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one nap

Going From Two Naps to One

By Amalah

Hi Amy,

Maybe this is something you’re going through with Ezra right now?  Or just went through?  So you have some sage, wise advice?  Or can at least hold my hand while I freak out for a while?

I do believe the lack of taking ANY SORT of afternoon nap at all for the past few days is my baby’s way of telling me that, dude, he’s ready to drop to one nap.  I am kind of kicking and screaming, because I LIKE two naps.  And, OMG!  What am I going to DO with this child for such a long stretch of time during the day?  Breathe, breathe, it’s going to be fine.

So.  Suggestions?  Advice?  How do I drop down to one nap?  What do I do with this boy all day?  How do I keep myself sane?

Many thanks!

PS – baby is almost 16 months old.  If that matters.

Yep. 16 months old. That’s prime drop-down-to-one nap time, and about exactly when both of my boys started boycotting my many many many many (AND ETC.) attempts to put them down for a second nap. Because, like you, I was terrified that going down to one nap would mean a terrible cut into my free time.

But honestly, it IS going to be fine, because that long chunk of awake time means you can…do stuff. Like, outside stuff. Even if it’s just running errands. You can run TWO errands! And then eat lunch out! All without having to sandwich everything in between naps lest you get stuck out in public with one truly miserably cranky baby.

And! (At least this was true for both of my kids, your mileage may vary.) That one nap a day? Is looooong. So nice and long. Ezra goes down right after lunch and basically sleeps all afternoon. Three hours, usually. Sometimes four. Five hours has not been unheard of, though I usually intervene at that point lest we start jeopardizing our precious regular bedtime.

So anyway. The key is to cut out that morning nap (which you’ve probably noticed is moving later in the morning anyway), tire him out as much as you can, and get him back to bed right after lunch. During the two-to-one nap transition, you might need to move lunch up a notch, lest he fall asleep riiiiight before eating, which screws everything up. And…that’s really all there is to it.

The end of Ezra’s morning nap meant the end of working from home without a part-time sitter around here, which was probably a bigger adjustment than anything, but it also makes weekend outings much easier, and Ezra’s moods easier to predict. (No more hoping that a 15-minute snooze in the car will be enough of a morning nap, for example.) And it means I’ve become quite a fan of the local playground and “nature walks” around the neighborhood, usually with Ezra pushing his doll stroller around while I wander behind with my iPhone — modern parenting at its finest. It’s a great age to finally buy (or actually commit to using) a jogging stroller, or sign him up for tumbling/music/whatever classes. There are some days (usually when it’s raining) when I’ve looked at the clock a dozen times by 9:45 am and desperately missed that morning nap, but I do love the predictability of that long, long afternoon nap. (It was always more of a wildcard back in the two-nap days, as I recall.)

As for the end of napping altogether…THAT’S a horrible day, and I don’t want to talk about it. (Happened some time between three-and-a-half and four, though I cheated and insisted on “quiet time in your room” for MONTHS after I knew he was really ready to quit napping. Some days I still do. When Ezra stops napping I’ll just ask someone to go ahead and bludgeon me with a shovel.)

Published May 24, 2010. Last updated October 29, 2017.
About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch


Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to [email protected].

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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