Transitioning Back to Two Naps at 17 Months

by Meghan Yost

The whole one nap thing isn’t working for my daughter so it seems as if we’re transitioning back to two naps at 17 months. Here’s why.

Baby sleep is so confusing. Sometimes it feels like every other mom has it figured out except for me. Their babies sleep 12 plus hours at night and then nap for two plus hours a day. Sometimes they nap for that long twice a day. I can’t even imagine what I’d do with all of that time.

But then I count my blessings because Grace has been sleeping through the night since she was six months old (thanks to some gentle sleep training advice from Taking Cara Babies). 

Naps on the other hand have always confounded me. It seems as if the more Grace naps, the less she sleeps at night … or vice versa. 


When she first started sleeping through the night, Grace would be down for 11 hours. But during the day she’d only take two 30 minute naps. Then when I “nap trained” her, Grace usually slept a total of two hours during the day, but only 10 hours at night. It seems like 12 hours, give or take, is Grace’s magic number.

Because of her history, I knew transitioning to one nap wouldn’t be easy.


When Grace was around 15 months, she started to show what I thought were signs she was ready to make the change. She would fight one or both naps and sometimes her second nap would end up being much later in the day, pushing her bedtime.

So about a month and a half ago we started the process of pushing her first nap a bit later and later every day. We got as far as 12pm.

But Grace couldn’t quite nap more than 30 minutes at a clip. Sometimes she’d go 45 minutes, rarely an hour. But that’s it. I should also mention that I try to always have naps in the crib, I put her down awake, and she sleeps in a dark room with white noise.

On the one nap schedule Grace was able to stay awake long enough to make it to her nap and then again to bedtime, but those long stretches left her very cranky. She’d put her head down on the floor throughout the day and during dinner she looked like she was ready to pass out.

transitioning back to two naps at 17 months


By the time I nursed her at night, Grace was so exhausted, she’d conk right out.

Speaking of bedtime, it got pushed way earlier — to 6pm. For a while Grace was making up the sleep and then some. She was down from 6pm to 6am. One night it was even 12.5 hours. 

That big chunk of time was glorious, but as a stay at home mom, the days were lonnnnnnnggg. Thirty minutes is barely enough time to make some lunch, scarf it down and tidy up. 

In the past few weeks Grace has woken up extra early – around 5:30am – which makes the days feel that. much. longer.

So after more than a month or so of trying, things changed…


Grace is now 17 months old. Last week we were out shopping and I looked down at Grace in the stroller. She was passed out. It was 11am. I thought I had enough time to make it home for her nap, but apparently not. She slept her usual 30 minutes while I shopped.

Later that afternoon Grace looked sleepy again, so at 1:30pm I put her down for another nap and she was down for an hour. I was amazed.

The next day she took two naps again. A short one in the morning and a two hour nap in the afternoon. I couldn’t believe it.

It occurred to me that Grace was so over tired by the time she got to her one nap, she couldn’t settle enough to really sleep.


It’s been several days of two naps and it looks like that’s where we’re headed again. I know the experts say once you start the transition to never go back. You’ve got to commit. But one nap just doesn’t seem to work for Grace right now. So there you have it. That’s why we’re transitioning back to two naps at 17 months.

My good friend told me in the past to keep the two naps as long as possible, and I should have listened. Next time I will! 

When did your little one make the transition to one nap? How did you help them through it? Leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you. Also, please tell me I’m not the only mom who feels like she hasn’t figured out this whole napping thing.

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