Dropping the 3rd Nap (evening) Gradually

Information on Dropping the 3rd Nap (evening) Gradually

Toddler sleeping and sucking fingers

I am currently dropping the 3rd nap with Kaitlyn. She is doing it differently than Brayden did, so I wanted to share. You can read Everything You Need to Know About Dropping Naps here, but Kaitlyn has some quirks that are her own. 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 sleep routine, 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 Dropping Nap 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

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