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!
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.
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).
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!
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!