How we managed the 2-1 nap transition

I wanted to quickly post how we transitioned from two naps down to one. I had been dreading this and had read that it’s the toughest of the nap transitions for babies to make. At the time, I felt very limited by two naps. We couldn’t go anywhere between the hours of 8-11 and 1-4, unless we planned ahead to have the twins nap in the car. I joyfully looked forward to the day that they took one giant, long nap.

But what if, after making the transition, the one nap is still as short as the two naps were!? Ugh. I’m not entirely sure our transition is complete, but here’s what happened:

The twins stopped being ready and tired for their first nap at the ever-so-trusty 9:30. (This was rough at first, because they transitioned to two naps from three early on, at only 7 months. We stayed at the 9 and 2 schedule for so many months!) And then after a few weeks, 10:00 was also too early. We got into a rhythm of a 10:30 nap for a week or so, which would last until 11:45-12:00. During that time, I’d put the babies down for a power second nap around 3:30. I only let them sleep 30 minutes, max. And when they napped that way, they’d go to bed around 8:00. I knew this was just step one in our transition.

Then B started refusing his second nap. Even if his first nap was early and he woke at 11:00, he fought and screamed his way through the second nap no matter what time I put him down. For a week there, I drove around whenever I could just to get him to power nap in the car around 4:00. But then he stopped falling asleep in the car.

I knew we were on our way to switching over to the one nap. I even started pushing back the first nap a little later, around 10:45, and then 11:00, and then 11:15, assuming the transition needed to be slow and gradual (it does not). And right in the middle of that, the babies got roseola (with a high fever lasting a week….separate weeks). Two weeks later, they both got nasty colds that turned into bronchitis for B and a double ear infection for C. That was a week in itself. All this illness completely botched up any nap transition we were attempting and we just let them nap whenever they wanted to for as long as they could.

When it was over, I decided to bite the bullet and go for a normal-timed one nap. I moved lunch up a half hour to 11:30 and they currently nap around 12:30. It’s been over a week, and there’s no turning back now. Our two nap days are totally over. Unfortunately, I was envisioning two kids who take a three-hour nap. I don’t believe I have those kinds of kids. C has slept for 2.5 hours a few times, which is lovely and I will let her sleep as long as she can, but it doesn’t give me any rest if B isn’t doing the same thing! B’s longest nap now has been 1.5 hours. Most days it’s between 45 minutes to an hour. I understand that this isn’t normal. So either he’s in a bit of a Wonder Week (which supposedly at 18 months is a thing) or he’s still getting accustomed to this transition. Either way, I’m now regretting wishing for 1 nap. We’re on baby duty from 7:00-12:30, and then 1:30 until bedtime! Where’s the break? I’m really hoping B learns to nap for a longer period of time over the coming weeks. We’ll see.

The one thing I can say and recommend to anyone about to embark on this transition is to move bedtime way up. When kids first start taking only one nap, they’ll be tired by 6:00. It’s been a challenge for us but we’re attempting a 6:30 bed while this is still in transition. Most nights it’s more like 7:00, especially if they took a good nap. Tonight, after only an hour nap, we had them sleeping for 6:45 and it really should have been earlier. They would’ve easily gone down. And I’m sorry, I love those twins more than life itself, but there’s nothing more satisfying than closing their bedroom door at night and breathing a sigh of relief. The earlier the bedtime, the better!

photo (7) DSC_0138

It’s tough growing into big kids!

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8 thoughts on “How we managed the 2-1 nap transition

  1. Sara-Lynn says:

    Ahhh! We are at 15 months and just starting to see this struggle ahead. I tried one nap today and it was torturous! Let me know if you find any other tips along the way. We did 6:30 bedtime but easily could have done 6:00 too. I still am going to try two naps for another month or so, but I feel it coming…

    • futuresoccermom says:

      What I would say to you now is HOLD on to the two naps as long as you possibly can! Around 15-16 months I thought they were ready and we tried it, like you did, and it went terribly. After a week my son started napping better with the two naps and I realized it was only a little sleep regression and he really wasn’t ready yet. So hold on as long as you can!

      Another tip I learned was to let that first nap be as long as possible and just move up the second nap to whatever time it needed to be, but just let it get shorter and shorter. From 30 mins to 20, to 15. If they start screaming their heads off for the whole second nap, skip it entirely and put them to bed as early as possible! Good luck!

  2. randomsqueaks says:

    Nooooo, not one nap! I am dreading it! Our schedule has been so weird but i think its partly due to either a sleep regression (please oh please!) or the nap transition. I love my two hour breaks twice a day! I’d say I’ve earned it after all the struggles we’ve had. Sigh.

  3. Jordan Middlebrook says:

    Oh, man, I have been dreading this already, and our two-nap schedule is just now getting settled at 8 months! It does sound nice as far as flexibility during the day though. Do your babies nap in the same room? Mine definitely comfort each other sleeping together at night, but I can’t seem to figure out whether they’re better together or separate for naps.

    • futuresoccermom says:

      Enjoy those two naps while you can! The flexibility is nice, especially in being able to run errands in the morning, which is something we never could have done. My twins do not nap in the same room, Their cribs are in the same room and they share the room at night. That goes fine. But they nap so differently – one falls asleep quick but then wakes up sporadically crying, and the other takes a while to fall asleep – we found they kept waking each other up for naps. So we put a pack n play in our playroom and whoever is napping best at the moment (used to be my son for many months, now it’s my daughter) sleeps in the pack n play. I’ll never put them together for a nap again as long as I can help it!

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