Swaddles and Baby Sleep

Swaddles. Swaddling has been around since ancient times (more specifically, the Paleolithic era), so it makes sense that questions surrounding swaddling are ones I receive frequently. Is a swaddle a sleep prop? How do you feel about swaddles? Simply put, I love swaddles. I think they are great for newborns and can help calm your baby, which is conducive to sleep.

I'm asked all of the time about my stance on swaddles. Swaddling is great for newborns, but weaning an older baby from the swaddle can be difficult.

Physiologically, swaddling helps combat your baby’s Moro or startle reflex by keeping flailing arms and legs secured. With her arms and legs secured, your baby is less likely to wake herself from a sleep by startling.

If you’re worried about your baby overheating, I suggest just keeping an eye on your little one. If your baby is becoming sweaty, either loosen your swaddle or switch to a lighter blanket for swaddling – cotton muslin is a light, breathable fabric that is great for swaddling.

While I’m all for swaddling newborns, I must point out that swaddles can become sleep props (for both you and your baby). Your baby gets used to being wrapped and associates it with sleep, so when she kicks out of her swaddle, or loosens the wrap, she’ll likely wake and need you to come re-wrap her.

As your baby grows, her relationship with the swaddle becomes more complex – she thinks she needs to be swaddled to sleep, but hates having her arms and legs trapped at the same time (contradictory, I know – wait until she reaches toddlerhood!). As your baby begins to experiment with her movement, it will become increasingly difficult to keep her swaddled.

I suggest transitioning away from a swaddle by the third month. To begin transitioning, start by swaddling from the waist down, leaving the arms free. Try a nap without a swaddle. Bedtime is often the easiest time to start transitioning from the swaddle because your little one is typically the most tired at this time of day. If you’re feeling up to the challenge, try going swaddle free at bedtime.

I know of a mom who was still swaddling her eight-month-old, sewing together four receiving blankets so that they would have a large enough blanket to swaddle their baby. Not only is it unsafe to swaddle a baby who is rolling on her own, but using a swaddle at this age is definitely a sleep prop. If you’re in this situation, you really want to lose the swaddle by going “cold turkey.”

I won’t sugarcoat it – it will be difficult for you to wean your baby from the swaddle when you’ve been using it for so long. The swaddle is now a sleep prop for your baby, and he is going to protest when you put him to bed without being wrapped tightly. But, both you and your baby will be better off once you’ve removed the swaddle for sleep.

If you absolutely can’t lose the swaddle overnight, I suggest using a transition object – the Zipadeezip. The Zipadeezip can help your little one transition from being tightly wrapped by being a safe, enclosed sleep garment. The Zipadeezip resembles a swaddle, but is quite a bit looser, allowing arm and leg movement (almost like a body sleeping bag, but not quite a sleep sack). I recommend using this if you want to ease your baby from the swaddle more slowly.

In a nutshell, I’m all for swaddling up to three months of age, after that I suggest removing the swaddle (for both safety and sleep association purposes). If you’ve tried weaning your little one from her swaddle but are still having difficulty, please give me a call and we can work out a strategy together.

8 Signs You’re Ready to Transition From Co-Sleeping

As a pediatric sleep consultant, I’m asked many of the same questions from tired parents everywhere (read: You’re not alone!). One of the most popular questions I’m asked pertains to co-sleeping. I’m often contacted by parents to help with transitionining their baby from co-sleeping to a crib. The short answer is yes, I can definitely help you with that!

Co-sleeping is a personal decision, and I work with families with a wide variety of sleeping arrangements. I’ve written a blog addressing concerns that some new or expecting parents have about co-sleeping, called Is Co-Sleeping Dangerous? Since I’m asked the question so often, I thought it would be fun to create a tongue-in-cheek list of 8 signs that you’re ready to transition from co-sleeping.

transition-from-cosleeping

You’re Now Going to Bed When Most People Eat Dinner

Your little one won’t sleep without the warm, snuggling embrace of mom, so you’re now on her schedule…which means you’re going to bed at 6pm and waking at 4am (because you can’t sleep 12 hours like she can). Oh, and you’re not a morning person, what’s a mom to do?

You Get Nothing Completed Throughout the Day (or Night)

Those early 3-4 naps a day times are rough on co-sleeping moms. You have time to put a load of laundry in, but no time to dry and fold it because naptimes call.

You’re Both a Human Pacifier AND An All Night Buffet

You’ve given up sleeping in a nighty because your little one has an all-access pass to your breasts. You’re exhausted from waking multiple times throughout the night from the tugging sensation of a nursling, who’s both suckling for comfort AND for nourishment…ALL NIGHT LONG.

You Find Strange Things in Your Bed

Bed-sharing parents share their sacred space to keep their little ones feeling secure and comfortable while they sleep. However, you may be ready to transition your preschooler when you begin finding strange things tucked underneath the pillow…like a wrench. True story.

You’re Being Kicked From Within AND Without

If you bed-share, you’re used to shuffling around the bed with your little one’s movements, removing stray little appendages as they work their way over your face and across your body throughout the night. But when you’re pregnant, and are beginning to get kicked by in-utero and by your bed-sharing little one, it may be time to transition to make room for baby.

You’re Shopping for a Larger Bed

Your bedroom is small, so a queen-sized bed is the largest you should really go, but you need more room to accommodate the family. You can invest in a king-size bed that will be a tight fit in your bedroom, or you can finally transition your toddler/preschooler to their own room.

Your Bedroom Looks Like a Summer Camp Cabin

Your little one has outgrown your bed, or you now have a baby sharing the bed with you, so you add a small mattress so your child can sleep on the floor. At this point your bedroom now resembles a sleepaway camp cabin or a squatter’s den, with both you and your partner tripping on your way to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

You’ve Developed Ninja-like Skills

In an effort to have a little alone time with your partner, you lay down with your baby to get her to sleep. Once her breathing has settled and she’s entered the world of dreams, you stealthily swap a pillow or plush toy for your body, maneuvering out of the bed and creeping out of the room like a ninja in the night.

All kidding aside, just as weaning a baby from bottle or breast can be difficult, I understand that it can often be challenging to transition a little one from co-sleeping to crib. If you’re struggling with the transition, give me a call so that I can guide you through the process.

Is My Baby Sleeping Too Much?

I know, I know, you never thought you’d be asking this question, especially after all of the sleepless nights you’ve endured. But now you’re noticing some changes in your little one’s sleep patterns, which is leading to you to wonder if, perhaps, your baby is sleeping too much.

Is my baby sleeping too much? The simple answer is that there is no limit on daytime sleep for babies, but there are signs to look for.

The simple answer is that there is no limit on daytime sleep for babies. Every baby has different sleep needs; some sleep for a solid three hours, others do well with a quick one-hour nap to recharge. If your baby is responding well with the length of daytime naps he takes (and not exhibiting signs of overtiredness) then the question of your baby sleeping too much shouldn’t be an issue; there should be no need to tweak his schedule.

On the flip side, if your little one is struggling with bedtime, it may be an indicator that she’s getting too much sleep during the day. Take a look at the last nap of your baby’s day. Has her last nap lengthened, pushing closer to bedtime? If so, you may want to begin gently waking her from that nap.

The best way to gently wake your little one is by creating noise outside his door; open the nursery door, make some noise in the hallway, turn on the light. While I normally wouldn’t advocate for waking a sleeping baby, if the last nap of his day is interfering with his bedtime, you may gently wake him (but be prepared – he may be grouchy for the next 10-30 minutes!).

I’ve not encountered too many babies who “slept too much,” but every so often I come across a baby who sleeps more than the recommended hours for her age. If you’re concerned your baby is sleeping too much, consult your pediatrician. In very rare cases, an underlying health issue is the culprit (ie. low iron). For the vast majority of babies, there is no such thing as too much sleep.

Always remember that sleep begets sleep. If your baby is napping well throughout the day, she is setting herself up for a restful night of healthy sleep. Many well meaning friends and family members may instruct you to pull daytime naps or keep her up during the day to make her tired for bedtime — please do not do this.

Keeping your baby up during the day, in an effort to ensure bedtime sleep, will only result in an overtired little one. Once your baby hits the point of overtiredness, it can be extremely difficult to get him calm enough to get himself to sleep. I’m sure you’ve experienced being so tired you couldn’t sleep; this is exactly what your baby is experiencing when he is overtired.

Let your baby nap throughout the day and try not to wake her. If you are concerned that your baby is sleeping too much, consult your pediatrician to rule out any underlying health issues.

If you’re having difficulty getting your baby to nap well throughout the day, I’m more than happy to work with you to offer suggestions.

Help Your Newborn Sleep Longer

You’ve welcomed your newborn into the world, brought her home and are now navigating the ins and outs of new parenthood. You begin to ponder the ‘wisdom’ from well-meaning friends and family; they’ll tell you that sleep is a thing of the past now that you have a newborn, and that the words newborn and sleep are not, in any way, connected. You find yourself wondering if sleep deprivation really is a right of passage into parenthood.

newborn-sleep-longer

 

I’m not here to tell you that you won’t have sleepless nights, but I can tell you that it’s never too early to begin laying the foundation for healthy sleep habits with your newborn. Understanding newborn sleep patterns, and ways you can work with your new baby to help her sleep for longer stretches of time, is the first step toward a lifetime of healthy sleep for both your child and yourself.

Establishing a simple bedtime routine early can yield a big payoff in the months to come: sleep! Helping your newborn develop sleep skills, and learn to sleep for longer periods of time, is the key to establishing healthy practices. I’m going to tell you a little secret: the first step towards establishing newborn sleep habits is to put your little one down awake. Yes, awake.

You can begin by putting your baby into her crib in a drowsy state, but the goal is to work towards putting your newborn to bed in an increasingly wakeful state. Keep working on this for a few weeks, each time putting her down more wakeful than the previous night. Once you are able to put your baby to bed wide-awake, she is in a position to get herself to sleep on her own, paving the way towards longer stretches of nighttime sleep.

What about night feeds, you ask? If your baby has slept for a 4-5 hour period without eating, she’s proven that she is capable of sleeping longer without a feed. Once your baby is able to go to sleep on her own and sleep for a longer stretch of time, hold her to that standard; you know she can do it, so give her the opportunity to put those sleep skills to use!

If you find your baby waking an hour and a half in, but she’s proven that she can sleep for four to five hours in the past, don’t rush in. Is she really hungry, or is she simply transitioning between sleep cycles? Your first instinct will be to rush into your newborn’s room at the first sounds of fussing, but make yourself pause; wait five minutes to see if she can get herself back to sleep.

This pause is crucial to the development of your baby’s sleep habits – if you don’t allow her to practice the skills you’ve been working on, she won’t have the opportunity to execute the techniques she’s learned.

You’ll know that your hard work is paying off when the initial nighttime stretch of sleep is longer than others throughout the course of the night. It’s typical for the first period of nighttime sleep to last between four and five hours, with shorter stretches for the remainder of the night. You’ll find that the first block of nighttime sleep lengthens over time, with shorter stretches towards the early morning hours. Don’t be alarmed, this is a great sign! This sleep pattern is the consolidation of nighttime sleep process. The initial, longer stretch of sleep is what you are working on developing and making longer.

Questions? Please don’t hesitate to call or email me with questions about newborn sleep habits.

7 Baby Sleep Tips

As a sleep consultant, I am constantly asked for baby sleep tips: what is the secret to getting your baby to sleep through the night? The reality is that there is not one secret, or one way, to get your baby to sleep through the night. Teaching your baby healthy sleep habits is the best foundation for getting your little one to sleep through the night. These baby sleep tips will help you set the foundation for healthy sleep habits and a good night’s rest!

7-BABY-SLEEP-TIPS

 

#1 WATCH THE WAKING HOURS

Sleep begets sleep, so ensuring that your baby or toddler is napping well during the day helps prevent overtiredness. Overtiredness is a sleep killer, making naps and nighttime sleep difficult for your little one. Let’s take a quick look at how long your child should be awake between naps throughout the day:

NEWBORNS (0-12 weeks): 45 minutes of awake time

3-5 MONTHS: 1 1/2 – 2 hours of awake time

6-8 MONTHS: 2-3 hours of awake time

9-12 MONTHS: 3-4 hours of awake time

13 MONTHS to 2 1/2 YEARS: 5-6 hours of awake time

The key to great naps is ensuring that your little on is put down before she gets overtired. Once you’ve mastered nap times, you’ll find that bedtime will be a smooth process.

#2 DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK

It’s no secret that humans, adults and children, sleep better in a dark environment. Make your child’s room as dark as possible, using blackout shades or curtains, to create a dark and cozy environment conducive to sleep. Be mindful of any ambient light you may have in the room, such as digital alarm clocks or night lights, as these items can possibly disrupt sleep.

#3 BE PREDICTABLE

Babies and toddlers thrive with the predictability of set routines and schedules. Establishing nap and bedtime routines aids greatly in creating healthy sleep habits. Keep your child’s bedtime routine predictable as well, lasting no longer than 30 minutes. Establishing these routines signals sleep for your little one. Here is an example of a typical bedtime routine:

  • Bath (5 minutes)
  • Put on pajamas (5 minutes)
  • Nurse or bottle-feed (10 minutes)
  • Read a book (10 minutes)

The keys to establishing your baby’s bedtime routine is ensuring that a.) it happens at the same time each night (or within a 30 minute window), and b.) the routine follows the same order each night (predictability, remember?). Remember that bedtime is a time of quiet, devoid of any stimulation, so be boring. If your little one throws a blanket or stuffed animal from their crib, or stands up, quietly replace the item and leave the room — no talking!

#4 FEED AFTER NAPS, NOT BEFORE

A vast majority of babies and toddlers have difficulty sleeping because they associate feeding with sleep. Unknowingly, you’ve created an association that makes your little one think that she needs to nurse or have a bottle before she can fall asleep. By feeding your little one after nap time, you can break this association.

NOTE: This tip pertains to naps only; your little one needs a full tummy at bedtime to prevent night wakings.

#5 SAME PLACE, SAME TIME

As I’ve stated, routine and predictability are the secrets to establishing healthy sleep habits for your baby or toddler. Place your child to bed in the same place each day for both nap and bedtimes. If your child is with a caregiver during the day, create a similar sleep environment to establish familiarity. Keep nap and bedtimes on a set schedule (or within the same 30 minute window) to establish a predictable routine.

#6 TRY THE 1, 2, 3 SYSTEM

Night wakings can be one of the most difficult obstacles to overcome with babies and sleep. When your baby begins to fuss, try to wait before running in to tend to her.

The first day, wait one minute before going into the nursery, two minutes the second day, three minutes the third day, and so on. The purpose of this is to allow your baby time to self-soothe back to sleep. Everyone wakes briefly at the end of each 45 minute sleep cycle, including babies, and the 1, 2, 3 system helps you teach your baby what you already know — how to transition between sleep cycles.

#7 TAKE FIVE

Once you’ve gone through your baby’s nap or bedtime routine, be mindful of the final five minutes of the routine. The last five minutes of your child’s sleep routine should be calm and quiet, setting the tone for sleep. This means no tickle fights and no television (ticklefights are perfect for when your little one wakes!).

These baby sleep tips are often all that is needed to get your child to sleep, and sleep well. If you find that you’re still struggling after implementing these tips, I’m available to give you guidance.

White Noise Machines, Babies, and Nurseries

You’ve just gotten your fussy baby down for a nap, and your neighbor decides to mow the lawn. Or, the mailman rings the bell for you to sign for a package…just as you had gotten your little to sleep. Better still are the early morning wake-ups, caused by the garbage truck or overzealous birds in the summertime. It could even be as benign as you putting dishes away in the evening, or peeking your head in to check on your baby before heading in for the night. If you have a baby with bionic hearing, or is an extremely light sleeper, read on.

white-noise-babies

 

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5 Ways Parents Sabotage Their Baby’s Sleep

Sleep-Sabotage

Your baby’s first year is typically marked by a blur of amazing milestones, and a healthy sleep routine is often the most difficult to master. Many parents are often surprised to find that they are often the cause behind their little one’s sleep difficulties. Today I’m going to share five ways parents unintentionally sabotage their little one’s restful sleep routine.

Don’t Be a Night Owl

With many parents working long hours, it can be tempting to keep little ones up late. Many parents will push back baby’s bedtime in order to spend a little more time with him/her, with some parents going so far as to wake their little one to fit in a snuggle. It can be tempting to push back bedtime, but you and your baby will be happier when you’re all well rested. Set an early bedtime and enforce it nightly.

Set a Routine…and stick to it

An integral part of your baby’s sleep patterns is teaching him/her when to sleep. By setting a sleep routine, your baby will know what to do and when to do it; this goes for naps and bedtime. Instead of hoping your baby will master the art of expecting the unexpected, set a sleep routine that leaves out the guesswork. Your routine can be as simple as setting bathtime for six o’clock each night, and running through a familiar BATH-BOTTLE/BREAST-BOOK-BED sequence. By six-thirty, your baby knows that it is time to sleep.

Help Your Baby To Peaceful Sleep
Help Your Baby To Peaceful Sleep

Don’t turn ON the lights!

Newborn and infant nights are marked with feedings and diaper changes, but those sleep interruptions don’t have to last an hour or more. The fewer stimuli you present during the night, the quicker your little one will fall back into a restful sleep.

No Midnight Dance Parties

It can be tempting to rock, bounce, walk, sway, and cajole your baby, in an effort to get him/her back to sleep in the middle of the night. Not only do some of these actions stimulate your baby into a more wakeful state, but you’re also sabotaging your little one’s ability to learn how to soothe him/herself back to sleep. Treat sleep like any other skill you practice with your baby during his/her first year; learning to sleep is a skill just as important as learning how to eat from a spoon, grasping objects, or even crawling. Save the dance parties for daylight hours.

Save the Helicopter for Flying

As tempting and instinctual as it is to rush to your infant’s crib at the sound of every mewl or whimper, try to give your little one time to soothe him/herself. Sleep is a skill, and babies need the time to learn how to effortlessly glide from one sleep cycle to the next. When parents rush in at the slightest peep, they are unintentionally disrupting a learning process [that adults take for granted]. When you hear your baby stir in the night, pause for a couple of minutes to allow your little one to soothe him/herself into the next sleep cycle.   As parents, we’re attuned to the needs of our children, and fostering healthy sleep habits is of the utmost importance. If your nights are disrupted, or bedtime is a battle, remember these five tips and get back on the road to restfulness.   Are you ‘0’ for ‘5’? Keep up the great work! Are you unintentionally sabotaging your little one’s sleep? A few adjustments will get you back on track.  Not sure where to start?  Contact me!   I want to hear from you!

Vacations for Kids – Healthy Sleep Tips While On The Road

Summer is in full swing and you know what that means…VACATION!  While the idea of traveling on your much anticipated holiday is very exciting, for some parents it can also be met with a bit of anxiety.  The reasoning might very well be because you have worked hard to get your little one on a great schedule and sleeping through the night.  Now that everyone’s sleep is back on track you probably don’t want to do anything that is going to cause you to undo your great work.  Below are some of my tips and suggestions to make your vacation one to remember while also creating a great little traveler.

Don’t Over-Schedule!

Vacations for Kids - Healthy Sleep Tips While On The Road
Vacations for Kids – Healthy Sleep Tips While On The Road

Many parents want to make the most of every moment of their vacation.  While seeing the sites and enjoying the attractions are why you planned your family’s vacation, keep on the agenda time every day (preferably at the same time) to allow for rest and relaxation.  A great time to pencil this in is early afternoon just after lunch.  It allows everyone to recharge their batteries for the remainder of the day while also allowing your little napper the sleep time they need.  And speaking of naps…

Limit The Number of Naps That Your Baby or Toddler is Taking in The Car

The occasional car nap is okay once in a while, but if you find your little one napping often in the car over the course of your vacation, you may run into difficulty getting them to take naps in their crib or bed once you have returned.

Avoid too late bedtimes

A slightly later bedtime during your vacation is okay, but if you consistently keep your little one awake well past their bedtime, you are setting the scene for the perfect toddler meltdown storm.  And we parents like to avoid that at all costs.

Keep to the same bedtime routine and rules while away on vacation

Although you might be miles away from home, continuing with the normal bedtime routine will help set the stage and expectation of sleep.  Babies and toddlers love to test boundaries, and if given an opportunity during the vacation, you could be looking at bedtime battles every evening and wakings during the night.  If night wakings do occur, respond as you would at home and guide your little one back to sleep independently.

Create Your Child’s Own Sleeping Space in Your Home Away From Home.

If they are small enough to use a portable crib for sleep, I suggest bringing along your child’s lovey, blanket or sleep sack, and your own crib sheets (and pack n play if possible).  Familiar sleep items and the familiar smell of your child’s sheets will help reinforce the sleep expectation while also guarding against the temptation to bring your baby or toddler into bed with you.  Speaking of bed sharing…

Don’t Bed Share with Your Little One if You Don’t Normally Do It at Home.

If your child spends a week in your bed while on vacation they will surely want to continue this new standard once they are home.  Besides the possible safety issues I can guarantee that your baby would much prefer sleeping with you than in their own crib.

If possible, Allow Your Child Time to Fall Asleep Alone in Your Hotel Room.

Now, I am not advocating leaving your child unattended.  But I am suggesting that once you put your little one down for the night you sit right outside your hotel room door or on your balcony (preferably with some prearranged wine and snack via room service) for at least a half hour to allow your sleep trained child to fall asleep without distraction.  Once they are asleep you can move back into the room and get ready for bed yourself.

Portable White Noise

Hotels and the area around some vacation houses can be rather noisy throughout the night.  If your little one normally listens to white noise while sleeping at home, I strongly suggest you continue use during your vacation.  I am a huge advocate of using white noise in a child’s room to reduce possible waking in the night due to environmental noise.  I know that Amazon.com has quite a few portable options to choose from that can fit right in your baby back.

Enjoy yourself and your family

Vacations are a great time to reconnect and refresh.  Enjoy the time you spend together and make the most of the experience while also keeping a watchful eye on your little one’s sleep needs.

Sweet Dreams!

How To Get Your Baby To Sleep: All About Naps During The First Two Years

How To Get Your Baby To Sleep
How To Get Your Baby To Sleep

When a baby is a newborn, they pretty much do the following: eat, have a brief period of being awake and sleep (and repeat…often).  With a baby that small, they spend much more time asleep than awake.

But this is very important because during the many naps a newborn takes their brain and body is doing some serious growing and maturing.  Newborns can easily have 4 or more naps during a 24 hour period (sleeping up to 18 hours a day!) and it is rare that they will sleep more than 2 – 3 hours at a time due to their tiny tummies and constant need for refueling (usually every 2 -4 hours depending on if they are breast or formula fed).

Mixing Up Day and Nights

A common problem that parents of a newborn face is the day/night mix up or confusion.  A great way to combat this is to make sure your little one gets plenty of early morning sunlight to help set the clock for the day and also to make sure the daytime naps don’t turn into a marathon sleep period.

As a newborn matures and grows, their night time sleep begins to organize a bit better to allow for longer stretches of sleep (usually around 6 weeks).  During the day, their naps will be many throughout the day and won’t start organizing into any set timing or schedule until around 3 months of age.

The nap pattern at 3 months of age usually consists of 3 or possibly 4 naps that vary in duration and are on their way to becoming routine…but they aren’t quite there yet.  Once the baby has settled into a fairly consistent 3 nap a day schedule (morning, early afternoon and late afternoon/early evening) they will keep this schedule up until between 5 and 7 months. Around this time their body will need to transition to 2 naps a day to preserve a healthy nap routine and their early bedtime.  Here are a few tips to help with making that transition to get your baby to sleep better and nap as well.

Signs That Your Infant Is Ready To Change Baby Nap times

The first thing you need to know is what are the signs that your baby is ready to make the transition

  • Nap length is decreasing.
  • Stamina (the ability to stay awake) is improving.
  • Baby exhibits long periods of crying or playing in their crib before finally falling asleep.

If your baby is demonstrating one or more of the above criteria for 2 or more weeks then it is time for the transition.  Again, a common age to make this transition is somewhere between 5 and 7 months.

Changing Nap Times

How to make the transition?

  • Naptimes need to be pushed back between 30 and 45 minutes to bridge the gap in daytime hours.
  • Making this change may instantly improve nap length, but it could also lead to a decreased nap length due to slight overtiredness.
  • It would also be a good idea to move bedtime up (earlier) by 30 minutes for about two weeks to help prevent the baby from becoming overtired.

Please note that it will take the body about 4 -6 weeks to fully adapt to this significant change in sleep patterns and for the schedule to normalize and get your baby to sleep better.

Reducing Nap Times

The next nap transition will take place most commonly just after baby’s first birthday.  The most common approximate age is 14 months.  Some babies transition earlier while others keep their two naps a day schedule until they are a year and a half.  I always loved making this transition with my two girls because it meant that we had more freedom to get out and run errands or have fun “field trips” in the morning.  I also was a huge fan of the transition because the length of the afternoon increased and allowed mommy to have some much needed down time.

But, moving from two naps a day to one can be a tricky one.  The transition involves extending your young toddler’s awake time to stretch to an appropriate nap time for the afternoon.  To be sure that your little one is ready to make the change to one nap there are a few things to look for.

What Are The Signs That Your Toddler Is Ready To Make The Transition To One Nap A Day?

  • Your little one might begin to sleep longer for the morning nap and an increasingly shorter nap in the afternoon.
  • Many toddlers who are ready to transition will often play in their cribs for the entire time they should be napping.  Or, they will fall asleep too late into the afternoon and then you will need to wake them to preserve their normal bedtime.
  • Some toddlers will scream and cry during the afternoon nap rather than play in their crib (definitely not fun).
  • Occasionally it will be the morning nap that becomes problematic and the toddler is stuck in a nap limbo where one day they will sleep in the AM and the next one they will not.

As previously stated, if your toddler is demonstrating one or more of the above criteria for 2 or more weeks then it is time for the transition.

How To Make The Transition?

  • The best strategy I have found is to slowly push back the timing of the morning nap over the course of several weeks until the timing of the morning nap is now occurring when the new afternoon nap should be.
  • To reduce afternoon overtiredness during this transition, I suggest giving your little one some quiet time up in their crib in the afternoon and allowing for a short nap while still preserving bedtime.

Please note that it will take the body about a month or so to fully adapt to this change.  Although it is challenging, it is better to make the switch from two to one nap instead of the waffling back and forth between the two. 

Making any change to any child’s sleep pattern or schedule is most likely going to cause a bit of disruption at first.  But if you follow the steps above and keep a patient and positive attitude, the disruption will be short lived and you will have a happy child who is once again napping well and engaging and energetic while awake.

Good Luck!  I wish you nothing but sweet dreams!