Episode 9: Navigating Nap Transitions | Baby's Best Sleep

Naps can be tricky at the best of times, but when it’s time to change nap schedules, it can feel like the world is crashing down around you. Never fear, Amanda is here! Tune in for advice, tips and tricks for navigating the transitions like a pro.
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Amanda:
Hey guys, welcome back. It is a balmy night in Toronto and recording this at night and it’s, it’s really frigging hot. I’m trying not to sweat out everything in my body, but, uh, I am failing. I am failing at that today. I can’t complain, I’m not going to complain actually because it was so awful. This winter was awful. If you were in Toronto, I dunno, maybe if you’re somewhere else in Canada this was the case for you as well, but it was just constantly gray and raining and, uh, or snowing and cold. And I just couldn’t deal with the gray. So I, I am taking in all of this sunshine with open arms. I don’t care if I sweat my face off. I don’t care what my hair looks like. And, and this is saying something guys. Um, screw it. So I am sorry. I complained. I take everything I said back. Um, I’m just saying it’s balmy. It’s balmy, but I’m ready for it guys. I really, I’m here for it.

Okay. So, um, this week’s question, uh, well, I, again, I, I’m always tackling the most popular comment. I’ve got several questions on this actually, um, is on nap transitions and you have probably, uh, messaged me about this on Instagram. Uh, I’m @babysbestsleep by the way. If you’re finding me through iTunes, I do have a, uh, a pretty active Instagram and I give lots of good tips, so that’s @babysbestsleep. Um, but if you’ve messaged me through Instagram or sent me an email, um, thank you so much. I love these podcast questions. It really informs the work I do and it’s kind of like being an old parent sometimes that I think I know what people want to hear. Um, and to some extent I do because I do this work. Um, but it’s really good to know what is, is top of mind. Um, naps for sure are, are top of mind for many people. Um, because they’re tricky. They’re tricky for me. I never over promise with naps with clients, I always tell clients like, look, this is going to take some time. Um, your nights are gonna look really gorgeous, but your naps are, are the mountain right. They’re the hill is actually the nighttime, which is not, which is not fun. Have I said that on this podcast before? I’m Prob, I’m hoping not to repeat all of my, my one-liners, but I’m going to, I’m going to, and then clients of mine will be like, “oh my God, Amanda, you said that to me already.” So sorry guys. I, I repeat myself.

Um, okay. So this question comes from Nikki and she says, “Hey, Amanda am loving the podcast. I hope that you can do one on nap transitions. I believe my my old daughter is ready to transition from three naps to two, but I have no idea where to start. Thanks so much.” Okay. Um, Nikki, thank you once again, so much for, for reaching out with this question. Um, and you are not alone. I got lots of questions on transitioning to one nap, um, from three to two, from four to three when to do it. And it all seems really, really scary. Uh, which I totally understand. Um, so I think that, you know, first things first, um, I, I’m a huge believer in “a problem is only a problem if it’s a problem.” And Nikki, you didn’t actually mention this directly, uh, that there was a specific problem but you did allude to your daughter being ready. Um, and there are some signs of readiness that kids do try, um, or do, do show, I mean if you are eight months, you have an eight month old baby and they’re on three naps and your life is good and you’re loving your life, then I don’t think that you actually need to do the transition. Um, there are usually clear signs from your baby that they are ready to make that transition. Um, so again, don’t rush is my first advice for everyone. Don’t rush because so and so’s baby is your age and born two days apart and they’re on two naps and you know, they’re living their best life, blah, blah, blah. Um, so, so just be wary of that.

I did have a client once, it was funny. Um, she had called me, um, we did our work. It was actually twins. Um, we did our work together and things were going well and she called me about three, three months later and she’s like, Amanda, the twins are eight months and they’re still on three naps. And I was like, okay, well talk to me about how long they are. Well, they’re an hour each. Okay. Are they falling asleep? Okay. Yeah, they’re, they’re doing well. I’m like, well, let’s just leave it. She’s like, okay, well let’s have a call anyway. Let’s do it next week. So I have a plan. I’m like, okay, no problem. So literally we go and we get on the call and she’s like, oh, okay. We’ve had some very clear signs and um, actually they transitioned quite nicely on their own and we’ll talk about what that would look like as well.

Um, okay, so first things first. So nap transitions. Um, they can be tricky because sometimes kids just protest naps, right? Naps suck. Uh, the, the light outside is bright. Uh, kids like light. We are all, uh, we all see the sun and we’re like, yes, I want to be awake. I don’t want to sleep. I will never sleep ever again. Um, and our children are very biologically linked to the sun. So, um, naps for everybody are trickier. They are usually when your child is going through some sort of developmental leap, they’re the first to be hit. So suddenly they’ll start protesting in nap when they go down where they never did or their naps get super short. That would be common leap behaviour. So make sure that you have downloaded the Wonder Weeks app on the app store. They should sponsor this podcast. I’m going to reach out to them. I say that every week. I think I need to start taking notes while I do my podcast to remember everything that I say. I try to listen to my podcast after, but it’s me talking and that’s more terrifying. Let’s see, I’m writing this down right now. Wonder Weeks. Okay. So the Wonder Weeks app will tell you when your child is going through a developmental leap. Now, just because they’re in a developmentally doesn’t mean that there will be some sort of a sleep issue, but there might be. So that would be my first spot. If, if your child is suddenly rejecting a nap, which is a common side, that they are ready to transition before you do transition, check that they’re not in a leap first. If they are in a leap, give it two weeks, give them some time. Persistence. Um, you know, maybe adjust the wake window’s a little bit and we’ll talk about that, uh, during this podcast as well. But I wouldn’t be rushing to get rid of the nap just because of a three day process. Sometimes leaps can be difficult and, um, it can take about two weeks and then, and then you’ll see a change. Um, so yeah, I guess the first time would be protesting a nap and that doesn’t mean they’ve always protested in nap. You know, if they’ve always protested every sleep situation, then it’s probably not related to getting rid of an nap. Um, I would probably just call me if that’s the case, definitely call me. Um, but, uh, yeah, sorry, just going back to, um, the, the rejection of the nap. So it’ll, it’ll be something like they really, really start protesting that nap. So, um, you know, they don’t seem tired at the nap, so when you go to put them down, they legitimately, they’re protesting ’cause they may be under tired. Um, so again, my, my first course of action in that case would be extending the wake windows. So for most kids, um, again, this is general advice based on what I see. Mostly. I do see outliers in every age. So don’t hear this and immediately try to take your kid off whatever naps they’re on. If it’s working, I wouldn’t change anything.

Um, but generally what I see is, uh, between, you know, a newborns, I mean they’re sleeping all the time, but generally we’re at like four to five naps. Uh, four to six month olds are generally on three to four naps, four naps usually for four and five month olds. And then even some six month olds are ready to go down to two naps. Um, but at six months old I would say, you know, between two to three naps, um, seven to twelve or I would even say seven to 15 months old. We were looking at tune outs for quite some time, so one in the morning, um, and one in the afternoon. Um, and uh, yeah, and, and we don’t want to rush these transitions because if we do rush them and baby isn’t getting adequate daytime sleep, it might start to impact your nights or you might start to have over tiredness that builds over a long time. Um, and then you start to get early mornings and, and more protests before bed. Um, so, you know, that’s the general idea. Um, so I would say that if you are, you know, at eight months, it would be very appropriate Nikki for your child to be at two naps. Um, but I would look for one that, that resisting of the nap or looking really, really under tired.

Um, the other sign that they’re ready to transition is actually a shorter nap. Um, so that’s when a baby falls asleep. And then is, you know, despite your best efforts of, uh, you’re not helping them to sleep because you listened to my Crap Nap podcast already, so you’re not gonna do that. Right guys? You’re not gonna help them to sleep. You put them down completely independently. Um, there’s nothing else helping them to sleep and they’re consistently having shorter than average naps. So between 30 and 45 minutes when they usually have an hour. And an hour is a good amount of time for an app. Um, so if your child is getting it, but an hour that, that looks good to me. Um, so we want to, yeah, those are generally the two signs and, and that it’s consistent protest of the nap or consistent early wake. So I actually just this week, um, dealt with a client with this problem. Um, she had dealt with him, you know, almost three weeks of a really short, um, second nap and she didn’t quite know what was going on and wanted to know if the baby needed to go down to one nap, but the baby was 10 months old and that, that’s really early. A 10 month old is very unlikely to go five or six hours. Um, you know, before bed or first thing in the morning, it would be very challenging. So I advised against that.

Um, so that brings me to my first tip here guys, is that before you do any knap transition, the first step would be to extend the wake window. And this is after, you know, there’s been several days of, of nap rejection. So, you know, three to three to five days of saying, F-you mom or dad, I’m not doing this. Uh, then you’re gonna just want to extend the wake window. Um, people are really friggin afraid of doing this. I can’t, like, I can’t convince people to extend their wake window sometimes because we’ve all been drilled into how horrible over tiredness is. You know, like if your baby is over tired, it is the ultimate bad thing in the baby sleep world, right? Um, when in actuality it is hard to make your baby over tired to the point where it is that dismantling. Like, so let me give you an example. So let’s say your child is, um, you know, your child is typically is eight months and they’re typically going down every two to two and a half hours. And then at the two and a half hour mark, they start to show, um, you know, sleepy signs. So we panic. We just put them to bed. Um, if they get over tired is probably going to mean more protests at the next sleep situation. That’s fine. Um, but they’re not dealing with chronic over tiredness. If you have a baby that’s sleeping all throughout the night and generally well during the day and getting like taking their sleep pressure off, they are not going to die when you keep them up 30 to 30 minutes to an hour. So I hope that’s really reassuring to you. They are going to show signs that they’re ready to go to bed. Um, and we might actively have to push them to that point. Um, which can be, you know, I’ve been at home with two babies. It sucks to just hang out longer with a baby that’s cranky, right? Um, for those of you making those transitions now in the summer months, um, take your baby outside, expose them to the sun, bring some water toys outside, let them play with the water a little bit even touching it. And feeling them, it, it wakes, it wakes them up. It’s a great sensory activity. Um, and it’s fun for you. It’s something different. Change up your environment, you know, go to a different spot in the house where you play. You know, if you’re always in the living room, maybe moving to your bedroom or baby’s bedroom to play. Um, we’ll just change it up and you know, put a lot of questions in baby’s head to keep them awake.

So I yeah, you do and you will have to push those wake windows. Um, I will link to the blog that I posted with my wake window chart in it so you can take a look at what’s most appropriate for your child and where they, where they could be based on their age and stage. So first I’m going to ask you to push it. The wake window. Now for, um, I would say many of you transitioning from three to two naps. That should be about enough to push out that third nap. So, for example, I assume Nikki, that if you are getting three naps a day in a, you have a shorter week window of about two to two and a half hours. So then when you push up that wake window, um, it is going to be a little bit challenging for you to get there and then you’re probably going to have two shorter naps. My rule, my rule of thumb is if that last nap ends after 2:30pm and you’re like, you don’t think that you can get another nap in cause like a three hour wake window at that point would give you an app at 5:30pm and why would you do that? So we would have to plow forward with a longer wake window before bed, which is totally fine to do. In those cases. Your child can have a longer wake window before bed cause they’re just about to embark on hopefully 12 of sleep, 10 to 12 hours of sleep. Um, so I think that’s all, that’s all fine and good. Um, so, so do that. You might have to have an early bedtime.

Um, no problem. If you are trying to transition from, you know, four to three naps, uh, again, this is really going to help you as well. It should happen naturally when you push it the week window. Um, so I, I mean I never hear about a four to three nap transition cause it usually happens because the naps get longer and the wake window gets longer. So, um, for many people going from three to two naps can be tricky because at first their babies might not be sleeping so long because they are micro over tired. Notice the word usage of the modifier ‘micro’, uh, because they could be overtired. Um, but you know, that just might mean some shorter sleep in the moment, but it definitely, it definitely should get better. Um, so yes, I just have to collect my thoughts there. So you’re going to push out that nap if you’ve done the wake window and that still hasn’t happened. Um, like the, the nap hasn’t gone away on its own. You might want to think about introducing a schedule. So that’s basically picking a couple of times and putting your baby down at the same time every day. So my typical times are between nine and ten, depending on, on what time they wake. So if they’re waking it around six, you’re probably going to do your nap closer to two, about nine. And if they wake at around seven, then it’s probably a 10:00 AM nap. So that generally looks for most clients like a nine and one nap schedule and a ten and two. And you’re kind of just forcing it. So Nikki, if you are, um, if you are doing that, uh, if you’re pushing out the wake window and it still hasn’t helped with your baby, then you can force a schedule and kind of make it happen. Um, so yeah, that’s that. Uh, before I talked to you about, uh, the transition to, to, um, to one app, I do want to remind you that I always do a free discovery call for those looking for, uh, some guidance and working with the consultant.

So during my discovery call, uh, I go in depth. I have, I do a little mini evaluation with you to kind of figure out what the issue is. Uh, I talked to you about what the issue is. Um, and then we can talk about what working together looks like. So I’m going to tell you as much information as I can without, you know, having a proper evaluation. Um, but yeah, it’s an important step in working with a consultant. And again, working with a consultant means that sleep training and helping your child sleep isn’t a horrible, horrendous, ongoing thing. Most of my clients are sleeping in three days or less. Uh, and I have a real, like I have very happy clients. You can look at my, uh, reviews. Um, they’re very telling. So that’s www.babysbestsleep.com/15 mins. That’s one five m i n S.

And that’ll get you on the phone, um, with me or one of my team talking about, um, what we can do to help you sleep. Okay. So now that I’ve given you my little advertisement for me, um, the, the two to one nap transition is a doozy because most kids are not quite physically ready to go five or six hours or they’ve just never been awake that long ever in their whole life. So to do it, it is tough and a bit of a stretch. Um, I just remember with, you know, my first daughter like taking her outside and like putting her in a pool to be like, please stay up, please be away, please stay up. Um, and it was really, really challenging. So there’s probably going to be lots and lots of falling asleep in cheerios and you know, eating or just sitting down and then kind of falling asleep. That’s all. Okay. Um, this is something that you can do one of two ways. Um, the slow and steady way is basically just pushing like, you know, pushing that first snap to like 10 and then 10 30 and then 11 and then 1130 over a few days until you get to that one lunchtime nap. People are always really concerned about when they feed their child. Like, should I feed them before, should I feed them after? Um, what do I feed them? Um, I generally do lunch before like a nice solid lunch and, and put them down just so their belly is nice and full, and then you can do a snack after.

Um, when we transitioned to the first nap with, uh, our first, um, so embarrassing, I can’t believe I’m going to share this with you. It’s such a dumb moment. But we noticed that she was super cranky after her nap and like really mad and we’re like, gosh, she’s awful. And then one day my husband’s like, “”Hey, do you think she’s hungry? Or like, yeah. And it was like two weeks of us walking around with a cranky as, you know, one year old who can’t tell us that she’s hungry. Um, and so we added the snack after the nap and it made all the difference. Got her to bed time. Um, she became a human again. All very nice things. All, all bonuses. So yeah, definitely feed them a snack after. Um, and then depending on the nap length, so because they’ve never slept longer than an hour, hour and a half during the day, um, you might get a shorter nap when that happens. Uh, in that case, you might want to do a quiet time in the crib where you give them a few toys in the afternoon around two or three, um, and kind of let them take the edge off, might fall asleep. I would cap that nap, but maybe like a half an hour, um, and then do bedtime. And if the, or you can skip that and just do, um, an earlier bedtime as needed. Uh, so yeah, it is a bit of transition. The other option is just going for it, you know. Um, I know that a lot of clients have done that before I became a sleep consultant, that’s what I did with my children. Um, I was like, okay, you go to bed at 12 now. Uh, and it’s, it’s, you know, it’s, I don’t, I don’t think we had any problems. Um, a lot of people don’t like the idea of that, but I don’t see any huge issue. Um, except your child’s being very tired. Right. Um, and that is an issue. So choose your own adventure there guys, I don’t think that there is a right or wrong way, um, and they’re going to be fine. They’re going to be just just fine, I promise.

Um, yes. So Nikki, I hope that answered your question. I think at eight months it’s completely appropriate for, for you to, to have that a two nap schedule. Um, and hopefully there are some strategies here for you to implement that pretty successfully. Um, I’m going to link to some blogs that I wrote on naps in the podcast notes. I’m gonna make sure to do that. Um, what else do I want to tell you? What’s coming up? Um, I, I’m honestly not sure. I can’t remember what else was happening. I think when you’re going to be listening to this, I will be in my group coaching. Um, or actually maybe not. I think it’ll be, yeah, if I still have spots in my group coaching, you should definitely look at it. The best thing I do, it is so awesome. Um, you can sign up at www.babysbestsleep.com/gcsignup. That’s G C S I G N u p. Um, and that will get you a direct link to sign up to whatever’s left. Uh, at this point about two weeks out, I only have spots in my newborn and four to six months old coaching. Um, everything else is sold, including one, four to six month old coaching. That’s usually my most popular time. Um, you are going to be doing awesome sleep. Work with me. You have my ear every day in our secret Facebook group. I check in with the group every day. I create a group plan specifically for your group. Um, and then we do an hour long weekly conference call with me on zoom talking about any of your sleep issues. Um, you will be, it is exactly like working with me except you’re not working privately with me. So you get all my resources, access to my private Facebook group after and past member pricing. So if you’ve ever worked with me, I do micro calls and mini calls for clients that have got off track and you don’t have to buy a whole package. That’s not something I offer to the general public, but it is on offer for those who, who have with me in the past. Um, so group coaching, uh, by this point, unfortunately you have missed the early word, but it’s three 95. You are saving $200 working with me in this way. Um, and I highly recommend it. It’s the best thing I do every year. It’s a highly rated, highly reviewed. I’m happy to connect you to anyone that I’ve worked with. Um, if you’ve gotten this long in the podcast, bless you, bless you. You’re amazing.

Um, again, last push, less less self-promoting thing. If you like this podcast and want it to keep happening, I would love for you to rate, subscribe, write a few words for me. Even if it’s, “I like podcasts”. That’s good enough. Apple doesn’t know, they don’t even read. They just see that you wrote and that’s, that’s literally good enough for me. If someone actually writes, I like podcasts, I will. High Five, you’ll find out who you are in high five you in person. Um, thanks so much guys. Uh, keep those questions coming. I get lots every day. I won’t be able to answer them all, but I, I need to know what the public demands. So keep those questions coming. Thanks to Nikki. Um, if you have anyone that you would like to hear from in a sleep perspective on my podcast, and you want me to reach out to them, um, someone that you follow, someone that’s cool, someone that you want me to have a conversation with, send me that email too. I’d love, I’d love to know is on your mind. Have a good one everyone, sleep well.

Bye!