Napping Needs

Your baby is older now and has probably settled into a more predictable routine of a couple of daytime naps and a long stretch of sleep at night. But, don’t get too comfortable—before you know it, that’s all going to change! 

Baby’s changing sleep needs

Around this age, some babies tend to start dropping their morning naps in favor of a single afternoon nap. The total amount of daytime sleep will gradually decrease from three or more hours (which used to be in two or three daily naps) to somewhere between two and three hours. At night, you can expect a stretch of 10 to 12 hours.

Knowing when it’s time

The best way to ease into the new sleeping schedule is by following your baby’s lead. Don’t try to force that morning nap in when it’s clearly playtime—wait until you see those telltale sleepy cues like fussiness or eye rubbing. Over time, you can nudge nap time and bedtime a little earlier or later until everyone has a schedule they can live with.

What if baby refuses to nap?

Sometimes young children will go through phases where they resist napping, even though they still need the sleep. In many cases, all you need to do is move bedtime a little earlier or later to help them adjust. Remember that if a baby is overtired, it can make it more difficult for them to fall asleep, so don’t assume that too much sleep at night is to blame.

What if bedtime is affected?

If your child has adjusted to one long nap in the late afternoon, it can make it difficult to get them back in bed at a reasonable time at night. If this is the case in your house, you may want to limit nap time to no more than three hours. Or, you can try to gradually move the nap to earlier in the afternoon.