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babywise dropping the last catnap

NOTE: We made the change to drop the last catnap at 6.5 months of age.

Well, we seem to be on the other side now. We’ve had three successful days with our new schedule (no catnap), and I am optimistic that she will continue to do very well with this adjustment.I can’t say for sure what happened to allow us to finally be successful at this transition, but I have a few ideas…Before I get into how we finally did this, here is some background on our previous schedule and why we finally decided to take the plunge and drop the catnap.

Dropping the Last Catnap

Our previous schedule (2 naps and 1 catnap)

babywise dropping the last catnap


7 nurse and solids
9 nap
11 nurse and solids
1 nap
230 nurse
430 catnap
5 solids
630 nurse
7 bed

As I explained in one of my recent posts, “Something’s Gotta Give“, we’ve actually been toying with the idea of dropping the catnap for quite some time. She always resisted the catnap, and it was getting harder and harder to put her down for it. Every time we tried to drop the nap and extend her schedule, she couldn’t handle the increased wake time, and her naps would suffer as a result- going from 2 hour naps to sometimes 30 minute naps. This was obviously not going to work.

This past week, Caroline refused the catnap all together and gave us no choice. Unfortunately, at the same time, she (as usual) wasn’t handling the wake time well and was getting overtired. Her naps, again, dropped to 30 minutes. Normally, at this point, I would have gone back to the old schedule and tried again later. That wasn’t an option this time around, however, since Caroline was boycotting the catnap.

So we plugged on.

There are several things that we did to help support her in this transition. Something clicked, and for 3 days we have now had successful naps and extended wake times, allowing us to eliminate the catnap.

Here is everything we did differently this time when dropping the catnap:

  1. Pushed through-

    Since going back to the old schedule wasn’t an option this time, we were forced to try the new schedule for a full week. In the past, I had tried it for a maximum of 3 days, and if it wasn’t working, I simply went back to the old schedule and tried again later. Perhaps she needed the extra few days of fighting through it to finally give in and let it work.

  2. Solid food times changed-

    We had gotten into a good routine of feeding solid foods right after we breastfed. The past 3 days we changed this due to the weather. It is so hot outside, that we needed to take our morning walk before we had our solid food breakfast. So I switched the two, which made her solid food breakfast roughly occurring 45 minutes later than normal. Perhaps this took the edge off of her hunger and allowed her to sleep longer into her 2 hour nap, after having been awake the extra half hour in the mornings due to the new schedule.

  3. Snack-

    The first successful day of our schedule, I had been planning on incorporating a snack before her second nap. Well, this mama was out at a friend’s house trying to keep Caroline distracted through her extended wake time, and I forgot. So as I got her into the car, I gave her a few bites of a Hawaiian roll that I had packed for her and some sips of water. Yesterday we had a late lunch, since Daddy got to join us, and today we plan on doing the same. Again, this might have been the extra fuel needed to allow her to sleep longer for her second nap.

  4. Orajel-

    I mentioned in my previous post that the only odd thing going on with Caroline right now, is that she was pulling at her ear and making throat clearing noises. She did not have an ear infection, and while her gums are not swollen, this might be a sign of teething. So, I decided to start putting Orajel on her throughout the day. I put it on when she wakes up and right before she naps. She has been pulling at her ear and clearing her throat less often, so perhaps this was also a factor. Mama finally got the hint!

  5. Distractions-

    I didn’t mess around the past few days with distractions. I usually take her out every day through our attempts to change the schedule, but we pulled out all the stops to distract her this go around- big time! We went over to a friend’s house the first successful day. We upped our daily walk from slightly less than a mile to two miles, so she’d be out looking around more in the mornings. We have gone out and stayed out for her entire second wake time, just to make sure she was preoccupied enough that she was not thinking about being tired.

    It worked. She was not complaining about being tired; she was distracted and having fun. Once she fully adjusts to the new wake times and the new schedule we won’t have to continue to this extent. I will still keep her walks long and we will still go on outings most days, because that’s what we do, and she just loves it! This might have been the extra push she needed, though.

Our new schedule (2 naps) with no catnap:

7 nurse
830 solids
930 nap
1130 nurse and solids
2 snack
230 nap
4 nurse
5 solids
630 nurse
7 bed

This was by far the hardest schedule change we’ve made. When we went from 4 naps to 3 naps, Caroline was actually still wanting the last nap, but she was also wanting extended wake times during the day. So it was much simpler…we extended wake times, pushed her schedule out and kept her distracted in the evenings, so she’d stay awake. This time around was the reverse- she didn’t want the last nap, and she didn’t want extended times. Those two things do not go together!

Luckily, she is so strong and caught on so well that she has made it to the other side. She seems to be doing extremely well on this new schedule. She goes to sleep for her naps within seconds, and she goes to bed at night without so much as a sound. She is well rested in the mornings and actually waking later. She used to wake at 615/630, and now she is waking much closer to 7. All she needed was to drop that catnap. We’ve known it for awhile…and have finally made the change. Such a big girl she is. She’ll keep 2 naps for many, many months to come!

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