With my first child, I dreaded the drop down to one nap. My free time! All gone!
With my second child, I’ve been much more anxious for her to make the switch, since having only one nap to work around will free us up a lot to do morning outings (and since my older child isn’t napping in the morning, it’s not like it’s free time for me anyway).
However, I’m remembering how difficult it can be for a baby to make the switch from being a twice-a-day-napper to a once-a-day-napper. Now that I’m going through it a second time around, I’ve learned a few tricks and secrets about what to expect and how to handle it:
#1: Early Bedtime
I’ve been putting my baby down about 30 minutes earlier most nights to help her make up for a little sleep (plus, she’s exhausted by the end of the day!)
#2: Let her have two naps every third or fourth day
Letting her have two naps every couple of days helps hold the whole thing together. If I tried to give her two naps every day, she’d just sit in her crib and talk or scream for the second nap, but if it’s only every couple of days, she’s tired enough to happily accept them both.
#3: Let them snuggle up with their lovey and blanket
We are pretty strict about pacifiers being ONLY for sleeping in our house, but on days where she just is really struggling without that second nap, I let her lie down with her blanket and paci. She’ll snuggle on the floor for about 10 minutes, then bring them to me to put back in her crib.
#4: Move the second nap up (temporarily)
Because it’s almost impossible for her to make it from morning to 1:00 (when she generally had a second nap), I’ve moved the one nap up to about 11:30 or noon, instead. I know eventually I’ll be able to push it back, but for now this is helping us avoid a lot of tears.
#5: Expect a couple of car naps
This is my baby who almost NEVER sleeps in the car (we did a nine hour drive at Christmas, and she slept for 30 minutes). But now? She’ll conk out if we’re are in the car too long (by which I mean “more than 10 minutes”)
#6: Give it Time
It took her a while to figure out sleep when she was first born, so I don’t expect this transition to happen overnight either. Eventually, she’ll have it down!