The 3 to 2 Nap Transition

I’ve got a spooky topic request today! And no, it’s not Halloween, it’s the 3 to 2 nap transition! The name is pretty self-explanatory, but the 3 to 2 nap transition is when your baby’s wake times lengthen and their sleep needs decrease enough to drop their usual third nap of the day. Are you at a place where you’re wondering if your little is ready to drop their third nap? It can be difficult to gauge if your baby is ready or not to drop it, so I’m putting together some telltale signs to help you determine whether or not that is the case!

Your baby may be ready to drop their third nap if…

  • They are 6-9 months old.
  • The first two naps of the day are long and established, usually 1.5 to 2 hours long each!
  • Your baby is fighting the third nap no matter what you try, despite being tired (this last nap is usually the shortest, at only one sleep-cycle long.) 
  • The third nap is regularly causing bedtime to be pushed too late (later than 8:30pm.) OR
  • You feel like you are often considering skipping the third nap and opting for an early bedtime.
  • They are having very early morning wakings, which could be a sign that they are underwired and getting too much sleep during the daytime!

If this sounds like you right now, it is very likely that they are ready to transition to two naps a day. Until your baby’s wake-times lengthen some, this can make bedtime earlier, as early as 6:30pm. You read that right, 6:30! I know this makes some parents cringe, but don’t worry, it isn’t forever! That bedtime will get later as they approach a year. Especially around the six to seven month mark, your baby’s wake-times should be anywhere from 2.5-3 hours. Between two nice consolidated naps, their bedtime ideally winds up being around 7pm. If this isn’t the case for you, work on stretching their wake-times by 15 minutes every day until they’ve adjusted to the age-appropriate time. It may make for a fussy few days as they adjust, but stick with it and your schedule will even out and be better than ever! I hope this info helps you put an end to your sleep-scaries in time for Halloween! Does it sound like your baby is ready to drop their third nap? *Drop* your answer in the comments below!


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I’m Katelyn,
Award-winning pediatric sleep consultant, child development expert, and most importantly, wife and mom.
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