One nap not enough, two naps too many

Dropping to one nap at 14 months

LP is 14 months old and three weeks so he is a little bit younger than the average age of babies dropping from 1 to 2 naps (which is 15-18 months according to this post). He used to have a wonderful routine which included a nap from about 11am-1pm then another at around 3.30pm-5pm, from about seven months. But lately, that second nap is either fought off with tears, or spent quietly chattering away to himself in the cot. Either, way, it’s not spent sleeping. This is how I’m managing the one nap not enough, two naps too many phase.

One nap not enough, two naps too many

Up at naptime

Considering the fact that I nearly named this blog, “Mama Loves Naptime”, you can see that I was understandably upset when this change started occurring.  Missing out on that second nap means not having a break later in the day. Less time to write my blog! To cook! To do anything resembling “me-time” without a baby in tow.

Unfortunately, since he was missing the second nap and sometimes having up to six hours before bedtime, this had resulted in some crazy, hyperactive, hysterical overtiredness at bedtime. One nap is too many, two naps is not enough. At his age he can only comfortably handle 4-5 of hours awake, maximum, before things start getting weird. Wrangling an overtired baby out of the bath and into his pyjamas, especially when he doesn’t like this process at the best of times, is damn hard in the evening.

To cope with this, I am in the process of lengthening his morning awake time and adjusting his mealtimes, so that the morning nap becomes an after lunch nap and there isn’t too long before bedtime.

My 14 month old’s current routine

07:30 : Wake for the day, bottle
08:30 : Breakfast
10:30: Snack
11:30- 13:30: Nap
13:30: Lunch
17:00: Tea
18:00-18:30: Bed

The routine we are aiming for, after gradually lengthening the first awake time:

07:30 : Wake for the day, bottle
08:30 : Breakfast
10:30: Snack
12:30: Lunch
12:30-14:30: Nap
15:00: Snack
17:00: Tea
19:00: Bed

Or at least something like that. I want to avoid getting stuck in the one nap isn’t enough, two naps is too many trap for too long.

This has been a tough period of adjustment. That new, longer morning shift has been tough to accommodate when I’m used to being able to take a break about 10:30.  However, there are some positives about dropping to one nap, so let’s try to focus on them!

Positives of dropping a nap

  • It frees you from the nap routine.  When LP was younger, it was a necessity to get him back to his cot for naptime or HE WOULDN’T NAP. Ok, if he was really exhausted, he might pass out in the car, but he wouldn’t sleep for the normal duration. He’s a baby who needs a quiet, dark environment to drop off. His ability to stay awake surprised several, seasoned childcare providers.
  • This means you can go out in the morning and get more stuff done!
  • His new ability to stay awake longer without getting cranky means that he is more fun to play with during his wakeful hours.
  • I can eat my lunch while he naps. It’s good practice to eat together as it helps to teach your child what to do and the beginnings of table manners. But sometimes you just want to eat a sandwich in peace, without having to stop every two seconds to pick up a cup / wipe soup out of someone’s eye
  • While he is in the in-between phase, bedtime has had to be brought forward, which means that you can “clock-off” for the night that little bit earlier

We’re are not out of the woods yet and I think it will be a while before we have a new, set routine with a later nap. But this is a big milestone for my toddler, family and I. If you’re going through this stage too, I hope we all get through it as smoothly as possible and have more scenes like the below than the one above:

Dropping a nap at 14 months

Blissful snoozing

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