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Transitioning from Four to Three Naps

Transitioning from 4 to 3 naps

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As your little one grows and develops, so does their sleep pattern. A significant milestone in a baby’s sleep journey is transitioning from four to three naps, typically occurring between 4-5 months of age. Recognising the signs that your baby is ready for this shift and managing the transition effectively is useful to know for maintaining a healthy sleep routine.

Signs of Readiness:

Around the 4-5 month mark, you may observe subtle changes in your baby’s behaviour that indicate they are ready to transition from four to three naps. These signs include diminished sleepiness before naptime, increased wakefulness during what used to be naptime, and potential disruptions in night time sleep, such as bedtime protests or early waking.

Transition Strategies:

Moving from four to three naps is not a one-size-fits-all process. Some babies adapt seamlessly, while others may need a more gradual adjustment. Here are some strategies to help with this transition:

Increase Awake Windows Gradually:

For babies on four naps who are showing signs of being ready to drop to three, gradually extend their awake windows by 15 minutes every three days. Aim for approximately 2 ½ hours of awake time before their next sleep, with the potential of pushing to 3 hours between the third nap and bedtime.

Address Nap Length Variations:

For babies who struggled with short naps, this transition may lead to improvements in nap length. However, some babies may initially experience shorter naps due to over-tiredness. If nap length decreases, consider incorporating a brief fourth nap in the car or pram, lasting 15-20 minutes, to take the edge off before bedtime.

Manage Daytime Sleepiness:

During the transition, you might notice your baby appearing tired at their usual naptime. Engage them with distractions like fresh air or a change of scenery to help them stay awake until the desired naptime.

Early Bedtime Adjustment:

To counteract any potential overtiredness during the transition, consider moving bedtime earlier by 30-60 minutes for the first two weeks. This helps bridge the gap and prevents increased adrenaline levels from causing sleep disruptions. Keep in mind that 6pm is the earliest suitable bedtime.

Transitioning from four to three naps is a significant step in your baby’s sleep journey, and recognising the signs of readiness is key. By gradually adjusting awake windows, addressing changes in nap length, managing daytime sleepiness, and making slight adjustments to bedtime, you can guide your little one through this transition smoothly. Remember that each baby is unique, so be patient and flexible as you tailor these strategies to meet the specific needs of your child. A well-managed transition sets the stage for a more consistent and restful sleep routine for both you and your baby.

If you encounter any sleep-related issues with your child, please feel free to reach out to us for a complimentary 15-minute consultation. We’re here to assist and provide guidance in ensuring your child’s restful sleep.

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