers usually are ready to drop the morning nap by fifteen -eighteen months. A little earlier or a little later is normal, but be sure to watch your child, not the calendar. Especially watch for changes in your child's morning nap patterns. It may take her longer to fall asleep, or she may wake up from the nap earlier. She may also sleep so long in the morning that she won't nap in the afternoon, meaning you'll have a very overtired toddler by bedtime. Don't mistake one abbreviated morning nap for the sign that your child's ready for change. When the pattern becomes consistent, the time is right to begin the transition.

Signs your child is ready to transition from two naps to one:
1.) your child is getting 11 hours of uninterrupted sleep at night (CHECK)
2.) your child is taking longer and longer to fall asleep for the morning nap (NO)
3.) your child takes an increasingly shorter morning nap or too long of a morning nap and refuses an afternoon nap. In the end, you feel stuck in the "one nap is not enough and two is too many" phase (CHECK CHECK)

When you are ready to begin the transition, push your child's morning nap a little later. Try delaying it until around 11:00am for two or three days. Then push it until 11:30am for a few days, then to noon, and so on. Your ultimate goal should be to have her asleep by 12:30pm or 1:00pm within 7-10 days.

Things to remember:
- Slowly push the morning nap later in 20 to 30 minute increments, until you reach 12:30 pm or 1:00 pm. Do this gradually (i.e. in small increments over 2-3 days) to avoid overtiredness or difficulty getting to sleep. This will be her only nap for the day, so try to resettle her back to sleep if the nap is too short.
- Bedtime will often need to be earlier during this transition - 7:00 - 7:30 pm.
- It is best NOT to transition to one nap until your child is sleeping through the night fairly consistently or for at least 3 weeks.
- Be open to an occasional two-nap day!

Remember, there is an art to sleeping! We must teach our children how to put themselves to sleep in order for them to recognize their own need for it later in life. It's tempting to cut out a nap in a baby's schedule for convenience, but remember, you both will pay the price later at bedtime! Take time to enjoy this small window of opportunity when you are offered two breaks in your busy day. It can be a great time to concentrate on yourself or have some special time with an older child! Sleep well! Kim West, Sleep Lady

So this has been working well for us thus far. Owen has slept 2hour naps from 10-12, Sunday and Monday, then Tuesday-Friday he went down more like 11AM 11:15AM-1:15-1:30. He makes it until bedtime but we've shifted instead of between 7-8PM, he is SLEEPING at 7PM. Bath time starting at 6:15PM

I actually went to the gym at 8-9:30AM and then to the grocery story after--

TWO ERRANDS in the morning. Back-to-Back!

Praise Jesus.

I felt like I got "so much done" before 10:30AM. It was fun. Ah it's the small things, like writing this blog on Friday night at 8:45 and thinking about closing my eyes and going to sleep....

You know what this means?

MOMMY IS HITTING THE GYM-- HARD!! (oh and I got a baby jogger for $60.00 on Craig's list... another post)

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Stroller Strides Flagstaff said...

lily went to 1 nap around 11 months- I wouldn't have known that was what she was going for if a stroller strides mom didn't clue me in... my sturdy sleeper became troublesome- in one day our 2 naps became a 12:30-3ish extravaganza.....

Cameron Clark | C+K Studio said...

Hi Lauren
I would probably try waking Ava up after 45 minutes of her morning nap then try to get her down 2.5-3 hours later for an afternoon nap. Roughly 9AM-9:45AM and then down again at 1PM at the latest (depends on when she wakes but about 3 hours post waking). Does she sleep through the night, because if so, you might be able to consolidate but 11 months is very early to drop down to 1 nap. Can she stay awake until noon and sleep 2-2.5 hours consistently? You want to avoid that long morning nap but no afternoon nap. They just can't make it to bedtime on the morning nap. Owen was a great day sleeper especially once we got the nap schedule established and his sleep biorhythms regulated themselves around 6-7 months. He didn't cry much going down for a nap ever after he was a bigger baby (6-7 months). I suggest reading "Good Night Sleep Tight" by Kim West, the Sleep Lady and if you continue having problems, schedule an appointment with her to do a consultation. I did one at 7 months and she really helped me solve my problem.

Anonymous said...

Hi. I came across your blog when I was searching for info on transitioning from 2 naps to one. My baby, Ava, is only 11 months old but she has started to take a long nap in the morning and fighting her afternoon nap. She did this all week last week. I have always had to let Ava cry because she never wanted to sleep and comforting her didn't help. After sleep training her at 9 months, she got much better with napping. She didn't cry when I put her down. Before 9 months she cried about 80 percent of the time before naps eventhough I did not take her out or go in there. She is very strong willed! She started crying again last week for her secong nap and just wouldn't nap. I really don't want to hear her cry anymore in her crib, which is why I am thinking of adjusting the naps. Has Owen cried a lot to fight naps? Anyway, I feel confused about whether or not I she start to push her morning nap back and consolidate the 2. How old was Owen when you did this? also, it sounds like Owen was just like Ava as a little baby. She cried all of the time, I know now it was from being overtired thanks to the weissbluth book. Those days were hard and I think they have scarred me to some degree. I am rambling, but I just wanted to tell you that I love your blog and your beautiful photographs and to ask for a little advice based on your experience. I look forward to hearing from you, if you have the time.



Carrie said...

I seem to be in the same predicament as your son Owen, except that his only nap right now is only 1 hour within the 13 hours he's awake. He wakes at 5 a.m., and I've been delaying the nap till 10 a.m. (which has been a CHALLENGE!) At 11 a.m. he's awake but crabby and his temperment only gets worse. Tomorrow he'll be 14 mos., sleeps about 11 hrs. through the night (from 6 p.m.-5 a.m.). If I rock him around 3 p.m., he'll take a 2nd nap. Do you think he's ready for a consolidated nap? Thanks! Carrie

Anonymous said...

Hello, how have you gone with your baby Carrie? I am now in the same predicament as you. When my 13.5 month old has the afternoon nap he doesn't go to bed til ~8.30pm! What did you do that you find works? Thanks, Jodie

Shannon said...

Hello, I'm in the same boat as Ava's mum. My daughter is 11.5 months old and has been taking two solid naps up until this week. All of sudden she refuses to take her afternoon. Her morning nap has always been long (2-3hrs) and she sleeps roughly ten hours at night. Should I transition to one nap (I think it's way too soon) or should I wake her from the morning nap hoping she'll take another in the afternoon. My only fear is the morning one will be short and she still won't do an afternoon one. Ahhh!

Cameron Clark | C+K Studio said...

a couple of ideas:

Is she sleeping through the night? What time is bedtime?
Bedtime at that age should be around 7PM-7:30 at the latest. She should be getting more like 11.25-12 hours at night for her age, which is maybe why she sleeps such a long nap in the AM.

1) is she learning to walk?? developmental milestones can really affect sleep. Around a year this is common.

2) limit that morning nap to 45 minutes then put her down around 1PM or no later than 4 hours after she woke up
ie: 9AM nap- 9:45AM

3) try a morning nap every other day and when you don't have the morning nap keep her up until 11:30 or if possible noon.

Again average age for dropping AM nap is 15-18 months.

Anonymous said...


My twins are just over 10 mo and pretesting their second nap in the afternoon. I would like to try going to one nap but I'm not sure when I'm supposed to feed them lunch? If I give them their bottle and then feed them lunch before their one nap then I feel like I am stuffing them. But if I wait until they wake up to give them the solids then I feel like it's too close to dinner time. Any suggestions?

Cameron Clark | baby business blog said...

Hi Anonymous w/ 10 month old twins,
I would say that 10 months is really too early to give up two naps. Average age is 15-18 months. If the first nap is 2 hours after they wake up, and no more than 1.5-2 hours, they should be ready for a second nap sometime around 1-2PM and hopefully sleep until 3-4PM... then ready for 7PM bedtime. I always put the kids down as soon as they were tired and if it was before they had "official" lunch, so be it. Don't worry if they ate before their second nap, they have tiny tummies and will be fine. You can feed them a snack when they get up or an early dinner at 4:30-5PM.

Anonymous said...

Hi! I ran across your bloc while desperately seeking some help in the sleep department. My LO is 18mo old today and I believe transitioning to 1 nap but is so irritable and cranky now that I am questioning my judgement. I started sleep training early with her and she has been an excellent sleeper...2- 2 hr naps a day and sleeping 12 hr at night. She started taking her morning nap on some days and wouldn't take her afternoon nap or would not fall asleep in the AM but sleep in the afternoon or would take 2 naps. Her temperament has change drastically with this. She has always gone to bed around 6 p and always wakes up around 630 a...since these changes she is now going to bed around 530 (we bumpedbit up a bit due to the irritability) and will still sleep until 630 but it's not as consolidated..I will hear her several times throughout the night and she doesn't wake as well rested on top of me trying to get her to take more than a 1 hr nap during the day ..which I feel is now affecting night sleep. She was taking a morning nap around 830-9 so I have tried to push it to 10a (her afternoon nap was around 1230) but she is taking timevto fall asleep and then only sleeping for 1.5hr..and is then cranky before we even get to our 5p bedtime. Gah! I need help.

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