The 4 to 3 nap transition is a sign that your baby isn’t a newborn any longer! Your baby’s sleep is changing and becoming more adult like. Instead of going in to deep sleep at the beginning of their nap, they are now going through stages before entering in to the deep sleep that your newborn baby used to do so well. The 4 to 3 nap transition also means that your baby is now able to connect their sleep cycles and have nice long restorative naps. So how to you know when your baby is ready for this transition?
Main sign to transition.
The first sign of your baby being ready for this transition is that their morning and midday naps have extended into 1.5 hours. Usually what happens is that your baby starts to extend their morning nap first and then several weeks later their midday nap will come together too. Great night sleep generally lays the foundation for learning to sleep well for the morning nap and then a great morning nap lays the foundation for the afternoon nap. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “sleep begets sleep”. It really is so true.
In general the transition from 4 to 3 naps a day tends to happen somewhere between 4 and 5 months of age. Other signs you can look for to aid in determining whether your baby is ready to make the transition are:
- Is your baby refusing that fourth nap multiple times a week for multiple weeks?
- Is the fourth nap now starting too late in the day? If it starts after 5pm then bedtime will become way too late.
- Is your baby now managing to stay awake for 2 hours a day? When this happens it often leaves no room for a 4thnap in the day.
How to schedule naps.
Once you have determined that your baby is ready for the nap transition, it is time to start scheduling your baby’s naps based on clock times instead of wake windows. It is important to know that the morning and midday naps have different benefits to your baby, and both are equally as important as the other. The morning nap is mentally restorative and the midday nap is physically restorative. It is important to ensure that your baby gets good quality naps at both these times. The purpose if cat nap is to help your baby get to bedtime while their wake windows are still too short to make it to a reasonable time without another nap.
Enjoy the 4 to 3 nap transition! This means you are having longer wake windows and you should be feeling less chained to the house because of constant naps! If you are still not sure if your little one can handle the transition, please feel free to reach out for a sleep strategy session and we can problem solve together!