Ah naptime…the bane of my existence as a mom. Too much, too little, too early, too late…it’s a tricky negotiation that leaves me anxiety-ridden most of the time. Nothing has proved more complicated than transitioning Charlotte from two naps to one. So many of you have asked for Charlotte’s nap schedule, so here’s the breakdown!
Around 11 months, she started fighting her afternoon nap. I would put her down at 1pm, like normal, and it would take her 2 hours to fall asleep. Then, she’d nap for so long that I would have to wake her so as to not interfere with her night sleep (around 4pm). The next day, it’d be a crapshoot…she’d either skip her morning nap all together, or catnap. Then skip the afternoon nap, or take forever to fall asleep. I knew it wasn’t teething (no signs), so I started capping the morning nap. Charlotte usually sleept 2 hours in the morning and then 1.5 in the afternoon, so I started to shorten the morning nap so that I could lengthen the afternoon one. By 12 months, she was sleeping an hour in the morning and 1.5 in the afternoon. But still, the morning nap was on-again-off-again.
The recommendation is to keep trying for 2 naps a day until baby is 15 months, but my child gave me all the signs that she was ready to try to switch to 1. I asked friends, sleep consultants and the internet and most moms conceeded that they just followed their child’s lead. And if she was showing more than a few signs that she was rejecting the morning nap, to try giving it up and see what happened.
So eventually, I took a leap of faith and gave up the first nap. It was a rocky few days! Charlotte usually wakes at 6:30-7am and couldn’t be awake longer than 5 hours. Her nap would start at 11am and last about 3 hours, then I’d compensate with an early bedtime. I gradually pushed back naptime to 11:15, then 11:30, then 11:45, 12:00, etc., until we got to 12:30. I find she’ll nap longer when I put her down at 12:30, at 1PM she’s overtired. Who knew 30 mins can make all the difference?!
There are days where napping doesn’t go as planned. Charlotte is cutting 2 molars and 2 canines at the same time, so her napping (and night sleep) has been all over the place! When she wakes up at 5:30am, I will put her down for a nap at 9am, but I’ll cap it at an hour. And even then, I don’t do it every day because the extra nap affects her night sleep. She’ll wake up in the middle of the night and it’ll take hours for her to fall back asleep. Not good!
By 14 months, she’s doing one 2-3 hour nap, 5 days out of the week. This makes me so happy because she’s starting daycare at the end of August and her schedule mirrors the daycare’s. I’m hoping it’ll allow for an easier transition for all once she starts. I LOVE the 1-nap-a-day schedule! It gave us so much more freedom in our day, and guaranteed that she’d sleep for at least 2 hours. This was WAY better than staring endlessly at the baby monitor, praying that she’d just lie down and relax. And having big chunks of time to myself is also enormously helpful to my self-care. I can eat, nap, blog, do a load of laundry, even read, while she sleeps. It’s made the summer very enjoyable.
REAL TALK: When did your child transition to 1-nap-a-day? Was it easy or difficult to get them on a new schedule? Let me know in the comments below!