It’s been a busy two weeks in our house! Although I knew the theory behind this nap transition, and have done it many times before with clients, I have to be honest I was somewhat dreading it with the twins!
Firstly, how did I know they were ready to transition to one nap and what should you be looking out for before you decide to make this transition?
- So, bedtime was becoming more and more of a struggle. Lots of crying and taking at least 20 to 30 minutes to go to sleep. This is a common sign that the second nap it’s too close to bedtime. The consequence of this is that there is not enough sleep pressure for them to get to sleep easily at bedtime. The only way to increase awake windows in this situation is moved to one nap.
- Nighttime waking’s for over 30 minutes. This can also be known as a split night. This is another sign that there is not enough sleep pressure at bedtime to get your little ones through the night. One of my twins did this but the other did not. Sometimes this can be solved by capping one of the naps and making sure total daytime sleep does not exceed 2.5 hours. However, sometimes a transition to one nap is the only solution for this.
- Refusing a second nap. If your little one is having a good first nap, but refusing a second nap is a good indication that they are ready to extend their awake windows and make the leap from two naps to one.
It’s really important to make this transition at the right time for your baby. If one or more of the issues above are happening on a regular basis and this is a good indication, it’s time to take the leap.
So how do you do it?
On the first day, give your little one lunch early around 11 am and get them down by 11:15-11:30.
Every 2 days increase their awake window, by 10 minutes until you get bed time to 12 pm. Depending on how long they sleep for, it may be necessary to bring bedtime forward to 6:30pm for a few days. This does not mean bedtime will be 6:30pm forever, but it’s very important to avoid overtiredness during these not transitions. For me, on the days where my twins napped for less than two hours, I brought bed time forward to 6:30pm. This worked well and they went to sleep within 10 minuets.
Mornings for the first 1 to 2 weeks will be difficult as your little ones will still be tired in the morning at their old nap time. This is completely normal! My twins would still go to sleep at 10 am if I allowed them to. The best advice for this difficult few weeks is to get out as much as possible in the mornings! This keeps them stimulated enough to not fall asleep and makes it more bearable for you as parents!
They may not be hungry enough to eat a full lunch before they go down for their nap initially. When they wake up in the afternoon, give them a bigger snack to make sure they have enough energy to last them until dinner time. Sometimes it can feel like they need two small lunches rather than one big lunch for a few weeks.
As the get older (over 18 months) you can usually get nap time to around 1pm. However, be careful not to let them nap for too long or this will start to affect their bed time sleep pressure due to a shorter awake window in the afternoon.
These can seem like really long awake windows for our little ones but it’s worth it in the end! After the first day of 1 nap I have had no night waking’s and hardly any protesting at bed time!