Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Dropping Naps: A Quick Reference

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This is my latest post for Growingkids.org

Timing and signs of readiness for dropping naps is always a question for parents, even those who have done it before. It can be hard to remember all of the details. Here is a synopsis of various naps, timing of when to drop them, signs that your child is ready to drop them, and methods for doing so.

Dropping the Fourth Nap
First, we need to define nap times for newborns. I consider any sleep that happens after 7 PM to be bedtime. So a newborn who eats around 7ish, then goes to sleep (this could be considered a nap by some), and wakes again to eat around 10ish, in my definition would have gone to bed after the 7ish feeding. My reason for this is that baby never drops that sleep between 7 and 10. Baby drops the feeding around 10 at some point.

The fourth nap is the nap that occurs between 4ish and 7ish PM.

AGE: I have found the average age for this nap to be dropped is 4 months old. Some are ready earlier (but really no earlier than 3 months) and some are ready later (but few later than 5 months).

SIGNS OF READINESS: For most babies, the sign for this nap to be dropped is that baby really doesn’t sleep well for it anymore. Note the word anymore. This is a typical fussy time of day for babies when many don’t sleep well in general. Don’t assume your 4 week old doesn’t need this nap because he isn’t sleeping well. By four months of age, baby is most likely playing around during “naptime” instead of sleeping. Some babies might sleep for this nap but then have a hard time going down after the 7ish feeding. Others might have sudden disrupted sleep at night.

Another sign would be that your child is ready for a 4 hour schedule. A 4 hour schedule will naturally drop the fourth nap.

METHODS FOR DROPPING: One easy method is to move to the 4 hour schedule if your baby is ready. Many babies will naturally drop this fourth nap as they move to the 4 hour schedule. As you extend your schedule, you drop feedings. As you drop feedings, you drop number of naps. Other babies are ready to drop this nap before they are ready to move to a 4 hour schedule. This was true for both of my children.
If your child is ready to drop the nap but not ready for a 4 hour schedule, you just skip the nap. Take note that the last two feedings might then move closer together because a baby can go longer between feedings if he is asleep than he can when he is awake. He also might need a bit earlier of a bedtime (30 minutes or so), at least for a few days while he adjusts. Some babies will be fussy for a few days as they adjust to the new sleeping arrangement.

One note, if you think your child is ready to drop this nap and is still taking a 1.5-2 hour nap at this time, try shortening the nap at first. Perhaps down to 60 minutes, 45 minutes, or 30 minutes.

Dropping the Third NapThe next nap you drop is the evening nap. By the time baby is ready to drop it, it is usually a short 45 minute nap. Your baby will be on a 4 hour schedule by this point, so the nap will again be somewhere between 4 and 7 PM.

AGE: According to On Becoming Babywise I and II, this happens relatively young (around 6-8 months).
This can vary from child to child. The youngest it should be will is 6 months. The average seems to be 8 months. My son didn’t drop his until he was about 10 months old. I was reading Babywise and realized he was not supposed to need it, so we dropped it. My daughter didn’t fully drop it until she was 11 months old.

SIGNS OF READINESS: It can be hard to tell just when your baby is ready to drop this nap because it is already short. One sign is if your baby doesn’t seem tired enough for bed after napping in the evening. Other signs can be the same as the fourth nap: baby doesn’t sleep for that nap at all, baby doesn’t go to bed well after taking that nap, or baby doesn’t sleep well at night.

METHODS FOR DROPPING: This is a nap you skip. Some babies might be able to go “cold turkey,” or dropping all at once. If you choose this method, expect some fussiness as your baby adjusts. Be ready to be an entertainer. You could get a new toy or book or something to pull out only at that time of day to keep the baby happier. You could also leave the house to keep him distracted. When my oldest dropped this nap, I remember he was cranky during the stretch for several days, maybe even a week, but his body soon adjusted. before her morning nap and still waking her up from the nap at the same time. I shortened the morning nap. I also added about 10-15 minutes to her waketime between her two naps. These actions fixed things and she was back to sleeping for both naps: 1.5 hours in the morning and 2-2.5 in the afternoon. For some children, this morning nap might need to be shortened more than that. As I said, Kaitlyn is a sleeper. She is still taking a long morning nap though it is shorter than it was.

Another method is a weaning process. In this approach, you only give the nap if baby needs it that day. Some days baby takes the nap, other days he doesn’t. This is the method I used with my daughter. We started around 8 months to take it as a weaning process. If we were out in the evening, she didn’t nap. If we were home, I waited to put her down only if she showed signs of needing it. If she was awake and started showing signs of needing the nap 30 minutes before her normal feeding time, I fed her early and put her to bed early. At first, every few days she didn’t nap. Soon, it was every other day. Later, she napped only every few days. As I said earlier, she didn’t fully drop this nap until she was 11 months old.

Dropping this nap might move bedtime up.

Dropping the Morning Nap
When you drop the morning nap, you move from two naps to one. Dropping the morning nap is not as sad as it may seem. You suddenly have a large chunk of time when baby doesn’t have to be home! You baby will also most likely take a longer afternoon nap once the morning nap is dropped, so you have a longer stretch in the afternoon to get things done. This also gives you more opportunity for quality learning opportunities and activities in the morning hours.

AGE: Among the different “–wise” books, the ages for dropping the morning nap range from 14-22 months, and all are possible. Some toddlers do drop the nap as early as 14 months. My son was 17 months. My daughter is now approaching 19 months and still holding on to her morning nap. I am hoping for her to drop it soon, and every so often I try, but she isn’t quite ready.

SIGNS OF READINESS: For some children, this can be one of the easier naps to tell he is ready to drop. For others, it can be a real guessing game.

Classic signs of readiness are when your toddler is ready to drop this nap, he will still sleep really well in the morning, but for the afternoon nap, he will hardly sleep at all. This is when he is ready to drop the morning nap. This is how my son was.

Another classic sign is your toddler might not sleep for the morning nap but sleeps for the afternoon nap.
For some toddlers, things can be trickier. There is a transition time when the toddler isn’t ready to drop the morning nap, but doesn’t need a full nap anymore. My daughter was this way. When Kaitlyn was about 14 months, she started to not sleep well for both naps. This was extremely odd to me. She has always been a really good napper. She loves to sleep. I started to wonder if perhaps she was ready to drop the morning nap. It surprised me because she didn’t drop her third nap until she was 11 months old—I didn’t think she would be ready to drop the morning nap so soon after dropping the evening nap.

She wasn’t ready. Kaitlyn missed her morning nap once a week for church. She would then come home, eat lunch, and go to sleep for about 4 hours–making up for her missed morning nap. She was very, very tired when we got home. Tired enough that she usually didn’t eat her lunch very well. Based on this, I figured she wasn’t really ready to drop her morning nap. Instead, I started lengthening her waketime.

Others might be going through teething or some other disruption, which causes parents to wonder if it is time to drop the nap. Some might be able to start a weaning process from this nap where some days they take the nap, others they don’t. More on this is explained below.

METHODS FOR DROPPING: Your toddler will take his nap after lunch. For us, naptime started at 1 PM. Some toddlers need naptime to start earlier than this, at least for a period of time. You can have lunch earlier if needed and nap start earlier. Once he is back to normal, you can have the nap move to your (and his) optimal time.

With my son, we dropping this nap cold turkey just as we had previous naps. This is one option.
You can also try a weaning process. I find this nap harder to do a weaning process for. If your toddler doesn’t take a morning nap, the afternoon nap times are very different from when your toddler does. It can be hard to plan your day. If you have an open enough schedule that you can work around this, weaning is a good first step for you. If not, you will have to wait until your toddler is more ready before dropping it. You can also consider simply being more flexible for a week or two and allowing the weaning process, planning to hopefully fully drop the nap after that.

If you think your child is ready to drop the morning nap, you can always give it a try. My guess is after two-three days in a row, you will have a good idea if he is really ready or not. I suggest having other things to do to keep your toddler preoccupied. Errands to run, people to visit, etc.

I tried dropping this nap with Kaitlyn a few weeks ago. Day one was fine. Day two, she started to fall asleep while eating lunch. I could see she wasn’t quite ready yet.

In my experience, toddlers are not as cranky after dropping this nap as they are for others. When we dropped this nap with my son, the afternoon nap went to 3.5 hours instead of 2 hours and bedtime moved up an hour.

As your child gets older, the nap will shorten and/or bedtime will move back slightly.

Dropping the Afternoon Nap
The afternoon nap is the only nap of the day. Your child will move from the nap to rest time. I haven’t reached this milestone yet (though I believe we are approaching it with my son). I will summarize the information as listed in On Becoming Preschoolwise (page 100).

AGE: This is typically around four years of age, though age depends on the sleep needs of the individual child.

SIGNS OF READINESS: Your child will stay awake through his scheduled naptime.

METHODS FOR DROPPING: This nap should be “dropped” as a weaning process. You have your child lay quietly on his bed. You allow him to have a book or two to look at. You tell him if he feels tired, he should go to sleep.

If your child falls asleep but does so later than usual, wake him at the time naptime would normally be over, not X number of hours after falling asleep. He will likely be cranky from a short nap, so plan on him doing something to transition out of the nap (for example, watch a movie).

Over time, your child will nap some days and rest others. The transition period from naptime to rest time can take six months to one year. He will slowly decrease the number of naps he takes in a day.

If your child is cranky on days he didn’t take a nap, you can put him to bed thirty minutes early.

Notes for Dropping Naps
  • Children are often cranky/fussy for a few days or so while their bodies adjust to the nap that has been dropped. Don’t mistake normal crankiness for signs that he wasn’t ready.
  • Bedtime often needs to be moved up after dropping a nap, at least for a week or two while your child adjusts. For some naps, your child will move back to “normal” bedtime. For others, normal is now earlier.
  • Sometimes the other naps are longer after dropping a nap.
  • For babies and toddlers, dropping a nap doesn’t necessarily mean less sleep in the day. They simply rearrange the times they sleep.
  • Don’t be afraid to try dropping the nap if you think your child is ready. If you try to drop a nap and find your child wasn’t ready, you can always add the nap back in.

92 comments:

Tracy said...

Thanks for the tips. My 15 1/2 mo. old isn't quite ready to drop his morning nap although I see it coming soon. I actually will be sad to see it go as I have 2 other babies (13 mo. and 11 mo. olds)that I watch that still take a morning nap. It is nice to have them all napping so 1) I get a nice break and 2) it is nice and quiet so they can all rest. Unfortunately we are pretty much stuck in the house so going out to distract him from naptime isn't much of an option. I might just have to be creative.

Plowmanators said...

Tracy, I think if you wait until he is 100% ready you won't have to go out in order to distract. My son was all the way ready and had no problems with no distractions. So just be sure to wait until he is ready and you should be fine.

Reds said...

Hi Plowmanators- I've been having issues with my son's 2nd nap, he is 8 months old and goes down for his first nap around 2 1/4 hours after he wakes up. I just can't seem to get the timing right for his second nap. He can stay up longer after his morning nap but maybe he's overtired. here's his schedule:
730 wake then bottle/breakfast, 9:45 nap, 11:45 wake then bottle/lunch, 2:15 nap. Most days he doesn't seem tired at 2:15 but then he cries really hard when I put him down. Should I try feeding him a bottle before the afternoon nap? Dinner can range anywhere from 4:30-5:30 depending on what time he finally falls asleep for his second nap.

Plowmanators said...

Reds, I would try moving his naptime up for the afternoon by 5 minute increments at a time. At that age, if baby cries before a nap it is almost always because he is overly tired.

Reds said...

thank you!!

teechin said...

Thanks again for a very helpful blog. I find myself referencing it quite often. My newest conundrum is how to effectively skip a nap once a week. For the first time we had our thirteen month old skip her morning nap for church yesterday. Typically we've just been arriving a little late to accommodate the nap. She did very well and was not cranky (I made sure to have snacks on hand for the nursery workers). However, the story changed once we got home. She didn't eat her lunch very well and by the time she did go down for nap she only napped one hour. My husband and I made sure to get her to bed earlier than her normal 7:30 bedtime to accommodate for the lost time. Besides this little nap experiment, I've also found her to be waking earlier than usual (before 6:00) for the past several weeks. I have been leaving her in there until at least 7:00 which is what I've done for a while now. Thanks for any advice you have. :)

Plowmanators said...

Teechin, is the early waking in conjunction with the time change? I would look under the blog label "time change" for ideas on solving that problem.

For the church nap, we always put Kaitlyn down ASAP after we get home. She often doesn't eat lunch well, either. This is in part from the snacks to keep her happy at church and also being too tired. Put her down as soon as she finishes lunch. Then also put her to bed early. It makes Sunday very different, but she will be okay.

January said...

My son is at 16 months and he is still keeping his morning nap: I have to wake him up though after an hour (instead of two) so that he'll sleep enough in the afternoon. We tried dropping his morning nap entirely thinking that he was ready because he wasn't sleeping at all in the afternoon, but he was SO CRANKY that we just scaled back on it instead. Sometimes he doesn't nap for the first hour in the morning but just talks in his crib... I'm fine with that if he just wants to play imagine! He usually then falls asleep for the second hour and that way still gets in his morning hour nap and because he's only slept an hour in the morning he'll sleep for two in the afternoon.

Plowmanators said...

Thanks January. Kaitlyn just dropped her morning nap a week ago--at 19.5 months old.

Lorri said...

Hey Val,
I seem to be having some trouble with my little Scooter and dropping naps.

He seems to be dropping the first nap before we drop the 3rd.
For the life of me I can't get him to take more than a 50min first nap.
He eats at 7am goes to nap at 9am and is up by 10am.
I don't feed him until 10:30 or even wait until 11am so he will nurse and eat solids well-so he isn't waking up and getting fed right away-causing a habit. And I leave him in bed for a while before going and getting him so we don't create a habit out of getting up early either...
His second nap is 2 hours between 1pm and 3pm but then he still takes another nap from 5pm to 6pm.
For both of yours they dropped the 3rd nap later.
Would dropping the 3rd nap help my son's first nap become longer? Is it okay to have only a 1 hour first nap?
I know you said you are a week behind, and this isn't any major problem, so I'm okay with waiting until other more pressing questions are answered first-maybe things will change in a week too. But let me know your thoughts when you get the chance

Plowmanators said...

Sorry, I can't remember how old Scooter is. Dropping the third nap might help with the morning nap, but my guess is that it really won't.

He might need a shorter morning waketime, even by 5 minutes. Conversely, he might need a longer morning waketime, even by 5 minutes :) I would do some trial and error to see what it is.

If he is older than 6 months, you can try dropping the third nap and see what happens, but that should interfere with night sleep, not the morning nap.

susanne said...

Hi Again!
My son (16 weeks) has moved from a 3 hour schedule to a 3.5 hour schedule recently. Here is what his schedule looks like.

8:00- 9:45 Feed & Awake
9:45- 11:30 Nap

11:30- 1:15 Feed & Awake
1:15- 3:00 Nap

3:00- 4:45 Feed & Awake
4:45- 6:30 Nap

6:30- 8:15 Feed & Awake
8:15-9:00 Cat Nap
9:00-9:45 Awake

9:45 Feed & Bed( by 10pm)

However his 3rd nap at 4:45 is often cut short by 30 minutes and I find that his 4th nap is sometimes as short as 20 minutes. I think he is ready to drop his 4th nap at 8:15, but I am afraid if I drop the 4th nap he will be unable to make it that long between feedings (6:30 -9:45). Another thing to keep in mind is that my son only needs 10 hours of sleep at night. I have tried my best to get him to sleep 12 hours- but it does not seem to work for him. That is why I am hesitant to move back his bed time if I dropped the nap. Do you have any suggestions on dropping his 4th nap? Do you think if he drops his 4th nap his 3rd nap will be more consistent (remember he is waking early from his nap somedays- 30 min early)? Any suggestions or help you could offer would be a great help!

Lorri said...

Hey Susanne,
I hit the same problem as you did-my son was older than yours, but it sounds the same.

I did drop the 4th nap and Scooter's 3rd nap lengthened a little. And when I did that, it seemed that because he wasn't sleeping right before bed, he did go to 12 hours of nighttime sleep.

Again, this is just what I did, but I would wake my son up at 6pm to eat and then have him back in bed by 7:30pm for bed.

I moved our "dream feed" to 9pm. Scooter never did wake up for the dream feed and always went right back to bed peacefully.

He then got up at 7:30 to eat again.

This way he only went 3 hours at night between 6pm and 9pm and 10ish hours between 9pm and 7:30am (sometimes 7am)

It does sound like your son is ready to drop his 4th nap... Good luck!

Lorri said...

Thanks Val for responding so quickly to these questions-considering the pregnancy and two other children!

I am going to experiment with waketime. Scooter is just 8 months and is just now showing signs of wanting to be up longer than 1 1/2 hours, but I'm guessing I'm back to finding that sweet spot for nap time.
He is so full of energy-already cruising around furniture standing up one handed and trying to take his first step on his own, its hard to read his cues now-whether he is frustrated because he is tired, or trying to do something babies his age usually aren't doing... :0)

susanne said...

Lorri,
Thanks sharing your experience with me!! The only concern I have is with the dreamfeed. My son never wants to eat or wake up when I try to dreamfeed him. My experience with dreamfeeding in the past has not been that good. He either won't wake up to eat or I have to wake him and then his night time sleeping is messed up (waking several times).

It also seems that my son needs only 14- 15 hours of sleep a day (naps + nighttime sleep). If his day time sleep totals around 5 hours of sleep if I drop the 4th nap that leaves 10 hours of sleep for night. That is why I am afraid to put him to bed any early than 10pm because his wake time is 8am. Any suggestions?

How old is your little guy Lorri?

Plowmanators said...

Susanne,

One thing to keep in mind is that it is common for the last nap of the day to be short. So, once the third nap is the last nap, it would be normal for it to be the short one.

The best thing to do is just try dropping the fourth nap and see what happens. The fourth nap shouldn't be what is interfering with the third--it would interfere with night. Most of the time when you drop a nap, you don't drop the amount of sleep in a day but rather rearrange it. So to have either a longer third nap by 30 minutes or longer night by 30 minutes would be normal.

I would drop the fourth nap and put him to bed early if he needs it and just see what happens. If he is too tired before bed, he will wake up early or not sleep well in the night, so be sure you don't force him to stay up if he needs to go to sleep. Good luck!

Plowmanators said...

Lorri, thanks for your additional thoughts on the fourth nap.

Plowmanators said...

You are welcome Lorri. Finding optimal waketime length is such a constant process for so long. It is really often for the first 6-8 months, then it changes every so often until 12 months...it does eventually start so slow down :)

susanne said...

Val,
Thanks for you help! I think I finally have the naps/ schedule figured out. We just moved to a 4 hour schedule. It took about 3 weeks to gradually get there, but I think that is what my son was trying to do. Now he has 3 naps. His first two naps are about 2 hours each and the last nap is about 1.5hours long. I am happy with this schedule. I also want to add that moving to this schedule has helped him to finally sleep though the night from 10pm til 7:30am. Thank you for all your help. I am not sure I would have been able to have gotten to this point without all the advice and articles you provide. What a huge blessing you are in my life as a first time mom. It is so nice to finally be on 4 hour schedule and to have him sleeping through the night!

I also read that your son is having some minor surgery. I will keep him in my prayers! May the LORD protect him and guide the doctors hands!!

Plowmanators said...

That is great Susanne! I am glad it is all going smoothly again. I am glad to be of help :)

Thanks for the prayers! I really do appreciate them.

Mamaof1 said...

Val - great blog! My LO is 4.5 months old. We are on day #5 with dropping his 4th nap. We decided he might need to drop it after his 4th nap went from 45-30-20mins. He struggles to sleep from bedtime 8-815pm (right after nursing) to 7am waketime. He usually wakes up around 5-6am but has learned to sleep on/off until 7am (he’s not hungry; sometimes talks for a bit; sucks his thumb). So we believe he needs about 10hrs of night sleep. We are on a 3/3.5hr schedule (7/10/1/430/730). His waketime is 1hr 15 mins to 1hr 30mins and typically doesn't sleep more than 1.5hrs, although his 3rd nap recently has been anywhere from 1hr to 2hrs. Here's our schedule:

7am nurse
8:15-10am nap (usually wakes up by 9:45am)
10am nurse
11:20ish - 1pm nap
1pm nurse
2:30ish - 3:45-4:30ish nap
Dropping 4th nap
7:30pm nurse
8-8:15pm bed

Since dropping his 4th nap, he is awake from the end of his 3rd nap (could be as early as 3:45pm) to bedtime. Isn't this a long time for him to be awake? Also, how long does the transition with dropping a nap take?

I didn't see a sample of your son's schedule; I know your son was a 10hr sleeper - how did you accommodate his schedule for this while dropping his 4th nap AND after dropping his 4th nap? We have tried putting our LO to bed anywhere from 7pm to 830pm, but he still seems to wake up before 7am. Recall that he is on a 3/3.5hr schedule. Thanks in advance for your help!

Plowmanators said...

Whether or not that length of time is too long for him to be awake is for you to decide. If it is, then you need to have a nap again OR move up bedtime.

For how long it takes, it depends on the child and the nap. It depends on how ready the child really was to drop it. Some are immediately fine. Some need only a few days before having it down. Some need a week. Some might need two.

At four months, my son still woke once in the night to eat--close to morning waketime. He still took a good morning feeding so I knew he needed it.

When we dropped the fourth nap, I don't remember it being any issue with either child. They just dropped it and had two feedings in a row.

abbie said...

We are currently wavering between 2 and 3 naps. She normally wakes up from nap #2 around 4:30, so waiting another 2 hours or so (her current approx. wake time) would be way too late for her to have a 3rd nap, and she doesn't appear to really need it anyway. BUT- waking up at 4:30 and lasting until a previous bed time of 830ish is too long. she will easily go down for the night at 730, but this ends up causing her to miss a liquid feeding and she has woken up around 10:30 or 11 as if she is waking up from a nap which is NOT good considering she's been sleeping through the night for months. is she hungry or just getting used to the later bed time? she eats solids 2x a day and has usually already had 24 oz of formula before that last feeding that she now misses with the earlier bed time. thanks! i feel like in order to suit her nap/bed time schedule, i'm practically inviting back a dream feed, which is not what i want.

susanne said...

Abbie,

your situation sounds like kind of my like my son. My son is on a 4 hour schedule and has been on solids for about 1.5 months. He is just shy of 6 months old. Here is what our schedule looks like:

7am Wake, Nurse, Feed Solids
9-11am Nap

11am Nurse, Feed Solids
1-3pm Nap

3pm Nurse (no solids)
5ish 30-45 minute cat nap

5:45 Feed Solids and a little nursing afterwords
6-7:45 Wake Time and bedtime routine

7:45 Nurse
8:00 Bed

I know that the evening feedings are less that 4 hour apart, but this has allowed me to get all the necessary feedings in before he goes to sleep without having to do a "dreamfeed" (which my son has never down well with).

This way he has 3 solid feeds a day and are in-line with our family's schedule and he has 5 liquid nursing feeds throughout the day.


Currently, my son can only sleep 11 hours before waking (8pm-7am). Depending on how much sleep your daughter needs would determine when to put her to bed and your morning waketime.

He also takes 2-two hour naps and a short cat nap to hold him over until bed time. That might help you figure out how to squeeze in a 3rd nap without robbing her night time sleep.

If you find she is waking up around 10 or 11pm and you know you have given her enough ounces to drink and three solid feedings (and not in a growth spurt), I would try CIO (Cry it out). That should help her to brake this waking habit.

BTW, I wait 15 minutes in between liquid feeding and solid feedings. That seems to help my son eat his solids better.

I hope this helps. I know I appreciate the suggestions for other moms who are experiencing the same situations as me.

Plowmanators said...

Abbie, in the future, it is helpful if you list her age for me since the age can make a difference.

Once you drop the third nap, you do need to move bedtime up. I find most typically need it moved up 30 minutes.

So are you feeding at 4:30 then not again before bed? If so, you will want to have a feeding at 7 or 7:30 before bed. At this point, it is okay to have two feedings without a nap between them.

Thanks, Susanne, for your advice!

Ann said...

Hi Val -
I have a quick question.
My son will be 17 weeks tomorrow (officially 4 months on Thursday). He is still currently taking 4 naps still! Is that ok?
here is his schedule:

8-8:30: eat (esclusively solids still)
10-12: nap #1
12:00 - eat
1:30-3:00 - nap #2
3:00 eat
4:30 - nap #3
5:30-6:00: eat
7:30-9:00: nap
9:00: DF...he then sleeps all the way until 8 am.
He usually does NOT wake up from this nap though. So, does this mean that he can drop this nap, and then we would need to move up his last feeding/bed time?

He usually is tired around 7:30, too. He yawns a lot, rubs his eyes, and is typically asleep within 5 minutes.

So, I'm confused as to what to do. Any suggestions?

Robin said...

How much is too much sleep? My daughter is 18 weeks and has easily transitioned to a 4 hour schedule. However, she is still unable to tolerate much wake time. She was previously eating every 3-3.5 hours, awake for 50 min, then napping until the next feeding. Per BW, we moved to 4 hours since I was having to wake her for each of the feedings. This is her typical schedule now:
7am feed and play
8-11am nap
11am feed and play
12-3pm nap
3pm feed and play
4-7pm (or earlier)feed and play
8/8:30pm bedtime

She sleeps well through the night and goes down very easily for naps (typically after a few yawns). Since the transition, she is actually getting an extra hour of sleep during the day than she used to. I'm thinking I will wake her early from her evening nap so she can participate in "family time". But, should I be concerned that she is sleeping so much?

Plowmanators said...

Ann, That is not really 4 naps. That is three naps. 7:30 is his bedtime with a DF at 9:00. So he has three naps :)

Plowmanators said...

Robin, only be concerned if it starts to interfere with her night time sleep. Three hours is a long nap. I might try to get it down to 2.5 hours, but only if she can handle it. BW says 1.5-2.5 hour nap. But if she is sleeping well for naps and night, then she should be fine.

Alison Franke said...

Thank you for the blog and especially the nap reference that I reference often. I have a question for you about how to get my son to sleep later in the mornings. Henry is 7 months old, formula fed with solids and on a 4 hour schedule. He takes 3 naps right now and goes to bed around 7:15 or 7:30 at the latest. The trouble is he wakes at 6:15 or 6:30, god forbid sometimes at 6 am. For his schedule that means that he is eating at somewhat odd times of day (10 am, 2 pm). I would love if he slept until 7 am (and on rare occasion it happens), but is there something I can do to make that more routine? I try not to move back his night sleep time b/c he is so ready to go to sleep by 7:15 and goes down easy. Would love your suggestions...

THE MORRISON'S said...

I have a question. I know that BW says the earliest to drop the AM nap is 14 months; however, this is what's been going on. My son just turned 12 months and it's as if he became a new little person. For the past week, he talks and plays in his crib for his morning nap and doesn't fall asleep. Then for his afternoon nap he's been sleeping 2-3 hours. Does this means he is an exception? I don't want to rush it with him, but he seems to be doing well. I don't know if you ever encountered this.
Congratulations to you and your family and thank you for being such an inpiration!

Plowmanators said...

Alsion, first, be sure he isn't waking because of the sun. This is a common issue right now.

After that, see the blog label "time change" for tips on moving morning waketime.

Plowmanators said...

Morrisons,

I would stick with the morning nap for now. Many 1 year olds do this, but it seems to be more of a common developmental thing than a need to drop the nap. You can tweak the length of the morning nap (in other words, shorten it), but I wouldn't drop it right now.

THE MORRISON'S said...

Thank you so much. yeah, since my post, he's fallen back into his routine again. Thank you for the encouragment and taking the time to answer in such a busy time in your life.

Plowmanators said...

You are welcome :) Sorry it takes me so long to get to it right now :)

Summer said...

hi plowmonator-
i would love any advice from you or other moms who have been in my shoes.. i am writing about my first daughter, 7.5 weeks old, and she seems to be doing her own thing (ie not where BW says she should be at her age), but its mostly working for us, but i would really like to 'tweak' things. here's our current schedule:
baby wakes me up for first feed. this is very consistently around between 6:45- 7:45 . i typically do not feed before 7 , and if she wakes up before she is pretty easily coaxed back to sleep with a pacifier.
11am feed
3pm feed
7 pm feed
11pm feed

we are much more on a pattern than a schedule though, as those times are approximate but i do follow a 4 hr schedule based on the time of the morning feed. so there are times our dreamfeed is at 10:30 and could start as late as 12:30.
my dd typically feeds for 25 min and then begins to get fussy around 40-45 minutes later (having been up for an hour from the beginning of her start of that feeding cycle). so, she has a pretty long awake time for her age. her naps are typically 2.5- 3 hrs long and i am typically waking her up for the next feed.
the problem is, after 6 or 7 pm she doesnt want to sleep. if she does sleep it is very broken. she will cry sometimes and a lot of times be fussy but sometimes she is content too in these long evening stretches. when she is awake from 6-12pm i will typically feed every 3 hrs since she is awake since i cant tell if she's fussy because she's so overtired or if she is hungry. even after the dreamfeed she will take quite a while to go to sleep, despite me not talking to her and minimizing interaction.
overall, i feel like her "bedtime" is 12 or 1am, since this is the beginning of consistent uninteruppted nightime sleep (so she typically will sleep here for 6-7 hrs). i would LOVE to get her to sleep earlier, even if it means her morning would start at 5 or 6am. any thoughts on how to do this?
as a side note, i'd say we are both very happy with the breastfeeding side of this. for her first morning feed, she wakes up Very Hungry and will really fuss if i dont get her the milk fast enough, but all the other feeds she is pretty relaxed and seems content to do the 4 hr pattern we are on and seems content and full at the end of each feeding. between 7am and 6pm, i am consistently waking her up for the next feeding.
thanks for any advice!!

Plowmanators said...

Summer,

First piece of advice is to have a consistent waketime within 30 minutes each day. 30 total. So if you want it to be 7:30, you would swing from 7-7:30 or 7:15-7:45 etc.

Second is she is really young for a 4 hour schedule. Since she is happy and content, you can go with that, but know that it will take her longer to drop feedings in the night if you stick with 4 hours during the day.

Now, her evening time sounds like "witching hour" see that blog label. Do what you can to get her to go to sleep around 7-8 PM, though. You might even have to rock her or something since she is fussy. Good luck!

Summer said...

plowmanators-
thank you very much for your advice and response. after i left my question a couple weeks ago, i decided to make some changes to my baby's schedule myself to see what would happen (trying to get her to sleep in the evenings). even though she seemed content doing 4 hr feedings, we went to every 3 hrs and i started setting an alarm for the first feeding of the day. so now our day is feedings between 615am and 630am, 930am, 1230pm, 330pm, 630pm, 930pm. she generally finishes BF in about 30 minutes and after the 930 feed she wants to stay awake till 1030pm or 11 and will consistently sleep till 630am when i wake her up.
as of today my DD is almost 11 weeks old.
her naps are great prior to noon, and she would sleep 2.5 hrs per nap if i'd let her, but i space out her awake time so her nap is 1.5-2 hrs long. she tolerates this well.
after the 330pm feeding, the naps are more sketchy (will she stay asleep? will she be fussy?) there are no consistent answers or patterns. overall, she is not a fussy baby (i am grateful!!)
i do believe she has some "witching hour" episodes- thank you for your blog on that!
MY QUESTION NOW IS: i am TRYING to make the 930pm feed a dream feed, meaning that i feed her and put her right back down to sleep. BUT, sometimes she does not take a nap after the 630pm feed, and most likely is not interested in going to sleep right after the 930pm feed anyway!! have you experienced this undesired "awake time" with any of your kids ? how did you deal with it or any thoughts on this?
on one hand i could say she is getting enough sleep overall as she does generally not seem over tired or cranky, but since i have to wake her every day for the 630am feeding, that tells me she would like to sleep longer. how can i encourage an earlier bedtime, with the changes i have made?
THANK YOU!!

Plowmanators said...

Glad you have seen improvement!

It sounds like she is having witching hour issues in the evening and I would say she should get over that really soon. By four months for sure.

I would tweak her waketime to see if that helps. Longer? Shorter?

McKenna had one or two nights of not wanting to go to sleep after the Dreamfeed. I would say to tweak the time of your DF to see if that makes a difference. Make sure lights are dim and low.

If you have to, nurse her to sleep at DF. You want her to take a full feeding, but you can have her diaper changed between sides or halfway through bottle, then just put her in bed asleep. I had do to this with McKenna for a while at her 8ish feeding to help with witching hour.

Good luck!

Lookhart Photography said...

sorry another comment... i just left one down below on another post.... if my babe is on a 3 hour schedule.... and then she gets the sleeping through the night down.... i first wean her off of the dream feed? then do i start to go to a 4 hour schedule of feedings? cause her bedtime is 8:00 p.m. but she eats at 5 - awake time until 6:30 then she sleeps from 6:30 to 7:45. i am just scared to drop feedings and naps! i want to make sure i'm not screwing her up to badly. thanks for your help!

Plowmanators said...

Lookhart,

You can do the dreamfeed first. Then four hour. That is the babywise way.

The baby whisperer says to do the four hour, then dreamfeed.

I have done both ways and both ways work fine. I think I prefer the dreamfeed dropped first, but both can work.

You might be one who would be more comfortable with going to a four hour schedule first. Do what you feel most comfortable with.

Plowmanators said...

BTW, I think it is better to err on the side of feeding too often than not enough, so don't feel bad about being cautious :)

LEM said...

Please help me out with issues with the 4th nap at 7.5 weeks. My daughter for the most part naps well for her first 3 naps of the day with 45 minutes of waketime. She has a 715 bedtime with a dreamfeed at 10 and will sleep till the morning. The 4th nap is always an issue. She will go down with a little fussing which is not unusual. But then will wake 30-45 minutes later screaming. From then she will not sleep until bedtime. The only thing that keeps her calm is her pacifier but once it falls out (every 15 minutes or so) she cries again. I have tried putting her in the swing or bouncer but she will not be calm unless she has the pacifier. This is hard because it's dinner time and I have to attend to my 2 year old (my husband is usually working). Because of this I can't really feed her any earlier that her 6:30pm feeding and I also don't think she will be interested because when I do feed her at 6:30pm she is not all that interested as you would think if she was hungry that whole time.

From reading your blog is sounds like she is too young to drop this nap. Is she still too young for a catnap at this time? What ideas do you have to get her to sleep or should I not worry about it? Thanks!

Plowmanators said...

LEM,

I think it sounds like witching hour. See the "witching hour" blog label.

I think she is fine with a short catnap at that age. She is definitely too young to not have it at all, but a catnap will work.

Mandy said...

Hi there - I am struggling with my 7 1/2 month old baby's naps. I thought it might be time to drop his 3rd nap (which was around 5 or 5:30 for 30-45 minutes) because he occassionally started waking up early from his other naps or in the morning. He also seems to be be able to stay up longer now - about 2 to 3 hours so I thought it might be time. I had been putting him down for his 3rd nap only when he needed it and finally this week I decided to drop it cold turkey. However, since I did this it seems like his 2 naps have gotten worse -waking up apx around 45 minutes-1 hour. He is still sleeping well at night - about 12 hours, but I'm confused because I thought by dropping this 3rd nap he would sleep longer during his other naps. It has only been about 1 week since I went cold turkey. Could he just be adjusting and eventually fall back into 1.5 hr naps or is there something else I'm missing?? Thanks for your help!

Erica said...

My baby will be 7 months next week. He wakes up at 6 am, nap #1 at 8-10, nap #2 at 11:30 or 12 to 1:30-2. So that means his last nap should be around 4 oclock. Somedays he will take a 15-45 min nap, otherdays he wont. I know this means he is trying to drop it. His bedtime is 7pm and the days he drops the nap its torture trying to get him to wait until 7pm! Should i move nap #2 until later? He has a really hard time staying awake for longer than 2 hours (hes really tired for nap #3 but cant always fall asleep easily like the other two, we usually have to hold him to get him to take that nap) and Im afraid its going to mess his night time sleep up but I dont know what to do. And I refuse to have his bedtime be before 7, thats the earliest it can be.

Plowmanators said...

Mandy,

I might try going back to having the third nap some days and see how it goes.

Sleep deficits (meaning not enough sleep) causes a child to not sleep well.

However, I honestly wouldn't necessarily put morning nap and afternoon nap being directly impacted by the lack of an evening nap the night before--especially since night sleep is still good. One thing you might try is either adding the nap back in and see what happens or try putting him down 30 minutes early for the night so he sleeps 12.5 hours until he gets used to the less daytime sleep.

If neither of those things help, I would look into other possible causes.

Plowmanators said...

Erica,

My suggestion would be to move bedtime up, but you don't want to do that.

If you have to wake him up from naps, you could try letting him sleep 2.5 hours instead of 2 hours.

You could also consider letting him sleep until 7 in the morning instead of starting at 6 AM. Keep in mind that with these babies, they don't DROP sleep, they REARRANGE it, so you will need to figure out another time of day he can get that extra sleep time in.

Jessica and Deric MIller said...

Hi! My daughter is almost 23 months. We've been a Babywise family from the beginning :)
She has been playing in her bed during naptime during some of the days this week. If she does take a nap, she is taking FOREVER (like 30min-1 1/2hr) to go to sleep at bedtime. We have tried a consistent bedtime, changing the bedtime, changing the naptime, but it doesn't seem to work.
Her's her schedule:
7-7:30am (wakeup)
1pm (naptime)
7:30 (bedtime)

She falls right to sleep for bedtime when she does not have a nap. But, isn't she too young to be dropping a nap? I've read your blogs on sleep concerns during this age, so any additional suggestions you have will be great!

Plowmanators said...

Jessica,

She is definitely too young to drop a nap.

At that age, my policy is to put them in bed when it is sleep time, get them up when it is waketime, and don't stress between :) They just don't sleep well consistently and you can drive yourself crazy trying to figure it out. Give it some time and she should go back to sleeping well.

You can try moving nap back a bit--try it in 5-10 minute increments. Make sure the nap doesn't go too long (and how long too long is depends on her).

fishersmom2be said...

Hi Val,

You've helped me out in the past, so I'm hoping you can come to my rescue again! My little one is 14-1/2 months. We recently went down to 1 nap. She had been doing well with naps, but had a few weeks of sleeping well in the morning, but taking 45-60min to go down in the afternoon.

Converting isn't working - the first few days, she would sleep 3+ hours. But, this week, has decided to sleep a max of 2 hours, sometimes even less. Does this mean she's not ready? She seems generally fussy throughout the day (but not sick), but is still sleeping well at night - 8pm-8am.

Help!

Stephanie

Ryan & Amber said...

After playing with nap times and watching her readiness, I dropped the morning nap cold turkey four days ago (she's almost 17 mos). I know it's normal during the transition for the nap to be a little short, but I was wondering, about how long does it take for them to consistently sleep the 2.5-3 hours? Thanks!

Plowmanators said...

Stephanie,

She probably is not ready.

Most "babies" at 14 months are not ready for one nap day after day. They need it more on a weaning process of some days they have one, others they have two.

I actually prefer to cut back the morning nap at this age and keep two naps. I like to have my days predictable, so I go that route. See the post "dropping the morning nap (2 to 1) transition time" for more. Good luck!

Plowmanators said...

Amber,

I think a couple of weeks is normal. If things don't go to nice naps within two weeks, I would rethink the one-nap choice.

Some go to long naps right away.

snydsy33 said...

i HAVE A 2.75 YR OLD GIRL. sHE HAS BEEN A GREAT NAPPER UNTIL THE LAST FEW MONTHS, SHE HARDLY TAKES HER NAP. sHE WAKES AT 7:30 A.M. then naps at about 1. She usually just plays until I get her at 4 ish. Bed at 8. Any ideas? She's a great nighttime sleeper and always has been.
Thanks,
Rhonda

Amber Wheeler Spatola said...

Hi. I have a question about dropping the morning nap. My son is just about 18 months old and for the past couple weeks has not be taking his afternoon nap. I figured he was ready to drop the morning nap, but every time I have him skip and stay up til 1, he only sleeps max 1.5 hours. Yesterday he only slept 45 mins. How can i ease the transition to 1 nap a day?
here's his schedule:
7 or 7:30 wakes up
11 or 11:30 morning nap
12:30 or 1 lunch
4pm try for an afternoon nap but not gonna happen
8 or 8:30pm bedtime

thanks so much for your help and thank you for your blog!
Amber

snydsy33 said...

Hi Amber, I was just reading your post and wanted to offer my 2 cents, even though you're probably waiting for Val. When my dtr dropped her morning nap (because she wouldn't sleep in the afternoon if she took it), she was a little younger, but same situation. I actually had to move her lunch time up to about 11:00 or 11:30, so that she could go down for her nap early, like 12 or 12:30. Then she would take a longer nap, for 2.5 or 3 hours. I think your LO may be overtired by the time naptime rolls around. And with it at 4 p.m. it would run too close to bedtime anyway. I would try that first. Think of it as his middle-of-the-day nap. :)

Amber Wheeler Spatola said...

Thank you so much for adding your 2 cents! I think you may be right. I'm going to at least try it and see how it goes. It makes sense. Quick question tho: if you give your dtr an early lunch, do you not give her any snacks in the morning so that she will eat lunch early?
Thanks again for the tips! Maybe if I try this, he'll eventually move to a later nap, around 1??

Amber Wheeler Spatola said...

Okay so here's an update on my son, dylan's progress: putting him down earlier (around 11:30) and feeding him at 11 is working out pretty well. He's been sleeping an hour and a half which is way better than 45 mins. It's been about 5 days of this so I'm hoping that after a couple more days, he'll start taking longer naps? Once he gets used to it?

Plowmanators said...

Rhonda, sorry I never got notified of your question! If you are still wondering about this, you might check today's post on inconsistent napping.

Plowmanators said...

Amber, it can be simply just that he needs to get used to it. You might also need to keep a log and track when he needs to go down--get that optimal time.

He might also need a "catnap" in the morning and then a regular afternoon nap. Good luck!

Amber Wheeler Spatola said...

Thanks a lot. I appreciate your input. I'm hoping he'll just get used to it. I've been putting him down around noon and when he gets up at 1 or 1:30, he's up for so long before bedtime. :( I feel like he's getting used to that schedule...but I hope one of these days he just starts sleeping longer for his 1 nap.

snydsy33 said...

Amber, sorry I haven't checked back in a while. I had to really cut back on snacks with my dtr, she would snack and not eatt meals, so hope that answers your question. I'm so glad it's working out. Just make sure you don't rush in as soon as he wakes up. He may go back to sleep for another 30 min or an hour even. I agree that's a long time to be awake between naptime and bedtime, so hopefully you can help him extend that nap. You could try CIO or you could try Tracy Hogg's (Baby Whisperer) put-down method. Either way, hope the nap can get longer for you.
Val, thanks! I did read that post. Hoping my dtr is just going through a phase and will start napping more consistently. But I'm trying not to stress about it. She has some rest days, but most are still nap days. Thanks,

Lindsay said...

Hi, I have a question about when to drop the morning nap. My youngest is 11.5 months old. I find she is too young to drop that nap. However, she is sleeping fine in the morning (1.5 hours) then taking forever to fall asleep for her afternoon nap (1.5 hours). Sometimes it take 1h for her to fall asleep for her afternoon nap and then stays up late at bedtime because she isn't tired yet. I do think she is taking her morning nap because she is staying up late . I was thinking it was time to play around with her morning nap either scale it back to 45mins or 1 hour or drop it all together. What do you suggest? Should I drop it cold turkey or scale it back because she is so young? Thanks Lindsay

Plowmanators said...

Lindsay, I think that is a good idea. You might either shorten it or change the times of the two naps. She might need more time between her two naps. See the dropping the morning nap transition time post. Good luck!

angie said...

Ok, so I have a question about my 4 month old. She is just over 4 months old, and a week or two ago we dropped her 4th nap. She seemed to do pretty well with having an earlier evening feeding, then going down for the night. Well, all of the sudden, she will not sleep for her 3rd nap! She was having a 45min-1hr 3rd nap, which I was content with, but now she won't go to sleep at all for it. Then when I feed her at 4:30 or 5:00, she can barely make it through awake b/c she's so tired. So THEN, she has an evening nap when she's done! Is it ok for her to consistently NOT have her 3rd nap until 5:30 or 6:00??
Here's a sample schedule to give you an idea of how her day looks:
7:00 wake and eat
8:00 nap
10:00 wake and eat
11:15 nap
1:30 wake and eat
3:00 TRY for a nap-but won't sleep
4:30/5:00 eat
6:00 nap
7:30 eat
8:00 bed

thanks for your help!!

Plowmanators said...

Angie,

I think if she consistently didn't have it, it will be bad after a while. But maybe she is ready to not have it some nights but you do others.

kmdhart said...

Hi! First, thank for this blog, it's amazing! I have a question about the 4th nap. My daughter is just over 12 weeks old. She sleeps great for all of her naps and at night.

I feed her between 4 and 4:30, then put her down for a nap an hour later. She sleeps until 5:45-6:15, and then wakes up crying. I go and get her and try to entertain her until 7, but she tends to get really cranky, and then fusses when going down for the night.

My question is, is it time to completely drop that 4th nap, or move her bedtime to 6:30, or some other solution? Thank you!

December 7, 2011 9:12 PM

shannon said...

My 15 month old still takes 2 naps morning and late afternoon. When he wakes at 6:00 am I put him down 8:45-10:30 afternoon 2:45-4:00. Over the last month I have had to push back his afternoon nap later and later because he will not go to sleep earlier than 2:30. Now he has been sleeping in untill 7:00a.m. I have tried putting him down for a later nap at 915-9:30 (for the morning nap)and he does not want to fall asleep. So I have tried 1 nap on those days. I am finding I put him down around 12:15 and he is up and crying by 2:00. I let him cry for a good 30 minutes and nothing. A Few times he slept until 3:00. My question is how can I get him to sleep longer so he is not over tired by dinner? He sleeps through night and has always taken great naps. He gets plenty of food at lunch and has a full tummy. Thank you Shannon

michelle said...

If I slowly weened my 13 mo daughter off the am nap and she has adjusted well but is only sleeping 2 hours in the afternoon could that mean she wasn't ready to drop the morning nap and should go back to 2?

Plowmanators said...

kmdhart,

You are welcome for the blog!

At 12 weeks, I wouldn't say drop the nap yet, but now she is a couple of weeks older and you could try it. She is, however, sleeping a good amount for the nap, so I think for her to be up from I am guessing 2:30/3:00ish until bedtime will be too long.

It might be some form of witching hour.

I might try feeding her sooner than 7 and see if that helps her to be happier when going down for the night.

Plowmanators said...

Shannon, this is a very hard transition time (see the post on the "transition time" for nap dropping). The child isn't quite ready for one nap, but two naps is also a bit too much. That post should give you some ideas.

Plowmanators said...

Michelle, it could definitely mean that. She might not sleep for two now, but I would be very aware of her sleep. If she starts not sleeping well at night or for her nap, it would likely mean a "sleep deficit" has built up (as discussed in Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child) and she needs more sleep. If she sleeps well, then she might just be a two hour napper.

michelle said...

She seems to always wake around 5am ut puts herself back to sleep until 6:15/6:30. My son always wakes early, around 6/6:30 so I assumed my kids would just wake early. If I recall correctly, she was up a few times through the night when we were still taking the am nap. Now it seems that she sleeps straight through but wakes early. I wonder if I try to go back to the am nap and see what happens. She was having a very hard time going to sleep during the naps so I figured that meant she didn't need as much sleep anymore. However, when she was taking the two naps it was an hour in the morning and 1.5 to 2 hour long in the afternoon. Can they really only need 2 hours at one year to 13 months?

Plowmanators said...

Michelle, my thought is no, she needs more than two hours. But I wouldn't say that absolutely no 13 month old will ever not just be a two hour a day napper. I think it is possible, but not very likely.

You can always try the morning nap back in and see what happens. Good luck!

michelle said...

Here is my question though...if she needed more sleep wouldn't we see signs such as crankiness, needing to wake her in the morning or at the afternoon nap or something that indicates she isn't happy and not getting enough sleep? She sleeps thru the night and is very happy during the day. She doesn't rub her eyes in the morning during the time that would be her morning nap. So I guess that's why I am not really sure.

Plowmanators said...

The thing to watch for is a behavior change. And with children, remember they don't look tired like adults look tired. See my post "upcited" for more on that.

So long as she is happy and sleeping well in the night, then it should be fine.

michelle said...

Here is my question for you...we did bring back the am nap and she slept one hour in the morning and 2hours in the afternoon...slept through the night too. Aren't kids suppose to show signs if they need more sleep? She didn't so that on 2naps...very content, happy, no problems. I'm not sure when I would transition her back off to 2 naps. Thanks!

michelle said...

I'm having a very hard time. My daughter is 14 months and I transitioned her off of 2 naps a month ago. She did very well and dind't show any signs of needing more sleep other than her one nap was only 2 hours long. I was advised to put her back on the 2 naps so I did and she slept for an hour in the morning and 2 hours in the afternoon the first day. However, every day since then she either doesn't sleep at all in the afternoon or it takes her over an hour to fall asleep so she only gets an hour or so. Does this mean I should put her back to one nap if she isn't sleeping well with two? My concern is that she needs more sleep than 2 hours a day.

Plowmanators said...

Michelle, if she isn't sleeping well with two naps, you can try one, but you might need to change what time of day she starts her nap.

Johanna Lee said...

Hello Val! I'd like to echo all the comments about how helpful and encouraging your blog is. I have a question about my son. He is a week shy of being eleven months - is there any way he might be ready to drop the morning nap (or maybe shorten it)? His normal wake up time is 6:45-7:00 and morning nap is 9:00-10:30 or 10:45. Lunch is 11:00, then afternoon nap at approximately 1:15-2:45. I give him a snack at 3:00, supper at 5:00, then a bedtime feed and he is down by 6:45.

For the past four days, I have put him in his crib at 9:00 like normal, but he has not gone to sleep for a good hour. No fussing, just playing. He sleeps nearly the normal length of time once he finally goes to sleep (so lunch has been later than usual). For the afternoon nap, he has done the same thing - playing his crib until almost 4:00. The afternoon nap is shorter - only about 45 minutes. There haven't been any other significant changes - no apparent teething or anything like that. It just seems way too early to be dropping the morning nap and I would like to know what you think. Thanks!

LeahD said...

Hi Val,

My 6 month old is changing her schedule on me, and I'm not sure what to do. I think she is ready to drop her third nap, but I am worried she is too young (only 26 weeks).

Currently her schedule looks like this:
7AM- Wake up/Feed
9AM- We go running and she falls asleep in the stroller
11AM- Wake up/Feed (sometimes she wakes up earlier and sometimes I wake her up)
1PM- Nap
2:30-3 Wake up/Feed
5/530-6:00 Nap (I almost always wake her up now)
6:45-7 Dinner
8:25-Down for the night

Lately she has been staying up longer than 2 hours almost all her wakes times- sometimes even 3! Reading other posts, she has always been more awake than other babies at her given age.

This puts me in an odd place where if she doesn't nap til 10am, then again until 3pm, there isn't time for a 3rd nap. I have always protected her naps and nighttime sleep fiercely, and I am worried this might be too soon even though she insists on staying up!

Lastly, if her first nap is 10am-12pm, she would be going longer than 4 hours between feedings. Can I be flexible here?

Thanks for all the help you give so many wondering moms!!

shannon said...

My little girl is almost 11 weeks. She is doing perfect with feelings and naps and night sleep. I'm wondering when she wakes early from her 4th nap which usually happens after an hour do I try to entertain her until appropriate feeding time, feed her early, or wait a little longer to put her down for that nap so she wakes closer to my desired time to feed? We do 7,10:30,1:00ish 4:00 and try to aim for 7:00 then a dream feed around 10:15 but usually with how cranky she gets I feed her around 6:40 p.m then put her right down but when that happens her sleep has been not as sound for a couple hours after? Any suggestions
Blessings,
Shannon

Beth said...

Hi! I have a 12 month old son who is struggling to take 2 good naps per day. He either takes 2 poor naps or 1 good nap (Staying awake for the 2nd nap). I was thinking that maybe I need to adjust his awake time like you did for your daughter. Do you remember what a typical day was like when she was that age? I'm afraid that it will mean that I have to put my son down later in the afternoon. Maybe I'm being selfish, but I need a break in the afternoon with both my son and 4-year-old daughter sleeping! I have been putting them both down at 1:30, but he's been playing in his crib for 1.5 hours before falling asleep on the days that he has a decent morning nap. Any suggestions? How much wake time should be in between the 2 naps? Thanks! :)

May said...

Hi! I have a 12 months old, and her morning nap has been poor for almost 2 months now! She can only sleep for only 20-45 min. I have tried varying the WT from 2-3 hours, but it still takes her a long time to fall asleep and stay asleep for longer than 45 min. Her afternoon nap is fine though, she can fall asleep easily (WT = 3 hrs) and sleep for 2-3 hours. The only time when she has trouble falling asleep for her afternoon nap was when she actually slept well for her morning nap, which has happened a couple of times. Does that mean she's ready to drop her morning nap? Does it seem too early?? Any suggestions? Also she stopped STTN consistently, so I wondered if that has something to do with her naps. Any thoughts and advice? Thank you!

Valerie Plowman said...

Without the night issue going on, I would say to not worry about it. Taking a short morning nap is a common step in the process of dropping naps. I would say no, she isn't ready to drop it, but she probably will be ready at a young age--about 14 months.

Did the naps and night start at the same time? If so, they are likely connected. If not, I wouldn't put them together. Think about what has changed since she started waking at night. What things are different in life?

*kate* said...

Hi. My daughter is 10.5 months and we are struggling with naps and bedtime.

She went from taking two 2 hr naps to two 1.5 hr naps to only taking one 1.5 hr nap in a matter of days.

Yesterday she had one 2 hr nap and that was it. Today she is back to two 1.5 hr naps.

The only problem is she isn't tired and cries in her crib up to 30 mins before passing out. (I've tried shortening waketime, but that just results in zero naps)

When she does take two naps, she isn't tired for bed at night. And cries off and on for hours... :(

Today our schedule has been

7:30 wake and eat breakfast
9:45 -11:45 nap (cried for 25 mins before falling asleep)
12 lunch
3:00-5:00 nap (cried for 25 mins before falling asleep)
Now this leaves us with hardly any waketime before bed tonight.

Old schedule which stopped working was
8 wake and eat
10-12 nap
2:30-4:30 nap
5:50 supper
7:45 bottle & bedtime routine
8 bed

Lately she has been waking almost 1 hr before she is supposed to wake up in the morning.

Should I shorten the morning nap or afternoon nap?

Valerie Plowman said...

I would try shortening the morning nap a bit by putting her down a little later. I would start with 10 minutes later and see how that goes. Then get her up when she should get up.

May said...

Thanks so much for responding to my last post. The nap and night issues did not start the same time. Her night issue started when she got sick (a cold, then roseola + ear infection) last month. Now she's been well for almost 1 month, but she's still having trouble STTN consistently. Actually the problem has got worse the last 10 days. Before, she would wake around 4 out 7 nights, but now she's been waking almost every night. Usually if I nurse her, she would go right back to sleep. I actually have tried CIO a few times, but she didn't seem to sleep well after she cried. She would also wake up at least 1 hr before her morning waketime if i didn't do any night feeding. There was also one night where she cried and fell back asleep for ~1 h, and then cried again. It was 5am, I gave her the cup and she eagerly drank from it. It seemed to me that she was actually really thirsty or hungry, because she normally doesn't like the cup much. On the other had, she's already 12 months old, and eats/drink/nurse well during the day (~22 lbs). She also started STTN when she was 4.5 months old, so it's been puzzling to us why she suddenly stopped STTN. Do you think CIO would help? Any suggestions would be much appreciated!

Her schedule
7:30 – wake (6-6:30 if i didn't nurse her at night)
10:30 – nap (9- 9:30 if woke early)
11:15 - wake, nurse (10 if woke early)
12:00 - lunch
2:00 – nurse, nap (I nurse her before this nap because her waketime is so long.) (1:00 if woke early)
4:00-4:30 – wake, nurse, snack (3:00 if woke early)
6:00 - Dinner
7:30 - nurse, bedtime (7:00 if woke early)

Valerie Plowman said...

Maybe she is thirsty? I would try letting her sleep with a sippy cup of water in her bed. If you are in the northern hemisphere, it is summer and hot and she might just need more fluids.

Krista Earl said...

Hello!

First of all, thank you for your blog! It has been a lifesaver for my husband and me for our daughter who is 12 weeks old. We knew we wanted to do Babywise and read the book, but having your blog for more in-depth questions while we are in the thick of it has been amazing.

Our daughter is still on a 2.5-3 hour schedule, but is struggling with her naps and I think I may be needing to drop one, but wanted some help figuring that out. Here is her typical schedule:

7:00 wake/feed (I have to wake her every day)
8:15 down for nap
between 9:30-10 wake/feed
11:15 down for nap
12:30 wake/feed
1:45 down for nap
3:00-3:30 wake/feed
4:30 down for nap
5:30 wake/feed
6:30-7 nap
8:00 wake/feed
8:45 down for the night

We have been really struggling to get her to nap that last slot around 6:30, and sometimes even the previous nap is a rough go (doesn't happen or is only 45 minutes at most.) It seems like I should be combining those 2 naps into one, but I don't know. In Babywise the next transition they have is to go from 5 to 3 naps at 4 months, so I am wondering if the 5th nap is kind of variable from one baby to the next. Any tips you can give me I would so appreciate! We worked through the witching hour, but it just seems like her naps go from great (waking her after 2 hours sometimes for that first nap) to progessively shorter and less dependable as the day goes on.

Thank you!

Krista Earl said...

I forgot to mention that we dropped the dreamfeed around 10 weeks since it was interuppting her night time sleep; she has only woken up once in the middle of the night since then, and we have to wake her at 7 every morning so I am assuming we are past that if that is helpful to note!

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