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Friday, March 11, 2016

BFBN: KNOWING WHEN AND HOW TO TRANSITION TO ONE NAP

Mama's Organized Chaos: A Babywise Blog



It is Babywise Friendly Blog Network week! You will be hearing from these lovely ladies this week, all on hot topics people often have questions about:


Here's my post on "Knowing When and How to Switch to One Nap per Day". Enjoy!



Babywise mamas often have lots of questions about naps. Naps are a frequent topic of discussion because they are essentially the first line of defense from a mamas standpoint! We notice when our little one's naps are disrupted, or start to become difficult to come by. After all, nap time is mama heaven! Nap changes are the telltale sign of everything!



There are a few things to keep in mind when observing your baby's napping behavior:
1. Short naps (around 30 minutes), are typically linked to your baby being overstimulated and/or overtired.
2. Difficulty falling asleep- this can be due to your baby being overtired or undertired! Mama will know best which is the case based on the age, wake time, and cues from baby (rubbing eyes, etc.). Ideal wake times can be found on the baby schedules page.
3. Short naps (around 45 minutes), are linked to pretty much everything else! This is a tough mystery to solve as it can be due to learning new skills, hunger, your baby might be uncomfortable, perhaps hasn't learned how to link sleep cycles yet, needs more wake time, etc. All sorts of things can be the cause of the dreaded 45 minute intruder. 

Transitioning to 1 Nap
When it comes to transitioning from two naps to one nap per day, the task can be a little daunting. Not only is it hard to part with one of those nap heavens (Mamas, I know you feel me on this!), it can also be difficult to know when your child needs to take this big step! If you read the Pre-Toddlerwise book (and most other sleep resources), they advise you to transition to one nap somewhere between 14 and 18 months of age. This is a HUGE range (and this is just the average), so you will not be able to switch to one nap based on age alone! It is always important to build your schedule around your specific child's needs. 

Here are some things to be on the lookout for with your current 2 nap schedule:
- Naps are becoming shorter and shorter
- Your child is no longer sleeping during one nap (perhaps quietly playing or resting)
- Your child is starting to refuse a nap all together (crying and fussing)

These are all signs indicating that you may be on your way to one nap in the short future. 
You will want to hold on to two naps as long as possible, however, so that your child is well rested. Transitioning too early, can result in a very cranky toddler! 

Personal Experience
Our transition has actually taken place over several months. When Caroline was 10 months old, she was absolutely refusing to take two naps. When I gave in and allowed her to take only 1 nap a day, her schedule was beautiful and she was happy and content- but only for so long! We quickly figured out that alternating between 1 and 2 naps, was the ideal scenario for her. She soon outgrew this, and by her 1st birthday, she was back to needing 2 naps per day on a regular basis. With all the new skills she was learning, she was simply exhausted! She needed the very occasional 1 nap day thrown in, but was on a consistent 2 nap schedule until now (15 months).

For us, the indicator was an extremely short 1st nap, and then refusal of her 2nd nap (due to being overtired). Caroline started essentially taking a short catnap in the morning. She would then also skip the second nap some days resulting in a very frustrating evening. She was overtired by the time it came to her second nap time and we were all having a hard time. I had attempted to do 1 nap days again (with a nap starting at 12:30 pm), and her naps were simply not long enough to sustain this schedule. 

I realized that on Friday's (when she goes to her Mother's day out program), she doesn't take a nap until 1:30 or 2 pm. Lately, that nap had been amazing! So, we decided to move forward with the one nap schedule, but that one nap starts at 1:30/2 pm. She stays in her crib until 4 pm! She typically sleeps the entire time, but if she doesn't, we still keep her in the crib for restful time and she doesn't complain. 

Consider TOTAL sleep
Something to keep in mind when making the transition, is the total sleep that your child is getting. At the 14-18 month age range, children should get a total of 12-14 hours of sleep. You aren't going to get much more out of them! So, if your child sleeps 12 hours at night, it is quite possible they may only take a 1 hour nap. They may also be the child that naps for 2 hours, or the one that only needs 12 hours total! It all depends on the individual! 

A typical one nap schedule in a Babywise book looks like this:
7 am wake
12:30/1 pm nap
3/4 pm wake
7/7:30 pm bed

As mentioned above, that schedule wasn't working the best for us. Caroline was taking about a 1 hr nap and having a hard time making it to bedtime. When that happens, simply make bedtime earlier! We started doing a 6:30 pm bed time to help her out!

This is the schedule that is proving to work the best for us:
7 am wake
2 pm nap
4 pm wake
7 pm bed

She is starting to wake a bit early (6:30 am), so we may push bedtime to 7:30 pm and see how that works. The reality is that it is all a balance, and very individual. Start with a goal in mind, but watch your child and make tweaks to best fit the schedule to them and your family!

Making the transition
When first making the transition, expect that your child will need a lot of distractions around the time they used to take their first nap. We have been spending a lot of time out and about keeping her busy. We are now over a week into this, and Caroline has made the transition beautifully. She still gets a little cranky around 10:30 am when she used to nap, but that is getting less and less frequent. And, if we power through, the rest of the morning is great and she takes an awesome nap later in the day! 

If you find that you can't get through the morning easily, try allowing your child to take a very short catnap. This will help get them to the desired nap time without getting overtired and being too cranky! And, consider alternating 1 and 2 nap days if you notice that your child becomes tired after a few days of doing only 1 nap. Try to make the transition as smooth as possible for yourself and your little one! And, congratulations on making it to 1 nap! Bittersweet, but you now officially have a toddler on your hands.


Other Helpful Resources:
Frequently Asked Baby Questions Summarized


It is Babywise Friendly Blog Network week! You will be hearing from these lovely ladies this week, all on hot topics people often have questions about:


Hey guys! I'm Katrina (aka Mama)! I love country music, snuggling on the couch with our dog, and playing with our daughter. I am a fibro warrior, a former chemistry teacher, I love watching college football (go aggies!), and I love being a SAHM. Connect with me on Facebook for more adventures!

3 comments:

  1. Thank you for this post! My baby is almost 13 months and has been showing signs of transitioning to one nap for the last four weeks but I've been uncertain if what to do because BW and other baby books say kids should not drop to one nap until 14 or 15 months at the earliest! I'm glad to know that your daughter began this earlier and it's so helpful to know how you are working to help her through the transition.

    On a side note, you mentioned that she has been waking earlier than your desired wake time for her. This has been the greatest source of confusion and frustration for me with Babywise because the book and other BW mom blogs seem to insist that it is possible to get baby to sleep until a certain time in the morning. But my son has been waking between 6 and 7 am his ENTIRE LIFE! No matter what I do with all the other BW techniques, this is when he wakes. I've felt like I can't call myself a "Babywise mom" because I can't seem to nail down a consistent desired wake time! Do you have any thoughts on this?

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    1. My daughter goes through phases. If the early waking lasts longer than 1/1.5 weeks, I make an adjustment to her schedule and that usually fixes it. I also do not go in before 7am regardless. Sometimes it's just a slight adjustment at bedtime, others it's a nap adjustment. If you'd like me to take a look at your schedule, let me know! And please find mamas organized chaos on fb! We have a great discussion group that can help as well!!

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  2. Thanks for this post. I have almost 15m old twins. With my two older children we went to one nap a day a lot earlier. The twins are still going strong with two naps. I like how you pointed out that for a while, alternating between one nap and two naps worked best. Same here - some mornings you just need to be out of the house the whole time.

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