Today, we officially transitioned Aiden to taking one nap a day. I was a little nervous about this change – when would the nap be? what would we do? would he be grumpy? But after today, my nerves are calmed and I’m excited. He was ready for the change, and it’s a good one!
It was unexpected, and yet perhaps not. Here is how it came about…
Aiden in my hat & at playgroup – instead of napping!
We’ve been having a rough few weeks of bedtimes and couldn’t figure out why. He was, after all, napping just fine. He’d wake up around 6:30, take a nap at 8:30 and often slept until 10:30. I’ve always called him a strong morning napper – he needed his nap early (it’s only recently he made it 2 hours awake!) and would nap a long time. He’d then be awake for almost exactly 3 hours before his next nap, which would be for an hour. He’d go to bed at 6:30.
Out of the blue, bedtimes became a disaster. Aside from the molar, nothing had changed. We went through a couple of weeks trying to figure things out.
Meanwhile, it was becoming more frequent that Aiden would have trouble falling asleep for either morning or afternoon nap. It would take him longer and he’d need some help. Sometimes he’d go through an hour of trying and miss the nap completely. There were also days where his awake windows (2 hours -nap- 3 hours -nap- 4 hours) would be longer, throwing off his schedule and either meaning a shortened or dropped nap.
I considered that perhaps Aiden was ready to drop a nap, but didn’t know how it would work. His morning nap always seemed like the one he really “needed”. He’s not a morning person, at all, and spends the morning very cuddly and grumpy. And yet, I didn’t want to face keeping Aiden awake for 7 hours after his morning nap without any rest in the form of a 2nd nap. I was very confused – I couldn’t find any resources about how to drop a nap when the 1st nap wouldn’t move forward on its own.
Unsure of what the problem was, I hypothesized that he was simply getting too much daytime sleep. Most days he got 3 hours. I contacted our wonderful sleep consultant for advice after our attempts to resolve the issues on our own kept failing. She suggested that a more likely scenario was that he was getting sleep in the wrong order – too much in the morning, not enough (sometimes) in the afternoon. She suggested a gradual decrease of his morning nap to just 30 minutes and keeping his afternoon nap longer, 1.5 hours.
Well, as soon as we committed to that, Aiden went through 4 consecutive days of missing his morning naps. Each day, after 2 hours, he’d be grumpy and tired and would do his “sleepy” sign and would ask to go to his room. Tired, right? Wrong. He’d cheer up almost right away in his crib, not even bothering to attempt to fall asleep.
Dropping the 2nd Nap – An Experiment
Today, as an experiment, we decided to see what would happen if we took Aiden out instead. Aiden only has a certain tolerance for being at home. It’s now longer than 1 hour, but he still becomes grumpy and unhappy if we stay at home too long. I hypothesized that perhaps his morning “tiredness” was really just brought on by his need to change the scenery.
After 2 hours, we took Aiden out. As we do every day, we went to Moja Coffee. After that, it being only 10am, we thought it too early to return home. He’d rubbed his eyes a couple of times, so I knew returning home would likely result in Aiden wanting his nap about 1.5 hours later – too early. Instead, we took him to a drop-in and stayed until he was obviously grumpy.
When we came home, he revived (a normal occurrence), had lunch, and perked up enough to play for a bit. He went down for his nap at 12:45, about 30 minutes before he would usually take his 2nd nap. So he bypassed his morning nap and still managed to stay up until the same time. Crazy. No “rest” in the crib or anything. No fight for naps. And a much better bedtime (though we have been sleep training again for 5 days).
A 1 Nap Future
Now, I’m excited. We can do things like StrongStart or the I Hope Centres or other playgroups. Sure, I have less free time to myself, but I’m also not frustrated by drawn-out nap routines or bedtimes. And I have a schedule I can hopefully depend on for a couple of years.
So, let’s have a YAY!!