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Article: When Do Babies Drop To One Nap?

When Do Babies Drop To One Nap?

When Do Babies Drop To One Nap?

In the process of parenting, caregivers often scratch their heads when their babies are going through the shift from two naps to one. It's a big step of transition in your little one's development. 

But when exactly does your baby make this transition? We'll explore this question in this blog post. 

What is a nap?

First, let's understand what a nap is. Essentially, a nap is a short sleep during the day, usually lasting anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours. 

These naps are vital to your baby's growth and development, allowing their body and brain to rest and recharge. Babies typically nap multiple times a day, with the number and length of naps varying depending on their age and individual needs. These daytime naps play a vital role in helping babies stay happy, healthy, and well-rested, and grow better. 

Why do babies need naps?

There are several reasons why babies need naps:

Brain Development: 

Naps are critical to the brain development of infants and toddlers. During sleep, their brains process and consolidate new information, helping with memory formation and learning.


Growth hormone is released primarily during sleep, so naps help an infant's body grow and develop.

Mood Regulation: 

Naps can help babies regulate their moods by reducing their irritability and crankiness. Well-rested babies are usually happier and more content.

Physical Rest: 

Like adults, infants need physical rest to recover from the day's activities. Naps provide the rest necessary for their bodies to recharge.

Prevent overstimulation: 

Babies are easily overstimulated by the sights, sounds, and activities around them. Naps allow them to take a break from stimulation and relax.

Help Establish Healthy Sleep Patterns:

Establishing healthy sleep habits early can lay the foundation for good sleep. Regular naps help babies develop a consistent sleep pattern, which improves nighttime sleep as they grow older.

Overall, naps are essential for the overall well-being and development of babies, both physically and mentally.


Baby nap schedule by age

Below is a personal recommended sheet detailing a typical baby nap schedule by age:

Note: Every baby is unique, and nap durations can vary. These schedules provide general guidelines based on average sleep needs.

Newborn (0-3 months):

Newborns typically nap for short periods throughout the day, often lasting 30 minutes to 2 hours at a time.

They may nap every 1-2 hours, totaling around 14-17 hours of sleep per day.

Infant (4-6 months):

Infants at this age may still take multiple naps per day, but they may start to consolidate their sleep into longer stretches.

They might nap 3-4 times a day, with each nap lasting around 1-2 hours.

Total daily sleep duration can range from 12-16 hours.

Baby (7-12 months):

Babies between 7 and 12 months old usually transition to 2-3 naps per day.

Naps may vary in length, with morning and afternoon naps typically lasting 1-2 hours and a shorter catnap in the late afternoon.

Total daily sleep duration remains around 12-16 hours.

Toddler (1-2 years):

Toddlers typically transition to one nap per day, usually around midday.

This nap can last anywhere from 1.5 to 3 hours.

Total daily sleep duration typically decreases slightly to 11-14 hours.

Toddler (2-3 years):

By the age of 2-3, most toddlers transition to one longer nap per day.

This nap typically lasts 1.5 to 3 hours and usually occurs after lunch.

Total daily sleep duration remains around 11-14 hours.

Remember, these schedules are general guidelines, and individual babies may have different sleep needs and patterns. It's essential to observe your baby's cues and adjust their nap schedule accordingly to ensure they're well-rested.

When do babies drop to one nap?

Most babies make the transition from two naps to one somewhere between the ages of 12 and 24 months. It's quite a range because every baby is different. 

Generally, you'll start to notice signs that your little one is ready for the transition. Parents should adjust their baby's nap schedule accordingly. Every baby is on their own timeline, so don't stress if your friend's baby dropped to one nap earlier or later than yours. Take it easy and go with the flow, and you'll find the right timing for your little one.

Signs baby is ready to drop to one nap

Here are some signs that a baby might be ready to drop down to one nap:

Prolonged morning awakenings: 

Baby begins to wake up for long periods of time in the morning, but shows no signs of fatigue.

Resistance to naps: 

Babies begin to resist or boycott their usual nap times, especially afternoon naps.

Longer naps: 

When babies nap, they sleep for longer periods of time, perhaps combining sleep from two shorter naps into one longer nap.

Increased alertness: 

Babies seem more alert and energized when they are awake, which suggests that they may be well-rested after only one nap.

Persistent non-nap: 

The baby frequently misses naps but shows no obvious signs of fatigue or irritability.

Improved nighttime sleep: 

Taking only one nap may improve your baby's nighttime sleep, sleeping longer at night and not waking as often.

Keep in mind that these signs can vary from baby to baby, so it's important to observe your baby's behavior and adjust nap times accordingly.

How to transition to 1 nap?

Here's a guide on how to transition your baby to one nap:

Observe your baby's cues: 

Pay attention to your baby's behavior and sleep patterns to determine if they are ready for the transition. Signs that they may be ready include: 

  • Resisting one of their usual nap times.
  • Taking longer to fall asleep for a nap.
  • Staying off their nap without showing signs of tiredness.

Gradually adjust nap times: 

If your baby usually takes two naps a day, gradually adjust the timing of one to coincide with the other. Start by delaying the morning nap by 15-30 minutes every few days until it coincides with the afternoon nap so that the midday nap is longer.

Extended Wake Time: 

As you transition to only one nap, your baby's wakefulness will naturally lengthen. Gradually extend the time between naps to accommodate this change. For example, if your baby used to nap every 2-3 hours, you can make the wake time 4-5 hours before they take a nap.

Establish a consistent nap routine: 

Establish a predictable nap routine that signals to your baby that it's "time to rest." This may include activities such as reading a book, dimming the lights, wearing a sleep sack, and playing soothing music.

Encourage a quiet environment: 

Make sure your baby's napping environment is conducive to sleep. Keep the room dim, quiet, and cool, and consider using white noise to block out any distracting sounds.

Maintain flexibility: 

Transitions take time, and your baby's sleep needs may fluctuate during the adjustment period. Be patient and flexible, and be prepared to adjust your approach based on your baby's cues and reactions.

Monitor sleep patterns: 

Pay close attention to your baby's sleep patterns and behaviors to ensure they are getting enough rest during the transition. Adjust nap times or durations as needed for any signs of overtiredness or difficulty sleeping soundly.

By following these steps and paying attention to your baby's needs, you can make a smooth transition to napping only once a day and establish a new napping routine that works for you and your baby.


In summary, the transition from two naps to one is a natural part of your baby's development and usually occurs between 12 and 24 months of age. 

While there is a general schedule, each baby is unique and signs of readiness will vary. By watching for cues and gradually adjusting the nap schedule, caregivers can help their baby make a smooth transition to napping only once a day. 

During this adjustment, it is vital to remain flexible and patient, trusting your instincts and responding to your baby's changing sleep needs. Eventually, with time and perseverance, most babies adapt to their new nap routines, thus adapting to their changing sleep patterns and setting the stage for continued growth and development.

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Yujia Shi

An expert in sleep sack design, is a valued contributor to Kaiya Baby's blog. With a strong background in baby sleep bags and maternal care, she is highly regarded for her professionalism. Yujia Shi prioritizes baby comfort and safety in her designs, using high-quality materials. Her insightful articles on sleep bags have been featured in reputable publications and have gained a significant readership. Trust Yujia Shi to help you create a comfortable and safe sleep environment for your baby, backed by her proven track record in the industry.

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