Right around the time when sleep starts to become more predictable and by the clock (5-6 months), naps regulate (5-7 months), and nighttime sleep should be coming together nicely (6-9 months), your baby may begin to regress. I know what you are thinking! No, not again!
Sometime between 6-9 months your little dreamer will drop the third nap and in order to tell you it is time to make that change, you may see some regressions. Essentially your baby will communicate with you when she is ready to drop that third nap in a number of ways. She may refuse to take a third nap or resist bedtime. Perhaps she will begin to wake more frequently at night, or maybe she will begin to wake earlier and earlier in the morning. All these indicators have the same common denominator, she doesn’t need as much sleep, and she is compensating the best way she knows how. Once you see these signs for about a week straight, you will know it is time to make the transition.
The earliest babies will transition is at 6 months and the latest is at 9 months. Most babies transition sometime between 7-8 months. I recommend waiting as long as possible before you make the transition. The older a baby is, the better and easier to make that adjustment.
Here is a generic example of what your schedule might look like making the transition closer to 8 or 9 months, and then a schedule of what you will aim for after transitioning.
7am wake up
9-10am first nap
12:30-2:00pm second nap
4:30-5:15pm third nap
9:30-11:00am first nap
2:00-3:30pm second nap
Essentially, what you will do is put your baby to bed later for the first nap. Next stretch the awake time between the first and second nap. Then allow more time between the last nap and bedtime, follow up with an earlier bedtime. It will likely take a good week for your baby to adjust and possibly closer to a month to lengthen naptimes out. This means you may need to compensate with a super early bedtime (as early as 5pm) until then. The younger the baby, the shorter the wake periods and the earlier the bedtime. Here are some examples of both three and two nap schedules for different ages: 6 month, 7-8 month, 9 month.
Want help making the transition? Not sure if your baby is ready? Want a customized schedule for your baby? I am here to help you get that one-on-one help you need to continue with great sleep through nap transitions. Let’s schedule a consultation to arm you with the custom tools you need to rock this!
You are also always welcome to come participate in my free Q&A’s* held weekly. You can share your situation, and I will give my experienced advice on the best course of action!
There are lots of options and ways to get the help you need and keep or start sleeping well!