Why I prefer a short nap – long nap routine for Babies

Why I prefer a short nap – long nap routine for Babies

Why I prefer a short nap – long nap routine for Babies

Why I don’t encourage a long nap followed by a short nap

Babies thrive on consistency; they love their nap routines and many parents spend hours looking online and in books to find the perfect nap routine for their baby.

One of the most common questions we get asked is why do you cap the morning nap? Why shouldn’t I do a long morning sleep and a shorter later afternoon sleep?

There are a lot of reasons, and my experience with over 10,000 babies tells me the majority of the time the shorter morning sleep suits babies and parents and comes with these benefits below.

  • A short morning sleep encourages a longer lunch time sleep which is the most restorative time of the day for a child to nap.
  • A long morning sleep can be seen as an extension of a baby’s night sleep, and contribute to early morning wake ups in children over 6 months old.
  • A short morning sleep is easy to achieve out and about and on the go, so you can get moving in the morning and head off to kinder or play group, or to run errands and know that your baby only needs a quick nap in the car to be fine until after lunch.

  • A long morning sleep usually means a short afternoon sleep, which means your baby is surviving from potentially 11am to bed time on only maybe 45 minutes’ sleep between 1-4pm? This can mean your baby is very over tired come bed time, and thus doesn’t sleep well at night.
  • When you drop to one nap at 15-18 months, simply dropping a morning nap and keeping a lunch nap is much easier than progressively shifting a morning nap later and later and having months of a tired toddler who can’t cope. (call me lazy, but I love easy transitions!).
  • The 12 month sleep regression hits those hardest who have a long morning sleep and a short afternoon sleep.

Ok so those are my reasons for loving the pattern of short – long when it comes to baby’s naps.

As always, do what works for you and your family.


  • How long do you recommend the morning nap be then? Should you wake the baby up if they want to sleep longer? My 9 month old is waking up really early (4:45-5:15am) and I wonder if a long morning nap is the issue. He will sleep usually 1 hour 45 minutes.

    Stef on

  • What is the amount of time to cap the morning nap for a one year old?

    Katelyn on

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