2-3-4 Nap Schedule: Will It Work for Your Baby?

2-3-4 Nap Schedule: Will It Work for Your Baby?

When it comes to getting your baby to take a nap during the day, you are probably willing to do anything. A napping baby allows your baby to get the rest they need and gives you a chance to rest and knock some items off of your to-do list.

There are many sleep tricks and schedules, and today we are going to chat about the 2-3-4 nap schedule.

What Is the 2-3-4 Nap Schedule?

The 2-3-4 nap schedule is a laddered method to a daily nap and awake schedule. The main idea of the schedule is that your baby is awake the longest stretch before they are put to bed for the night, ensuring that they have a nice, long stretch of sleep before waking up for a feeding or diaper change.

Baby’s First Nap: Two Hours After Waking

Good morning! Two hours after your baby wakes up for the day, lay them down for their first nap.

Baby’s Second Nap: Three Hours After First Nap Ends

After your baby wakes up from their first nap of the day, their second nap should take place three hours later.

Baby’s Third Nap: Four Hours After Second Nap Ends

After your baby wakes up from their second nap of the day, you have four hours until your baby’s bedtime.

During this time, you would ideally go through their typical bedtime routine, signaling to your baby that it is nearly time to rest for the night.

Who Is the 2-3-4 Nap Schedule Best For?

With any nap and sleeping schedule, you’ll want to closely monitor your baby to ensure it is working for them. If your baby is fighting sleep or seems fussy and cranky, you may need to adjust to find that perfect combination of sleep and awake time for your little buddy.

Some babies are better suited for different sleep schedules. Let’s explore what babies may see success with the 2-3-4 nap schedule.

For Babies Who Nap Three Hours Per Day

When it comes to the 2-3-4 nap schedule, babies who are sleepy heads tend to be able to follow this schedule a little better. Babies who nap three hours per day and sleep 12 hours overnight are generally suited for the 2-3-4 method.

If your baby sleeps a little less than 12 hours overnight, you may see that they will wake up earlier and earlier if you put them to bed at the same time. To avoid this creeping wake-up time and getting up before the rooster, you’ll need to adjust your baby’s sleeping schedule accordingly.

For Babies Six Months and Above

Babies younger than six months may not do well with the wake windows in the 2-3-4 schedule. Their wake windows are much shorter.

For example, a five-month-old can only stay awake for around two hours before they need to hit the snooze button again, so four hours would likely be much too long for them to keep their peepers open.

For Babies That Sleep Well Most Nights

If your baby is a deep snoozer, the 2-3-4 nap schedule may be a good fit for your day. Again, if your baby can sleep a solid 12 hours, then the 2-3-4 schedule may help give you stability in your day.

Does the 2-3-4 Nap Schedule Work?

Having your baby on a daytime nap schedule can be a gift from above. Not only does this help put some structure in you and your baby’s life, but it also keeps them on track for a nighttime schedule as well.

A daily nap time routine will likely start to materialize as your baby gets older. You can gradually adjust this routine into a ladder-like schedule, and before you know it, your baby is a 2-3-4 napper extraordinaire.

Does the 2-3-4 Nap Schedule Make Babies Grumpy?

If your baby is experiencing grumpiness on the 2-3-4 schedule, it may have more to do with the fact that they could be feeling overtired. Fussiness can be attributed to feeling exhausted, and this can occur if your baby’s wake window is too long.

Look for their signs of feeling overtired and count back to when they last woke up from their nap. This will give you a good indication if your baby’s wake window is a bit too long.

What To Do If Your Baby Won’t Nap

We all know that babies like to do things their own way. We try our hardest to put them on a schedule, and really what we have to do is find the right schedule for them. If your baby doesn’t nap, it may be time to do some adjusting.

Your baby may not be tired, especially if they have reached the age to stay up a little longer between naps. If this is the case, adjust nap times so they have a longer wake window. Instead of a 2-3-4 schedule, you may need to adjust and make it a 3-3-4 schedule, or even a 2.5-3.5-4.5 schedule, you get the picture.

Using this laddered approach, no matter what the number, may be helpful to keep you on a schedule but also gives you room to adjust for your baby’s needs.

Is Four Hours Between Naps Too Much for a Baby?

Depending on your baby’s age, four hours between naps may be a little too long. Babies usually don’t start staying awake for longer than three to four hours between naps until they are around nine to 12 months of age.

Even at this interval, four hours is on the long end. If this works for your baby and they are able to sleep well, that’s a big high-five for you! Keep doing what works for you and your baby.

It may be tempting to try to keep your baby awake so you can perfectly apply the 2-3-4 schedule, but an overtired baby can take longer to settle down. Overtired babies can also experience shorter sleep times and fussiness between naps.

Adjust the schedule so that you don’t go longer than four hours between naps. As your baby gets older, you can gradually extend those wake times to a sweet spot that best suits them.

Make Sleep Easier With Little Yawn Collective

When your sleepy head needs a little help catching some zzzs, your pals at Little Yawn Collective have just the thing to help your baby snooze away. Our melatonin-free sleep solutions are the perfect companion in your bedtime routine.

Every night of good sleep starts with a consistent bedtime routine. No matter what steps you take in your routine, easy does it so your baby can unwind and relax.

Start with a warm and cleansing bath with our Soothing Shampoo & Body Wash with Calendula formulated to ease your baby into snoozy time while being gentle on their skin. Follow up with our Nourishing Body Lotion with Oat & Shea Butter to keep your baby’s skin nice and soft for the coziest bedtime.

After a cuddle and a bedtime story, spritz the Relaxing Pillow & Linen Spray to top off the sleepy environment that will carry your baby to dreamland.

Each of these products contains our NaturalSnooze fragrance, which contains soothing scents like lavender, bergamot, and cedarwood. Along with other scents, this dreamy trio will lay the stepping stones to a good night’s sleep. Our products are naturally sourced and gentle for your little one.

No matter what schedule or routine you are on, we know that bedtime can be hard. Rest easy and let us help make bedtime a breeze!


How Can I Tell When My Baby Is Tired? | Cleveland Clinic

The 2-3-4 nap schedule that will get your baby to sleep | Today's Parent

Wake Windows by Age Chart: Help Your Baby Sleep Better With The Right Schedule | Baby Sleep Site

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