child taking a nap

Dropping A Nap: signs it’s time and how to do it

As a certified pediatric sleep consultant, a certified lactation consultant, and a newborn care specialist, I give families the resources and support they need to thrive during the newborn period.

Stay awhile


1:1 support

Survival calls

digital shop


Free diaper bag checklist from an expert & mom

Download Now!

Hey Mama!

I'm Kristen!

If you’ve ever found yourself wondering if your child is getting too much or too little daytime sleep, how many naps they should be taking in a day, or if dropping a nap is in your future, then you have come to the right place. Look no farther than the post below.

Though I envy the parents who don’t overthink naps, I would like to think that those of us who over analyze every excruciating detail of our children’s nap schedule make up the majority of parents. We are so quick to judge our ability to parent by the success (or failures) of the day’s naps.


Nap transitions can be tricky. There are a few tell-tale signs that you’re on the horizon of dropping a nap. Once you notice your child is exhibiting one or more of the signs listed below, continue to offer them all of their naps for an additional 1-2 weeks before you fully commit to dropping a nap.

What to look for before dropping a nap:

  • Your child’s last nap of the day becomes more of a catnap, or they begin resisting it all together
  • Your child’s amount of daytime sleep begins to interfere with their ability to fall asleep at night
  • When your child skips a nap, it does not affect their temperament
  • Your child begins waking early, but is taking good naps
infant dropping a nap


Although many children end up dropping naps around the same age, it is important to keep in mind that every child’s needs are different. It is more important that your child is showing the signs of readiness to drop a nap, as opposed to dropping a nap because it seems “age appropriate”

Typical ages for dropping a nap

  • 4-to-3 nap transition typically happens between 4-6 months
  • 3-to-2 nap transition typically happens between 6-8 months
  • 2-to-1 nap transition typically happens between 15-18 months
  • 1-to-0 nap transition typically happens between 3-4 years


When it comes time to drop a nap, you have 2 options. You can wean the nap, or you can drop the nap cold turkey.

Weaning a nap

Weaning a nap is a good option for children who are slower to adapt to change or are considered “young” for dropping a nap. You will always start by weaning the last nap of the day. In order to do this, you will cut the nap by 15 minutes every day, until the nap is gone. Once it is gone, you won’t offer it again.

The only exception to this is when you are transitioning from 2-to-1 naps. When making this transition, you will cut the morning nap short by 15 minutes every day, while simultaneously moving the afternoon 15 minutes earlier. Eventually, the morning nap will be gone and the afternoon nap will happen in the middle of the day.

Dropping a nap cold turkey

Dropping a nap cold turkey is a good option for strong willed children, or children who have already been resisting the nap. When dropping a nap cold turkey, you will simply skip the nap all together.

child taking a nap

If your child is still taking multiple naps per day, dropping a nap will require a schedule adjustment and more wake time between naps. You may need to move up bedtime for a few days until your child acclimates. Dropping a nap is a change – there is going to be an adjustment period, but it is important that you stay consistent. Give your child 3-5 days to adjust to their new schedule. Keep them extra busy during the transition period so that they don’t have time to be bothered by the change.

Nap Schedules

Identifying nap schedules, dropping a nap, and knowing when you need to make nap transitions can be tricky. That’s why I created this complete schedule guide, which will provide you with suggested schedules by age, nap lengths, age appropriate wake windows, and optimal feeding times.

Read the Comments +


I'm Kristen

The expert & woman behind the screen. I'm also your new best friend who is ready to empower you on this incredible journey.

Favorites                     Shop

from the

Infant Sleep Course

Gain the tools, knowledge and emotional support inside a community-based course to design and execute the perfect sleep plan for your child.

Exclusive Pumping Guide

A complete guide and schedule to exclusively pumping breastmilk.

Newborn Guide

Your partner in crime for setting expectations when it comes to feeding, sleeping, and (mostly) keeping your sanity.