Help a Reader Out: Naps

It’s Spring Break time here at my house, and as we head out of town, I thought I would use the opportunity to address some of my readers’ comments. I’m painfully behind in replying to comments. So if you’ve asked a question, pay attention this week to see if other readers have ideas for you. Everyone else, please take a minute to leave a comment and let me and the commenter know what you think about the question.

Today, we’re helping a reader out with naps. This comment was posted on my post about Moving to One Nap a Day. I still have a napper in my house. Lucas is 5.5 and still does so much better when he’s had a nap. But nonetheless, it’s been a long time since I’ve had to deal with the nap transition.

Here’s the question. Please reply if you can help!

“Hi! My LO is almost a year. Will be a year in a week. She does a great first nap usually 10:30ish-12ish. But lately her second nap is all over the place, sometimes 3-4:30, or 3:30-5, or up and not napping at all. Or putting her down at 3/3:30 and she plays and is up, then finally going down at 4:30 then naps late. She may be teething though, but her first nap is always good. So I can’t figure out if it is teething or if she is needing just one nap? So looking for some advice. :)”

We all know what it’s like to have to troubleshoot nap problems. Teething can definitely get in the way, but we don’t always want to blame nap issues on teething, especially if one nap is working fine. I suppose my question is why the second nap starts at different times. I wonder if keeping consistent nap times would improve consistency with the second nap. Does anybody have any ideas?



  1. We’re on the tail end of this transition, it’s a hard one! Babywise doesn’t recommend dropping the nap unit 14 mo, and it’s common to have some issues with naps around a year. I would start by tweaking your schedule. Personally, with not knowing your whole schedule, I would do a one hour nap from 10-11. Then I would do a second nap at 2:30 This keeps the wake times a bit shorter which might help. I would do naps by the clock, not by wake time lengths. Good luck!

  2. aynsley says:

    I’d vote to start with adding consistency before eliminating any sleep. I always started with addressing the basics like putting the baby down at the same time and trying to mimic the same stimulation/activities to see if that is making an impact. Is the baby waking in the afternoon with a dirty diaper and that’s causing their sleep to be off?

    A little after a year we transitioned to a catnap in the am and long afternoon nap and my son is 16months and STILL DEFINITELY needs that morning catnap. We put him down and wake him or he wakes after only 20min now in the am then sleeps for 2.5-3 hours in the afternoon from 1pm/1:15 on.

    We started weaning the morning nap from 1 hour down to the 20/30 min it is now and did that over a lengthy period of time. It’s worked great for us so far.


  3. I was going to say something similar. NEVER give up the nap without a big big battle :) But perhaps putting the baby down at 10ish and letting him/her sleep for around an hour or an hour and 15 minutes. Then I’d go back down for nap at 2:30 and just stick with it. Let there be plenty of exercise before the afternoon nap, take distractions out of the crib, don’t go back in to do anything and just leave the baby there for the duration of naptime. Hopefully after a few days naps will get back to normal. It could be an intellectual development phase too where the baby wants to look around, etc, but tiredness will catch up and if your routine and resolve doesn’t shift then I think the baby will probably come right back into napping in due time!

  4. Yeah, short off knowing the whole schedule, I would move the morning nap earlier, like 930 am and nap til abt 11, and 2nd nap ard 130 pm or 2 pm.

  5. Your LO has started the process of dropping the first nap. This process was very different for my two DD’s. Our oldest DD didn’t start this process until 14 months, but our youngest DD started around 11 months and now at 14 months has fully transitioned to one nap.

    For our oldest I gradually made the morning nap shorter. I know it was 2-2.5 hours at full length, I took it to 1.5 hours, and then eventually down to 45 minutes. This was a relatively short process (we started at 14 months and she was down to one nap at 16 months). Now, our youngest only did an 1.5 hour nap in the a.m. I capped her morning nap to 1 hour, ideally 45 minutes, from the start of the transition. For reference, our youngest DD’s schedule during the transition was a.m. nap from 10-10:45 and afternoon nap from 2-3:30. Once the transition was complete her schedule moved to (and has stayed) at one nap/afternoon nap from 1-2:30/3.

    If I were you I would try something like this:
    a.m. nap from 10-10:45/11
    p.m. nap from 2-3:30

  6. Do you have any posts for dealing with 24 month old nap issues? Can you do “help a reader out” for that? My 24 month old now fights all her naps. She either takes an hour or two to sleep (then sleeps for an hour or two) or doesn’t sleep at all. She is very obedient during the day but if I go in and tell her to “go to sleep” it doesn’t work, in fact, I think it makes it worse. I’m afraid the longer it goes on that she’ll just acclimate to not sleeping and never start again. HELP!

  7. I have no experience with a 24mo old. However, I would suggest you head on over to the blog, Chronicles of a Babywise Mom. She has oodles of info you can look into!

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