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3 to 2 Nap Transition


How long does it take to transition from 3 naps to 2? #

Some little ones transition from three naps to two fairly quickly, while others can go back and forth between 2 and 3 naps for around 2-4 weeks. Much of this depends on how long your little one naps. 

How do you transition to 2 naps?#

1. Gradually lengthen wake windows#

As your baby transitions from 3 naps to 2, we want to gradually add a bit more awake time to each wake window. Aim for 10-15 minutes every few days. In order to do this, you may need to switch activities when you see your baby flashing sleepy cues. If you need some ideas for how to keep your baby awake just a little longer, check out these ideas for stretching wake windows.

2. Provide a wind-down routine.#

Just like a bedtime routine helps prepare a baby for a good night’s sleep, a predictable nap time routine sets your little one up for a restorative nap. A nap time routine doesn’t have to be complicated! We just want to allow a few minutes to decompress before a nap.

Here’s one example: remove uncomfortable clothing, change diaper, slip into a sleep sack, read a book, dim the lights, and into the crib awake. All of this sends cues to your little one’s brain that sleep is coming!

3. Adjust bedtime as needed.#

Ideally, we want bedtime to fall between 7:00-8:00 pm. At this age, this really is the sweet spot for bedtime. Know that when your baby is dropping a nap, a flexible bedtime can help prevent your baby from being overtired or undertired. 

On a 2-nap schedule, the wake window before bed is between 3-4 hours. (Remember, babies typically start at the lower end of this range when transitioning to two naps.) There may be days during this nap transition when your baby may struggle to make it to a bedtime later than 6:00-6:30 pm. That’s okay! An earlier bedtime is common during nap transitions and will help restore lost daytime sleep if a nap was shorter than expected. As your baby becomes more comfortable with expanded wake windows and adjusts to consistently taking two naps, bedtime will become more predictable.

4. Stay consistent.#

Consistency is so important as you help shift your baby’s sleep routine. For many babies, this transition can take 2-4 weeks. Be patient and keep moving forward. Give your little one (and yourself) lots of grace. You’ve got this!

If your little one is struggling with sleep or you’d like more guidance with all of your baby’s nap transitions, I have classes for you. The 5–24 Month Collection is a holistic plan that is fully-customizable to meet your family’s goals. I’ll give you a step-by-step plan for consolidated nights, solid naps, and all the bumps along the way while remaining emotionally connected through the whole process.


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