Wondering if your baby is ready to make the 3 to 2 nap transition? Learn when babies drop their third nap and how to transition to two naps.

7 month old baby smiling

Making a schedule change and dealing with nap transitions stress a lot of parents out, but I personally always enjoyed making them.

More awake time and fewer naps meant I had more time to hang out with my baby, instead of watching her sleep all day.

Let me walk you the process of how to make the 3 to 2 nap transition, with example schedules and more.

To help you better, start by downloading my free baby sleep calculator to see when nap time and bed time should be based on your baby’s age. Click here to grab that, it’ll be super helpful.

When Do Babies Transition to Two Naps?

The 3 to 2 nap transition typically happens between 6–8 months old. The most common age for babies to start the transition is 7 months old.

Babies who have independent sleep skills and get good night sleep may be ready to make the transition in the 6–7 months range.

While babies who are higher sleep needs or don’t sleep as well at night, might hold onto their third nap of the day until closer to 9 months old.

Keep reading this blog post to see the signs your baby is ready to make the 3 to 2 nap transition and how you can do it.

baby boys crawling and sitting up

How Do You Know Baby is Ready for Two Naps?

Wondering if it’s the right time to make the transition?

The good news is your baby will show you signs that he’s ready to slowly drop the third nap.

3 to 2 Nap Transition Signs

These common signs include:

  • Baby is at least 6 months old
  • Taking longer than 15 minutes to fall asleep at bedtime or for naps
  • Waking up 45 minutes into nap time
  • Baby waking too early in the morning / Early wake-ups
  • Frequent night wakings or split nights when baby was previously sleeping through the night
  • The last nap of the day is too late and interfering with bedtime

Keep in mind that the 6 month sleep regression can also affect your baby’s sleep between 6 and 8 months of age.

As your baby learns new skills like crawling and sitting, these developmental milestones can interfere with sleep.

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How to Transition from 3 to 2 Naps

Once you’re positive that your baby is ready to transition to two naps, here’s how to do it.

Increase Wake Windows Slowly

Just like when you made the 4 to 3 nap transition, you’ll gradually increase your baby’s awake time throughout the day.

Slowly increase each of their wake windows to about 2.25 to 3, depending on the time of day and how much wake time your baby is able to handle.

At this age, you don’t have to worry as much (though still be aware of it) about an overtired baby as you did during the newborn days.

Sometimes babies need a little bit of a stretch with longer wake windows to really help build up that sleep pressure.

For example, at 6-months old, you may have been doing wake windows that were 2.25/2.5/2.5/2.25.

Stretch the first morning wake window to 2.5 hours and the second wake window to 3 hours.

See How Baby Does

If your baby takes two long naps, you’ll automatically have 2 naps that day, with about 3 hours before bedtime.

Example

7:00 am — Wake for the day

9:30 to 11:00 am — Nap 1

2:00 to 3:30 pm — Nap 2

6:30 pm — Bedtime

Add in a Catnap or Adjust Bedtime

However, if the morning nap and second nap were short, you’ll try to squeeze in a cat nap around 4 pm, making it a 3-nap day.

3 to 2 nap transition schedule

Example:

7:00 am — Wake for the day

9:30 to 10:15 am — Nap 1

1:15 to 2:00 pm — Nap 2

4:00 to 4:30 — Nap 3

7:00 — Bedtime

There are no rules for the catnap, and your goal will be to get it in however you can. You can take baby for a walk in a stroller, wear baby, or simply allow him to sleep on your chest.

The 3rd nap helps your baby make it to the end of the day and bridge the time to bedtime, so as long as you’re practicing safe sleep, don’t worry about creating bad sleep habits!

If the late afternoon nap doesn’t happen, then don’t be afraid to put your baby to bed up to 60 minutes earlier for an early bedtime.

An earlier bedtime during the transition can help make up for the loss in daytime sleep temporarily.

Keep in mind that it takes time to fully make the transition. It’s okay if some days your baby takes two naps and other days, he takes three naps during the transition.

Troubleshoot Short Naps

Around 6 months old, many babies grow out of the 45-minute intruder. If your baby only naps for 30 minutes or 45 minutes, then they may have sleep associations that are inhibiting their ability to connect their sleep cycle.

If your baby has a hard time extending their nap length, you can implement a sleep training method or use crib hour to give your baby time and space to fall back asleep to help him take longer naps.

What Does A 2-Nap Schedule Look Like?

As your baby’s naps lengthen and he is able to handle a bit more awake time, a 2-nap schedule may look like this:

3 to 2 nap transition - 2 nap schedule

7:00 am — Wake for the day

9:30 to 11:00 am — Nap 1

2:00 to 3:30 pm — Nap 2

7:00 pm — Bedtime

It includes 3 hours of daytime sleep and 11 to 12-hours of nighttime sleep. This is a great set schedule for a 7-month old or 8-month old once they’ve fully transitioned to two naps!

Some babies (like mine) will take a longer first nap and then an hour nap in the afternoon. As long as they are able to handle the wake windows and getting the appropriate amount of day sleep, I let them do it!

Remember that this is a transition period as your baby adjusts to the new schedule. Shorter naps or early morning wake-ups are common during the 3 to 2 nap transition.

Stick with it and eventually your baby will be on a nice 2-nap schedule!

Baby sleep schedule binder mockup image

Sleep and Feed Schedules for Every Age

Take away the stress of figuring out your baby’s sleep needs. With the Baby Sleep Schedule Binder, you’ll get sleeping and feeding schedules that you can implement for every age, even if you currently have no routine in place. Check out the Baby Sleep Schedule Binder here.

Frequently Asked Questions About the 3 to 2 Nap Transition

What Age Do Babies Go From 3 to 2 Naps?

Most babies go from 3 to 2 naps between 6–8 months old.

What is the Hardest Nap Transition?

Most sleep consultants agree (myself included) that the hardest nap transition is the 2 to 1 nap transition. It’s a big nap transition and can take weeks to stabilize.

How Do You Know When Baby is Ready for Two Naps?

Your baby may show signs that they’re ready for fewer naps, including:

If you have any questions about the 3 to 2 nap transition, leave them in the comments below and we’ll help you troubleshoot.

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