When Do Babies Drop To 2 Naps?

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Babies typically drop to 2 naps a day between 6 to 9 months old. This transition depends on their developmental stage, sleep needs, and how they adjust to fewer naps. Look for signs like resisting naps or short naps, which indicate readiness for this change.

The Transition to Two Naps

The Transition to Two Naps

When it comes to baby sleep patterns, one of the significant milestones parents eagerly await (and sometimes dread) is the transition from multiple daily naps to fewer, more consistent ones. The shift from three to two naps a day is a pivotal period that often leaves parents with numerous questions: When will it happen? How will I know? What can I do to facilitate a smooth transition? This comprehensive guide aims to demystify this phase, providing you with the insights you need to navigate this change confidently.

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Recognizing the Signs

The journey from three naps to two is not dictated by a specific calendar date but by your baby’s unique developmental needs and cues. Generally, this transition occurs between 6 to 9 months of age. However, flexibility is key, as some babies may show readiness earlier or later. The following signs can help you determine if your baby is ready to drop to two naps:

  • Longer Wake Times: As babies grow, their ability to stay awake longer without becoming overtired improves. If your baby starts to resist the morning or afternoon nap or both, it could be a sign that they’re ready for a longer awake period.
  • Shortened Naps: If one of the naps suddenly becomes significantly shorter or your baby struggles to fall asleep for one of their naps, this may indicate they are ready to transition.
  • Overall Disruption in Sleep Patterns: Any marked change in your baby’s sleep patterns, such as difficulty sleeping at night or waking up earlier than usual, could be related to their nap schedule.

Facilitating the Transition

Once you’ve identified that your baby is ready to move to two naps, the following steps can help ensure a smooth transition:

  1. Gradual Adjustment: Start by gradually extending the time between your baby’s naps. This can help them adjust to staying awake for longer periods without becoming overtired.
  2. Consistent Schedule: Try to keep the times of the two naps as consistent as possible from day to day. This helps establish a routine that both you and your baby can rely on.
  3. Observation and Flexibility: Be prepared to adjust the schedule based on your baby’s cues. Some days they may need more sleep than others, and that’s okay.
  4. Optimize Sleep Environment: Ensure your baby’s sleeping environment is conducive to good quality sleep. This includes a comfortable temperature, minimal noise, and dim lighting.
  5. Encourage Active Play: During their awake times, engage your baby in stimulating activities to help them use up energy and be ready for their naps.

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Common Challenges

Transitioning to two naps isn’t always straightforward. You might encounter a few bumps along the way:

  • Short Naps: Initially, the remaining two naps may be shorter than usual. It can take time for your baby to adjust to the new schedule and extend these naps to compensate for the dropped nap.
  • Over-tiredness: Finding the right balance in the new schedule can be tricky. An over-tired baby may have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep.
  • Testing Boundaries: Babies might resist the new nap times as they test boundaries and adjust to the change.

Solutions and Strategies

Here are some strategies to overcome common challenges:

  • Patience and Consistency: Keep the new routine consistent for at least a week before making any more changes. This gives your baby time to adjust.
  • Adjust Awake Times: If your baby struggles with the transition, consider slightly adjusting the awake times between naps. Sometimes, even a 15-minute change can make a big difference.
  • Early Bedtime: An earlier bedtime can help prevent over-tiredness and compensate for less daytime sleep.
  • Relaxation Techniques: Introduce calming activities before nap times, like reading a book or gentle rocking, to signal that it’s time to wind down.
Babies Drop To 2 Naps

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When do babies drop to 2 naps?

Babies typically transition to two naps between 6 to 9 months old. This change is influenced by their individual development, sleep needs, and how they adjust to fewer naps throughout the day.

How do I know if the baby is ready for 2 naps?

A baby might be ready for 2 naps if they resist one of their naps, show signs of being less tired during the day, or their naps suddenly become shorter. Consistent wakefulness and longer periods of activity are also indicators.

At what age do babies go from 3 to 2 naps?

The transition from 3 to 2 naps usually occurs when a baby is between 6 to 9 months old. However, the exact timing can vary based on the baby’s sleep habits, developmental stage, and overall disposition.

Can a 6-month-old have 2 naps?

Yes, a 6-month-old can have 2 naps if they show signs of readiness, such as staying awake for longer periods, resisting the third nap, or consolidating sleep more during the night. Each baby’s readiness for this transition can vary widely.

Is 12 months too early for one nap?

For most babies, dropping to one nap at 12 months might be too early. Typically, the transition to one nap happens closer to 15-18 months. However, some babies may show readiness for just one nap around their first birthday, depending on their individual development and sleep patterns.


As you navigate this transition, remember that each baby’s journey is unique. What works for one may not work for another, and that’s perfectly normal. By staying attuned to your baby’s needs and being flexible in your approach, you can help ensure a smooth transition from three naps to two.

This milestone, like all others in your baby’s first years, is both a challenge and an exciting new stage in their development. With patience, observation, and a bit of strategy, you’ll emerge from this transition with a new, manageable routine that supports your baby’s growth and well-being.


Dusty is the owner and editor of As Mom Sees It, a product review and family matters blog. She is the mother of two in Ohio and has partnered with companies like Nike, Verizon, Kingston Technology. You can find her on Twitter at @AsMomSeesIt.