Skip to Content

When do Babies Drop The Third Nap?

Wondering when babies go to 2 naps? Think your baby is ready to make the 3-to-2 nap transition? Learn about when babies drop the third nap and how to tell when your baby is ready to make the transition.

baby sleeping in crib after transitioning to 2 naps

I was so excited to drop the third nap and make the 3 to 2 nap transition when my daughter was a baby.

Don’t get me wrong—a sleeping baby is a beautiful thing, but I wanted her to be awake more so we could hang out and do things! The catnap put a damper on evening plans and I was always stressed if she’d actually take it.

I could have been more flexible implementing the Babywise method, but I wanted her to nap in her crib, which meant when she was taking three naps a day, we were home a lot!

So, yes, I was excited to move from 3 to 2 naps. We made the transition right around 6 months and it went so smoothly! I loved the 2 nap schedule for my 6-month old and found it to be one of the easiest routines to implement!

Once you make the transition, you’ll have two longer naps that are at the same time each day!

See when babies drop the third nap, if your baby is ready to make the 3 to 2 nap transition, and how you can smoothly drop the third nap with your baby!

When do Babies Go to 2 Naps?

Between 6 and 8 months old your baby’s wake times will increase, meaning your baby will be able to stay awake for a longer period of time before he needs a nap. This is also the age when the third nap is commonly dropped.

I typically see babies move to two naps closer to 7 or 8 months though.

Most babies should be getting two to three hours of daytime sleep at this age. A 6 month old wake window is between 25 and 3 hours typically.

A 6 month old sleep schedule usually still consists of 3 naps while a 7 month old sleep schedule or 8 month old sleep schedule may be down to 2 naps with longer wake windows at 7 months old.

Since 6 to 8 months is a big range in baby land, make sure you watch your baby to see if it’s time to drop the third nap. He will show you signs that he is ready to extend his wake time and transition from 3 to 2 naps.

baby awake in swing ready to drop third nap

Is 6 Months Too Early for 2 Naps?

Every baby is so different! 6 months old is the earliest I would recommend moving your baby to two naps. We personally made the transition at this time and it went so smoothly!

Many babies aren’t quite ready to move to 2 naps at 6 months, and need to wait until closer to 7 or 8 months to make the transition.

Watch your baby’s cues to see when they’re ready and make sure you’re giving it time and not adjusting at the first sign of a regression.

How to Know Baby is Ready to Drop Third Nap?

Your baby will usually let you know when it’s time for a nap transition.

Keep in mind that your baby could also be teething, going through a milestone or developmental period, or be in the middle of a sleep regression when these things happen.

There is a 6 month sleep regression that can occur around the same time you think about dropping the third nap! (I know, having a baby is so black and white, right?).

Don’t drop the third nap at the first sign of a sleep struggle like your baby only napping 30 minutes all of a sudden. Watch your baby for several days before making a nap transition.

Here are some signs that your baby will show you when it’s time to make the 3 to 2 nap transition:

baby boy sitting up ready to transition from 3 to 2 naps
  • Your baby starts refusing a nap that he used to take without any problem. You may put him down at the same time that you always did and he may lie in his crib happily or start to cry instead of falling asleep. Babies often fight the catnap first when they are ready to drop it.

  • Your baby’s nap suddenly shortens. He may have been sleeping 2 hours and is suddenly waking up early into his nap or taking shorter naps altogether.

  • The catnap starts interfering with bedtime. Your baby might not be falling asleep for the catnap until 30 minutes after you put him down, pushing the time he wakes up from the nap back and pushing bedtime back as well.

  • Bedtime becomes a battle. If your child used to go to bed easily at bedtime and is now fighting bedtime sleep and not falling asleep until long after you put him to bed, he may be ready to drop a nap.

  • Your baby’s naps seem all over the place. You may have gone from having a predictable, set nap schedule to a suddenly chaotic nap schedule. Naps can start to interfere with bedtime, pushing everything back.

  • Your baby starts waking up in the middle of the night. He may lie there content or cry out. This could mean he’s been getting too much daytime sleep and needs to drop a nap.

  • Your baby starts waking up early in the morning. If your baby was typically sleeping until 7 am and suddenly starts waking up consistently at 5:30 am, it may be a sign he is ready to drop the third nap.

My daughter started fighting her catnap just before she turned 6 months old. I tried pulling out all the stops, like driving her around in the car and carrying her in my Tula carrier before realizing it was time to drop the third nap!

Baby sleep schedule binder mockup image
Baby sleep schedule binder mockup image

Eliminate Short Naps with a Predictable Sleep Routine

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.

How to Transition from 3 to 2 Naps

Now that you know your baby is ready to drop the third nap, how do you go about making the transition?

You will push your baby’s awake time back by about 15 to 30 minutes each day until you reach the new nap times.

Make sure to continue doing your nap routine, or establish one if you haven’t already done so.

For example, if your baby was napping prior at 9:00 am, 1:00 pm, and 4:00 pm, you would push the first nap to 9:30, the second nap to 1:30 pm, and drop the third nap altogether.

During the transition you may need to do an early bedtime to keep your baby from getting overtired. (You can pull it up by about 30 to 60 minutes if needed. Truly, do not fear the early bedtime!) As your baby adjusts to the new nap and wake times, you’ll push bedtime back to where it was.

If your baby takes a short nap at first, be patient! You can try crib hour or extend the nap until they adjust to the new wake times.

Once you have made the transition, your baby will take a morning and afternoon nap. Once you’ve reached the new nap times, stick to those nap times consistently each day. Here are wake windows and 6-month sample schedules that you can use if you need examples of how to structure your baby’s day.

2 nap schedule for babies

Sample Two Nap Schedule

7:00 am: Wake and Feed

7:00 to 9:30 am: Waketime / Breakfast solids

9:30 to 11:00 am: Nap

11:00 am: Feed

11:00 am to 2:-00 pm: Waketime / Lunch solids

2:00 to 3:30 pm: Nap

3:30 pm: Feed

3:30 to 6:30 pm: Waketime / Dinner solids

6:30 pm: Last feed / baby’s bedtime routine

7:00 pm: Bedtime

Good luck making the 3 to 2 nap transition. You can do it!

transition from 3 to 2 naps pin
Amy Motroni