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Here’s why I just love a short morning nap and a longer lunch/afternoon nap routine...

A baby is crawling

I know there are so many nap routines out there, with different timings that it can be really confusing and hard to know what works!

When my twins were 8 months old we enlisted the help of a sleep consultant who told me I needed to cut the morning nap from their glorious 1 hour and 20 mins they would do, right down to 30 mins. I’m going to let you in on a little secret here, but I actually lied to my sleep consultant in the logs she made me keep! Was she serious? I had been up all night with twin babies and it took me so long to get them down for their nap (which I so desperately needed them to take so I could take a hot minute myself!) And she expected me to wake these twin tornadoes UP from their morning slumber?! Heck no! What I didn’t understand is there is a method behind this madness and I’m going to share my reasons as a well-seasoned sleep consultant why she was bang on the money and I actually needed to do just that (even though I didn’t want to take her advice on this one!).

Now, big disclaimer here… if having a longer morning nap is working for you now with amazing nights and no early starts, then you don’t need to change a thing. It’s working beautifully until it's not, so keep going! However, if your little one is on 2-3 naps a day and having a beautiful long morning nap and then a very short afternoon nap making for a long, cranky afternoon, then, you may want to consider capping the first nap.

Here’s why I just love a short morning nap and a longer lunch/afternoon nap for our little ones:

1. It provides balance to your little one’s day if they have their big nap in the middle of the day.

Sleep distribution is well-balanced and it works well. They’ll be able to tolerate bigger awake windows in the afternoon when the 3rd nap has been dropped. It also helps enough sleep pressure to build for the amazing big stretch of consolidated night sleep ahead.

2. It helps protect against early morning wakeups.

One of the common struggles I see with early risers is that because they have woken so early, their little bodies start to treat their long morning nap as an extension of their nighttime sleep. We need them to be sleeping in those early hours of the morning but instead, they are really reliant on the long morning nap to catch up on sleep.

3. It makes the 2 to 1 nap transition so much easier.

If the morning nap is already short, then the lunch nap just stays the same. Barely any adjustments are needed for this nap transition as they have been used to a solid lunch nap in place.

4. Less likely to fight their 2nd nap.

If your older baby is having a long morning nap, often their afternoon nap will be cut short or they will start to fight their 2nd nap altogether. This can result in a really large awake window before bed and an overtired bubs come bedtime. It can also result in the 2nd nap becoming too close to bedtime therefore the sleep pressure they need for an early bedtime has reduced.

5. It allows you to get out in the morning.

Run those errands, meet with other mums and because it’s short it’s an ideal nap to have on the go. From 6 months, the morning nap only needs to be 30 minutes with a 1.5-2 hour lunch nap in place so it’s an easy nap to achieve in the pram, car seat or front pack.

6. You can sync your baby and toddler!

It works beautifully when you have a toddler and a baby and you can sync both of them up to have a long lunch nap together!

7. It fits in with biological sleep windows.

There are biological sleep windows in the day between 9-10am, 12-2pm, and 6-7pm where your baby is primed and ready for restorative sleep. During these windows, your baby’s hormones and body temperature adjust and their drive to sleep is high so they are more likely to settle easily and stay asleep! Having a shorter morning nap enables the lunch nap to fall in this window of 12-2pm.

If you are struggling with early wakes and your little one is on a 2 nap routine, I’d encourage you to trim the morning nap down to 30 minutes and work on a longer lunch nap to balance out sleep for them. If you need help with routines and want to see ideal feeding and sleep routines, then check out my Ultimate Guide of Routines.

If you are feeling confused and frustrated over your little one's sleep, we can work together over a week or 2 weeks to get them to Just Love Sleep again! You can check out my sleep packages below, or send me a message and we can chat about how I can help you and your family.

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