Babies & Toddlers: When To Drop A Nap
by natalie fitzgerald
Ahhh the coveted NAPTIME. Whether it’s your time to do chores, schedule calls, pay bills, dream big, or scroll IG while watching Bravo, naptime can be a sacred part of both mama and baby’s day. So how many naps per day does baby need? And when is it time to drop a nap? It can depend on your baby’s age and development, but here are some signs that your baby might be trying to tell you they're ready to drop a nap:
- Baby Can Handle Longer Wake Periods
Newborns and young infants do best with short wake periods between naps, and they may take as many as 4-5 naps per day. As baby gets a little older, those wake periods will lengthen naturally, which will result in more time between feedings, and less naps.
Baby Takes A Long Time To Fall Asleep, Then Wakes Up Happy After A Short Nap
If your baby happily babbles to himself before falling asleep for awhile, then wakes up after a short 30-45min nap again happily babbling or playing in his crib, he might be ready for a little bit more awake time before going down.
Baby Refuses To Nap
Is your baby who once slept soundly for his nap now refusing to take one? This can be a good sign that he is ready for a shift in his nap schedule.
Age and Development
Sometimes you can watch for signs around certain ages. Most babies are ready for two long naps per day around 8-9 months, and one long nap per day sometime between 15-18 months. Most children drop their nap completely between 3-4 years old. This is a range, and every child is different, but it can be a good compass with which to use when you’re noticing more resistance to naps. If your baby doesn’t fall into these age ranges and you are still noticing signs, it could be a developmental leap and that your baby is just putting into practice his new skills during a time when he should be sleeping. Try stimulating your baby in different ways during his awake time so he is tired enough to sleep!
Natalie Fitzgerald is a Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant and Postpartum Doula. Natalie’s approach to sleep training is tailored to each family she works with, meeting them exactly where they are and developing a customized plan to help them reach their sleep goals, based on their unique baby’s needs and their parenting style. Natalie walks alongside families during the time they need the most support, encouraging parents and helping them find a rhythm that works best with their baby and lifestyle. Natalie is also a member of the Postpartum Health Alliance, a non-profit dedicated to raising awareness about Postpartum Mood and Anxiety Disorders. She lives in San Diego with her family, including her three little ones: Connor (6yrs), Kate (3.5yrs), and Makenna (1yr).