Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Dropping the 3rd Nap (evening)

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I am currently dropping the 3rd nap with Kaitlyn. She is doing it differently than Brayden did, so I wanted to share. I have done a nap dropping post (http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/01/dropping-naps.html), but there are some variations from that post. She is preferring things differently. Maybe I am the one who is different. Either way, things are different.

As I said in the nap dropping post, Kaitlyn's need for the evening nap is highly dependent on how well her naps went in the day. Sleeping the whole time is no guarantee she is well-rested. Quality of sleep and quantity are not synonymous. Also, I have no doubt she is just more tired some days than others. I sure am.

Kaitlyn's evening naps are still as long as I let them be. I usually wake her up after 1.5-2 hours. But some nights lately she has started to have a little party up in her crib after going to bed. She is happy, but loud, and Brayden's room is right next to hers. Plus, she needs the consecutive sleep. So I have started by keeping her up for as long as she is happy. If she makes it until within 30 minutes of the normal eating time, I feed her, do the night time routine (http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/01/sleep-routine.html), then put her to bed for the night. Those nights she has a longer night, and that is okay. Most nights she makes it until normal eating time. If she can't make it that close, I put her down for a short nap. I have to wake her, but she got a rest and we didn't have a cranky baby on our hands. And I must add to the benefit of Kaitlyn, cranky for her is pretty much normal disposition for an average baby. I know this, I had Brayden who had his fussy times. Kaitlyn is one of those babies who is just happy all the time. I'm lucky, I know it, and I am grateful for it.

So our 3rd nap dropping has been gradual rather than cutting it off completely. As time has gone on, she has taken it less often. I have enjoyed this method so far. Perhaps I will apply it for the morning nap. Time will tell.

Reader Questions:
  • mommytoisabella said...
    I thought I would carry over our conversation from the night time sleep issues to this area since it now has to do with dropping the third nap. Yesterday for her second nap she went down at 12:50 (she normally goes down at 12:40 but I got home a few minutes late). She didn't fall asleep till 1:30. I debated on letting her sleep past 2:30 or not. If she sleeps past 2:30 she has a hard time going down for her third nap. Then we have an earlier bed time and she wakes earlier. I did wake her and she did have a hard time going down for the third nap, I put her down at 5 and she did not fall asleep till 6. My question is if I do let her sleep past 2:30 till 3:00 or 3:30 is 4 or 4 1/2 hours too long of wake time? I would have to put her to bed at 7 or 7:30 which was her normal bed time when she was napping till 2 for her second nap and taking the third nap. Now that I have extended her bed time till 8 I don't think she will be able to handle being up from 2:30 till 8. Or if I do drop that 3rd nap and she goes to sleep earlier will I find her night sleep is better? I am so sorry for all the questions, but all of this is so new to me.
    May 10, 2008 12:34 AM
    Plowmanators said...
    You are going to be in a period of transition for a while as you get this nap dropped. Be sure to read: Dropping a Nap: A Weaning Process: http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/02/dropping-nap-weaning-process.htmlThere are several things you might have to do. One would be to still have the third nap but shorten it if she usually takes a full nap. So you take it down to 45 minutes or 20 minutes. While we were dropping the third nap, there were some days Kaitlyn really needed it, but she was supposed to eat dinner in 30 minutes. So I put her down for a short power nap. I always had to wake her for dinner, but at least she was happier.Her night sleep should get better by dropping that third nap if that is the reason she is waking. Be sure to see the post I just did today for more on that. Another option for dropping a third nap is to extend the second nap, so you can definitely do that. Once they get used to being awake longer, bedtimes and naptimes can be more normal, though she might need some of that 3rd nap shifted to somewhere else in her schedule.
    May 10, 2008 2:45 PM
    mommytoisabella said...
    Yesterday was a rare occasion on waking her from the second nap. For the most part she wakes on her own anywhere from an 1 1/2 to 2 hours from the time I put her down.
    May 10, 2008 3:00 PM
    mommytoisabella said...
    I just thought of something which could be an issue as well. My husband and I are missionaries in Eastern Europe. We had a play yard that was donated to us that we have been using as a crib. Tomorrow we are getting a real crib. Could it be that she is just not sleeping good in the play yard? Also her third nap has been a 30 to 45 minute nap for awhile. Sometimes I am just at a loss on what to do. This is why you have been such a blessing. In the mornings I moved her nap time way back and got good naps in the am. She was going down at 9 when she was 7 months then I moved it back to 8:30, then I extended it to 8:40. Recently she has been back to 45 minute naps in the am. I think putting her down earlier then 8:40 would be too early. I am wondering if I need to extend her wake time. That has back fired before. I know if I can extend her wake time then it will be a lot easier to drop the third nap. However I do not want to go back to having terrible naps in the day like she experienced at 7 months.
    May 10, 2008 3:16 PM
    Plowmanators said...
    I definitely think that could contribute to the lack of sleeping well. My daughter takes 1-2 naps a day in her play yard. For one nap, she sleeps fine. The days she has two naps in it, the second nap usually isn't as good as it would be if in her crib. You can always try a longer waketime and see what happens. Remember that it is okay to experiment.
    May 12, 2008 1:13 PM
    mommytoisabella said...
    I will be looking forward to her sleeping in her crib. We are in the middle of a move right now and it is at our new place. Hopefully in about a week and a half or so she will be able to sleep in it. It is good to know that baby's don't sleep as well in the play yards. This morning she woke before 7 and I decided to go back to the advice you wrote in the "nap fix" post and I got a 1 1/2 nap out of her. In regards to lengthing her awake time I have decided to let her do it on her own. I think it is the best thing for her. I have found it to be a bit strange, she is 9 months and is still going down for her am nap at 8:30. I guess I am going to go with the mornings she wakes before 7 I need to go with an early nap time. When she wakes later, putting her down later. Thanks again for your help!
    May 12, 2008 3:12 PM
    Plowmanators said...
    yeah, the play yard is not the greatest place for long-term sleeping. It sounds like you have a good plan. Good luck with your move!
    May 13, 2008 3:49 PM


Kim said...

My almost 9 month old is still taking 3 naps a day, but lately, they've all been shorter than usual. I'm not sure if this is because he's learning to crawl and pull up, so he's excited and can't get back to sleep once he wakes up, or if he's ready to switch to 2 naps. How can you tell if they're ready for 2 naps? On days when I feel adventurous to try, his first nap will only wind up being an hour and then I feel like I shouldn't keep him awake until the afternoon because thats such a long stretch. What do you think? Thanks!

Plowmanators said...

It can be hard to tell. It is hard when you have more than one possible contributor to a problem. My guess is that it is because of the new skills. See:

Nap Disruptions: Rolling, Standing, Crawling, etc: http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/01/nap-disruptions-rolling-standing.html

If it was lack of needing 3, then likely the third or night sleep would be disrupted, but not the first two.

Kim said...

Thanks for your feedback. I've been trying to stretch his wake-time little by little to eventually get him to 2 naps. But the problem I'm running into now is that when I've extended his wake-time, then his nap overlaps when he would normally be eating. So he wakes up early, and I'm wondering if its because he's hungry. Should I give him a snack before he goes down for his first nap? I'm not sure how long a 9 month old should go between feedings. (His first feeding is usually 6:30-7 AM and then I've been nursing him mid-morning, about 10 AM) Or should I hold off on that mid-morning feeding until its closer to lunchtime?
Thanks again for all your help!

Plowmanators said...

Most 9 month olds will go about 4 hours between feedings. I wouldn't do a snack since he is eating again at 10 AM. Forcing an extension of waketime will usually backfire. See:

Waketime: Length, Extending, and Calculating: http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/02/waketime-length-extending-and.html

Optimal Waketime Lengths : http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/07/optimal-waketime-lengths.html

Extending Waketime : http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/06/extending-waketime.html

LEM said...

My son is now 4 months old and we have switched to a 4 hour schedule. He is doing great. He has 1.45 hours of wake time and sleeps for 2.15 hours for h is first 2 naps. His last nap only lasts about 30 minutes. My question is about his last nap. I know BW says that they drop it around 6 months but ever since we switched to the 4 hour schedule and he's been napping longer for the first two naps he doesn't quite sleep the full 11 hours at night. He seems to be waking up 30 minutes early consistently. Does this mean I he is sleeping too much during the day? Should I drop the 3rd nap or is he too young?

My other question is completely unrelated to naps. When it comes to feeding, my son is easily distracted. If there is a lot of commotion going on in the room he's rather play than eat. He'll end up taking several ounces less than usual. What happens next is that he's hungrier earlier. In this situation would you wait to feed him at his scheduled time or would you feed him a small amount to hold him over since you know he didn't eat enough the last time?

Mockabee News said...

Third nap dropping question! I have a 7 month old who seems to be ready to drop his nap.

He is so much different than my firstborn who loved his sleep. His wake times are from 2.25 hrs to 3 hrs, depending on what time of day. His evening nap is now down to 15 mins so that I can fit it all in.

My question is, with two naps, I am really struggling with the fact that he and my oldest son wouldn't nap together.

Did you alter Brayden's schedule so that he and Kaitlyn would nap together (when she was on 2 naps)?

My oldest naps from typically 1-3 and now, with my baby dropping the 3rd nap, he would ideally nap from 2-4:30. I would love for my oldest to nap from 2-4, with some video time following.

Is that too much to ask for? I still want to keep the oldest's bed time at 8pm and the baby's at 7pm.

Thanks, Jodi

Niki said...

My son will be 9 months old this week. He is on the verge of dropping his catnap in the evening, but I'm not sure if I should just do away with it. He takes about 1.5 hr naps in the morning and early afternoon. If I'm lucky, they are 2 hrs. If they were both 2 hrs, the catnap is not needed. I hate the fact that this catnap is on-again, off-again depending on his earlier naps. If they are 1.5 hrs (which the book says is long enough) then he wakes up about 2:00 from his second nap. That seems like a long time to be awake since his bedtime is 7:00. And those evenings are LONG, but he goes down hard for his catnap (20-30 min of crying) and wakes up cranky. I just want to get rid of them no matter how his other naps go.

I guess my questions is - is 5 hrs too long for him to be awake in the evening or is that sometimes the way it is with babies this age?

I'm also thinking that after a week or so of taking them away, he might take longer naps or sleep in that extra 1/2 hr in the morning. One can only hope right!

Thanks for this site!!

Kelly said...

Could you do a poll on when the 3rd nap was dropped?

Plowmanators said...


See this:

What Age Did Baby Drop Third Nap? (approximate) : http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/04/poll-results-what-age-did-baby-drop.html

Sara said...


My daughter is now 6 months old and seems ready to drop her 3rd nap - some days she still takes it, but then I have trouble getting her to sleep at night those days. The problem is, if nothing else in her routine changes, she'll go from having 2 hours of waketime at a time, to being awake from 3:30 or 4 until 9 pm, and she has a hard time staying awake that long. I would hate to make her bedtime much earlier, as my husband and I work and love to spend time with her in the evening.

So I am thinking about mixing up her routine a little, reversing the order of her afternoon snack and afternoon nape. The existing routine is to have lunch at 12, nap at 2, snack at 4. Instead, I'd like to give her a bottle (or nurse her if I'm home) at 2 pm then put her down for an afternoon nap at 3 or 3:30, which would then be her 2nd nap of the day. I've tried it a couple times with mixed success - if I nurse her at 2 pm she winds up falling asleep then I need to let her nap then - and break the cardinal rule of not nursing your child to sleep - or wake her. Today I woke her, but then she got a 2nd wind and didn't want to go back down for a nap later - I put her in the crib and she played there happily for 1 1/2 hours.

Does it make sense for me to continue implementing this routine change, or should I keep the old routine and just try to get her used to a longer wake time in the afternoon / evening.


Plowmanators said...


I would personally not feed right before a nap. I would stick to the Eat/Wake/Sleep cycle.

The reality is that when she does drop the third nap, she is going to have to have a longer nighttime sleep. So she will either need to go to bed earlier or sleep in earlier. At this age, when a baby drops a nap, they don't drop the total sleep. They just rearrange it.

Sara said...

Thanks for getting back to me. I agree I wouldn't want to feed her right before her nap - that wasn't what I meant to ask. Rather, the idea would be to also change the nap time so she goes down later.

Right now, her afternoon schedule is: 11:30 - 12, lunch; 12 - 2 play, 2 - 4 nap, snack (nursing) at 4 followed by play time; then maybe a catnap at 5:30; dinner at 6:30, then play until we start the bedtime routine at 8:30; then one last feeding at 9. If the morning or afternoon naps get any longer, then her late afternoon feeding would get pushed later and would be too close to dinner time. Likewise if we move bedtime earlier, then she would get her last feeding too close to when she eats dinner.

So I am wondering if I should re-engineer the schedule, to start giving her a snack at 2 pm (followed by playtime, assuming if I can manage to keep her awake an extra hour) and try to delay the start of her afternoon nap until 3 (assuming she will go down then), thus doing away with the 4 pm / late afternoon snack and spacing the eat / play / nap cycle out better. Does that make sense?


Plowmanators said...

I am confused. So would you have a nap between 11:30 lunch and 2:00 "snack"?

Sara said...

No, there wouldn't be a nap right after that feeding. Maybe this is now a moot point since we have mainly dropped the third nap without changing anything else and she seems to be adapting ok. But if I were structuring her schedule from scratch, I would change it.

Current schedule:
7:30 am - wake up, eat breakfast (milk + solids), then play
9:30 - 12 - morning nap
12 noon - lunch (milk + solids) then play
2 - 4 pm - afternoon nap
4 pm - snack (milk), then play (there used to be a catnap here but it's mostly gone)
6:30 pm - dinner (milk + solids), then play
8:30 pm - milk then bedtime

I think the following schedule would spread things out better for her, by reversing the order of her afternoon nap and afternoon feeding:
7:30 am - wake up, eat breakfast (milk + solids), then play
9:30 - 12 - morning nap
12 noon - eat lunch (milk + solids) then play
2 - snack (milk), then play
3:30 - 5:30 - afternoon nap
5:30 - 6:30 - play
6:30 pm - dinner (milk + solids), then play
8:30 pm - milk then bedtime

BUT: I don't know how I would accomplish the change, or if it is worth it. Does that make more sense? Thanks so much for your advice!


Plowmanators said...

Sara, I wouldn't change to that, personally. It is like I said originally, I wouldn't have the two feedings in the day without the nap between. That is taking it away from the E/W/S cycle to eat at noon, eat at 2, then napping at 3:30. Also, that is putting her at a two hour feeding schedule at that point in the day and then expecting her to wait 4.5 hours for the next meal. The metabolism wouldn't really know how to be consistenet with a 4.5 interval, 2 interval, 4.5 interval, and 2 interval.

newmomma said...

So I have a 9 month old daughter who I think is ready to drop the 3rd nap. However, I read your post that this is a nap you skip. My fear is that if it is skipped, does that not mess of the Eat/wake/sleep cycle? She is on a 4 hour schedule and she has a nap from 130-3pm, then has a liquid formula feeding. She is awake until about 530 or 545 then she takes her catnap until 615. I wake her then feed her solids at 630 followed by a bottle then bed at 730. Sometimes she takes this nap and sometimes she doesn't. How does skipping this nap not confuse her on the routine? What do you think?

Plowmanators said...

newmomma, the EWS cycle is important in the beginning months...as your baby grows and matures, you must leave it. It is good for establishing days and nights and helping with STTN, but you don't have to continue it forever. From now on, you will never be on a straight EWS cycle again.

Babies are smart. Brayden and Kaitlyn stopped EWS at 4 months because they were ready for 3 naps but not ready for a 4 hour schedule. It never messed them up at all. She will be fine :)

erica said...

My 7 and 1/2 month old son has suddenly started waking between 3:30 - 4:00 A.M. He goes to bed around 8:00 P.M., but he was sleeping to 5:30 - 6:00 A.M. We are currently still taking 3 naps. He gets extremely fussy if he doesn't get it. His schedule looks like this:
Upon waking - breastfeed
8:00 A.M. - breastfeed, fruit
9:00 A.M. - 10:00 A.M. - Nap
11:00 A.M. - breastfeed, veggies
12:00 P.M. - 1:30 P.M. - Nap
2:00 P.M. - breastfeed
4:00 - 5:00 P.M. - Nap
5:00 P.M. - breastfeed
8:00 P.M. - 6 oz. bottle of breastmilk with 6 tablespoons of oatmeal cereal

Any help would be much appreciated. I can't get to bed by until 10 P.M. by the time I get everything done around the house and then I am waking between 3:30 - 4:00 A.M. My son will not go back to sleep at this point.

I thought he might be ready to drop a nap, but as I stated earlier, he gets so fussy around time for it. Thank you!

Plowmanators said...


See this post for ideas:

5-8 Month Sleep Disruptions : http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/05/6-month-sleep-disruptions.html

AnnDee said...

I am having the same problem as a previous poster, Nikki, above. I didn't see a response to it. I will re-post what she said, and am wondering what you think. Thanks!

"My son will be 9 months old this week. He is on the verge of dropping his catnap in the evening, but I'm not sure if I should just do away with it. He takes about 1.5 hr naps in the morning and early afternoon. If I'm lucky, they are 2 hrs. If they were both 2 hrs, the catnap is not needed. I hate the fact that this catnap is on-again, off-again depending on his earlier naps. If they are 1.5 hrs (which the book says is long enough) then he wakes up about 2:00 from his second nap. That seems like a long time to be awake since his bedtime is 7:00. And those evenings are LONG, but he goes down hard for his catnap (20-30 min of crying) and wakes up cranky. I just want to get rid of them no matter how his other naps go.

I guess my questions is - is 5 hrs too long for him to be awake in the evening or is that sometimes the way it is with babies this age?

I'm also thinking that after a week or so of taking them away, he might take longer naps or sleep in that extra 1/2 hr in the morning. One can only hope right!"

Diana said...

I have the same problem as Nikki and Ann Dee - my 9 month old takes 1-hr naps now, wakes up terribly cranky from 3rd nap, and wakes up 30-60 min early in the mornings for months now. I've finally lost patience and have started making my baby drop her 3rd nap cold turkey in the last 3 days, which leaves 5 hours of waketime from last nap to bedtime. She's cranky but that's much better than when waking up a monster from her 3rd naps.

jshrayber said...

Hey Val! My problem is also similar to Nikki, Ann Dee and Diana. I wrote you a few weeks ago because his first nap was bad and he seemed overly tired in the morning but was sleeping from 7pm to 6 to 7 am.(posted on Mckenna's Week 39 Summary) Right after you wrote me back he started waking in the middle of the night! All naps were bad and he would cry or play the whole cat nap and after the cat nap would be in a HORRIBLE mood. So, I dropped it cold turkey. The first 3 days and nights were fantastic. He slept 12hrs and both naps were 2 hours. After those 3 days he started waking very early in the morning. The earliest sometimes being 4:30. He will have one good nap - sometimes the morning, sometimes the afternoon - but rarely 2 good naps. I put him to bed earlier so he has no more than 3.5 hours of waketime before bed. Sometimes going to bed at 6:15! Some random nights he will sleep 11.5 to 12 hours but those are rare now - and I cant find a common link on the days he does sleep great at night. I am keeping a log so if he has a good nap I do the exact same waketime the next day, but then it will be a bad nap! He was sleeping 11.5 to 12 hours for so many months. He is now 8.5 months. I really am at a loss for what to do now.

jshrayber said...

Hi Val.. one more question that I forgot to ask you in my post above. I have read the early morning waking post but can you very that I am doing this correctly? The mornings he wakes early I feed him and put him back down. I then have to wake him between 7:00 and 7:30am (our desired waketime). This is my desired bedtime as well, but since dropping the 3rd nap, our bedtime is now 6:15 or 6:30pm. However, since I am having to put him to bed earlier now, the few mornings a week he sleeps from 6:30pm to 6:15am, I go ahead and get him up -that is almost 12 hours of sleep. Just out of curiosity I tried yesterday to feed him and put him back down when he woke at 6:15, but totally understandable that he wanted to play..he had slept for 12hours straight! So as you can see our schedule is pretty inconsitent right now. When he wakes at 5 or 5:30am for example, I feel that is too early to start the day, so I put him back down and he will go back to sleep. Should I be waking him back up at 6:30 instead of 7:00-7:30 even though eventually I would like the later bedtime and waketime again?? It's also hard when we start our day at 6:15 because that makes our naps start earlier, thus making more or too much waketime before bed. I now feel that the nights he sleeps 12 hours is because the day before was a day I woke him at 7 -7:30 and the naps got pushed later in the day, thus making a shorter waketime before bed. But then I revert back when I start the day at 6:15. Maybe on days when he wakes at 6:15, I should try a 6:00 bedtime? However, even if he goes 12 hours, that would be a 6am or 5:45 waketime! Vicious cycle! I am just trying to get to a consistent schedule again. One postive thing - our naps are better now than from my post above. What do you think? Thank you for everything! Your advice is wonderful!

Plowmanators said...


For most babies, yes, 5 hours is too long to be awake at that time of night. When I drop the catnap, I move bedtime up.

While dropping the catnap, it is totally normal to have a weaning process going on.

Also, there is a wonder week around that age, so see the wonder weeks blog label for more info on that.

Plowmanators said...

Diana, if that is working for you, go for it. But do keep the 9 month wonder week in mind in case it is just a phase.

Plowmanators said...


I would say the same with the wonder week. Be mindful of too little sleep. If baby is too tired then baby will not sleep well over and over until one day he crashes. Then he will go back to not sleeping well. See the naps troubleshooting post posted this month to help troubleshoot reasons. If he needs an early bedtime, go for it. Also, see the blog label "logs" for hints on that. Keeping a log really helps you troubleshoot.

heather said...

My son is 9 months old (4 weeks early) and has been waking early in the mornings for about 2 weeks now. When I say waking early, I mean 30 min to an 1 hr prior to his normal waketime. MOST, if not all of the days he wakes happy and I let him play in his crib until its feeding time. I assumed that it was time to drop the third nap and adjust, although I failed to move up bedtime so he could see his dad who works late (bedtime = 8 the latest, desired waketime = 7am). Naps during the day are good: 1.25 hrs - 2 hrs depending upon the day/activity, etc etc. I know 9 months is normally a wonder week and that could have been contributing to the problem. I put him to bed early last night, and tonight (although there was some serious crying even though I know he was tired and he doesn't ever cry when I lay him down. The problem, however, is that for both nights, after the crying, he played for a while and didn't actually fall asleep for close to 15 min after I laid him down, whereas, before (w/ the 3rd nap), it was at most 10 minutes. If he is still 'waking' early (and technically sleeping at the same time regardless of when i put him down), where is the sleep made up? I don't want him to get overtired.

I think I've read almost all of your links within this blog and am at a loss as to what my approach should be. My goal is to elminate these early wakings, even though he is waking happy and on most days making it to his first nap with little problem. Val...any advice. Anyone else?

heather said...

I should also mention that w/ dropping the 3rd nap, I'd prefer him to sleep later in the morning and keep bedtime the same. Is that possible? If so, any ideas on how to achieve it??

Plowmanators said...

Heather, the difficulty is you have to be sure that the third nap was the reason for the early waking in order for messing with it all to fix the early waking. There are so many factors. Since dropping the third nap isn't helping, I would consider adding it back in and looking at other possible reasons.

The post "5-8 Month Sleep Disruptions" will give you information on what to consider.

LEM said...

Hi Val,
I posted a question on here quite awhile ago but I was reading back and I couldn't find a response. It was for my son who was moving to 4 hour schedule and not really taking the 3rd nap at 4 months. My son is now older and I can't remember what I did with him. Now I have a 4 month old daughter with similar issues!

I just switched her to a 4 hour schedule. After some adjusting she seems to be doing well with 1 hr 45 min of waketime. Her first 2 naps are good for the most part but her third nap is hit or miss. Because she goes to daycare it falls right when I have to pick her up. I tried to put her down when we got home, but 15 min went by and she was still wide awake. I was scared it was getting to close to the evening and it would affect her nighttime sleep so I got her up.

She does fine in the afternoons and doesnt get fussy without the 3rd nap. She goes to bed without a peep as well. But the problem is she wakes anywhere from 5-6am most mornings. This happens with or without the 3rd nap. I thought maybe it would be fixed without it but it didn't make a difference. She will wake and be completely content, quiet, and after about 30-45 min I can see she is trying to put herself back to sleep. Most of the time she is unsuccessful and will begin to whine and eventually a full blown cry if I leave her there long enough - then its time to get her up anyways!

We had this issue when she was on a 3 hour schedule but not as often. It seems that since moving to 4 hours it has become more often. Here is my schedule prior to changing it:

7am wake/eat
8:30 nap
10am wake/eat
11:30 nap
1pm wake/eat
2:30 nap
4pm wake/eat
6:30 eat
7pm bath
7:30 bed

Now it looks like this:

7am wake/eat
8:45 nap
11am wake/eat
12:45 nap
3pm wake/eat
4:45 possible catnap??? (waking at 5:15)
6:30 eat
7pm bath
7:30 bed

I am just not sure where to go with this 3rd nap. Either way it doesn't seem to make a difference in her mood or early awakenings. But as you can see she has been on 3 naps for awhile. She dropped the 4th nap around 14 weeks. She is now 17 weeks.

LEM said...

I wanted to update since things aren't really any better and I would still like your input. I truly value what you have to say! She is now 19 weeks and continues to not take that 3rd nap. I was successful in getting her to take it 2 days in a row even though she stayed awake for about 45 min before falling asleep. I also moved her bedtime back by 30 min and that has gone well. She still wakes around 630am but usually not any earlier than that.

After those 2 days she will now WAIL every time I put her down for that 3rd nap and continue untill it's time to get her. This makes me feel like she is learning that if she cries long enough then someone will come get her. I say this because since she began crying for it, she is now waking 45 min into her other 2 naps, crying and will not put herself back to sleep. She will cry for 15 min, stop for 1, cry for another 15, stop for 1 and so on until its time to get her.

I put her back on the 3 hour schedule that was working 2 weeks ago, but its been horrible as well. In fact, I think she has been crying significantly more.

I am not sure where to go from here. After going back to the 3hr schedule again, it seems like the 4 hr was working much better, though not perfect. But how can I get her to take that last nap?? Also, when you do CIO and the child cries and cries until the next feeding, is it really going to work? Since she is still crying when I come get her I feel she is learning bad habits.

Plowmanators said...


I would still try out the fourth nap. Perhaps work with a different length of waketime for that time of day. Make it 1 hour 50 minutes, then 1 hour 55 etc. and see if you can find a right number.

I would actually say that she is going through what is known as a "wonder week". There is a blog label on that. 4 months old (19-20 weeeks) is the worst time, and for all three of my kids, it was a rough time. It passes and your normal happy baby comes back :) Check out that blog label and hang in there!

Rhea said...

Hi Val,

My son is 11 1/2 mo and we have been weaning from the 3rd nap for almost 3 mo now and I'm wondering if I'm doing something wrong. I have been reading through all of your stuff and I think I know the answer to my question, but I guess I just want some confirmation that you agree. Anyway, we have been teething for quite some time....got his top front teeth about a month ago and they are almost all the way in and now he's getting the two top teeth next to his front teeth so his naps are off. He is waking up after 30-45 min, sometimes dirty/sometimes not, but will not go back to sleep. The morning nap is the worst. Sometimes in the afternoon he'll sleep 1.5 - 2hrs. If he makes it to 2-2:30pm then I skip the 3rd nap and put him to bed at 6:30pm, but if he wakes up earlier I put him down for a 3rd nap....is that ok at this age? I keep praying that he'll sleep longer in the morning, but that is a rare occasion these days and he just can't make it until bedtime without that 3rd nap some days. I've thought about trying to extend the morning waketime (gets sleepy about 1.5hrs of waketime), do you think that would help? He is still STTN so I'm hesitant to change anything....just wondering what your thoughts are. Thanks so much for your help!


Plowmanators said...


On the one hand, if he needs the sleep, let him have it.

On the other hand, by 11.5 months, he should be able to stay up for two hours at a time and should be able to do only two naps. So I would slowly work up his morning waketime to get him to two hours and see how that goes. Good luck!

Kristin L. said...

Hi Val,

Nathan, 9.5 months, is back to trouble with naps and is hovering around possibly dropping his evening catnap. (He's in a similar situation as Niki's LO, above, but instead of napping 1.5 hours, he naps for 30-45 min. in the morning and then maybe 1.25 hours in the PM). The trouble is, lately, when he goes down for his catnap he cries hard for a long time before settling into sleep (if at all) before dinner time. If he doesn't sleep at all for the catnap, or if we don't put him down for it, he's awake from about 2pm to 7pm which is probably WAY too long for any given waketime for a 9 mo. old. And his optimal waketime lengths seem to vary soo much from day to day, I can't determine any sort of baseline to "add to in five minute increments." Also, he's recently started waking up earlier in the morning. Today, he woke up at 5:30am, was awake (talking to himself in his crib) until 7am when I fed him, and then went down for a morning nap at 8:15am, only to wake up at 8:45! : ( Any thoughts you have to offer on the possibility of dropping his 3rd nap would be great! Thank you so much!

Plowmanators said...

Kristin L.,

I would try extending waketme length before the third nap before I would drop it completely.

But it sounds like there is something more than just a third nap issue going on. Is there teething or some allergy or food intolerance that could be bugging him and disrupting sleep.

KEK said...

I was wondering if you could share how you handled waketimes with Brayden when he dropped the third nap. From what I read on this blog, he only slept 10.5 hours at night, but only had 2 hour waketimes before his first two naps. Was his last waketime really long? My DD (almost 10 months) definitely is not a 12 hour sleeper or a 2 hour napper. She seems to need only 14-14.5 hours of sleep a day, but I'm struggling with how to arrange that sleep. She often wakes from her afternoon nap around 3:00, but if I put her to bed anytime before 7:30, she wakes earlier than DWT (7:00), however that makes the last waketime too long and she definitely won't take a third nap now. Any thoughts? I'd be glad to post my schedule if you need it.

Thank you so much!

Plowmanators said...


His last waketime was pretty long. I can't remember exactly what his schedule was (I bet it is on the sample schedules for 0-12 months). He did have a later bedtime because my husband didn't get home for the day until 8 or later and left usually before Brayden was up for the day, so he had a later bedtime to be able to see his dad. It must have been about 9:30 PM. We moved his bedtime up when he was 12 months old and my husband graduated college and got a real job. Then he was home by 4:30 PM, so we put him to bed at 7:30. He woke at 7.

Megan Diane Gibbs said...

Hi Valerie!

Im looking for some feedback to a problem me and my little girl are having! She turned 8 months old a week ago, and was having terrible naps..45 mins..waking at night..and was still on a 3 hour schedule, but deff not interested in eating that many times! she's in the 90th % for weight, she's a healthy girl, but she doesn't take in a lot of food, just holds onto it! We've been on solids since 4 months. She can crawl, stand, scoot along things...ok just wanted to make sure i covered all the background info! SO after WEEKS of trouble shooting i decided she just needed extended wake times and a push to the 4 hour schedule. My PROBLEM is she does amazing in the morning, with the exception of waking early..around 6..she plays then SCREAMS so i get her around 6:30 ( 7 used to be our wake time ) she then eats solids and a bottle and plays, has a bath, and goes back down at 8:30..(obviously i want this to be 7-9 but ill take it for now )

she then sleeps until 10:30..so 2 hours! which is great! i think give her another bottle and lunch, then play and back down at 12:30..this is where the problem is..she plays for around 10-15 mins then cries for 10-15 mins, then falls asleep for around 30 mins and wakes up crying..then playing and never goes back down...so she's usually awake by 1:30..then out of bed by 2:00..so i then give her a bottle and snack foods...i lay her down again around 4:00 for a power nap because 1:30-7:00 is WAY to long for her to be up! then we eat at 5:00, then bottle at 7:00 and down for the night...she falls right to sleep!

So im wondering what you think about the afternoon nap..im at a loss to see where the problem is? I've tried tylenol, teething gel, etc in case of teeth...but nothing changes this nap right now..

also the early morning waking..im thinking its due to over-tiredness but i can't tell either!

thank you for all the help! Babywise has been such a blessing in our lives! :)

Phoebe said...

Hello Val,
I have a 7 1/2 month boy. Here is Myles' recent schedule.
7:30awake and bottle and food
11:00 awake and bottle and food
2:30awake bottle
5:30bottle and food
7:15 bottle
7:30 down
For a couple weeks he has been having trouble waking early for his second nap and also rarely the third. Also, he doesnt seem to want to stretch to 4 hours feeding either. This has made it difficult to try to drop the third nap or go to a 4 hour schedule, along with the fact that he has always been a sleepy baby and can't seem to handle any more wake time. He doesn't seem to be having teeth issues right now. Nighttime sleep is very consistent. He usually falls asleep very fast for all sleeping. Question 1- I know early waking is usually indicative of too long of a wake time, but isn't his wake time already short? Question 2- Im wondering if it is common for babies to have difficulty with the second nap when the third is the one that needs dropping? And question 3- He seems like he is a little behind on dropping his nap, moving to a 4 hour schedule and wake time, is his schedule overall ok?
Thanks for your willingness to help us all,

LMR said...

i have just come across this site and have looked for answers in past articles but thought i'd try a hand at writing in.

My daughter is just shy of 8 months (telling age is a whole other equation)and sleeps 12 - 12.5 hours at night. We are so blessed at night that I have overlooked her daytime schedule.

She still has three naps a day but only of about 45mins each, 1 hr is a blessing to us both. i feel as though she would be so much happier if she had a longer sleep.

She has two meals of solids a day, but I feel that she is ready to move on to three.

Sample day schedule;
730 - Wakes, has a bottle
930 - Naps, 45 mins, 1 hr max
1030 - Breakfast
1230 - Bottle
1 - Naps, 45 mins, 1 hr max
330 - Late lunch
430 - Naps, 45 mins, 1 hr max
7 - Bed and bottle.

Any advice on how I can lengthen her naps? Happy to cut out one nap.

Thank you in advance,

Kelsey Eberth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kelsey Eberth said...

This is EXACTLY my problem right now! What did you end up doing?

Kelsey Eberth said...

Oh my gosh I just realized this was FOREVER ago! You probably don't remember at all 😊


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