What is the 2-3-4 Nap Schedule?

There is a lot of baby lingo that get’s thrown around in the parenting world. Whether you are in an online mom group, at the park, or scouring parenting blogs, it is easy to become overwhelmed with “wake windows”,”sleep log”, “baby lead weaning”, and every other term that comes with parenting in the 21st century. The “2-3-4 nap schedule” is another great example. 

 

So…what is the 2-3-4 nap schedule? In this post, I will break it all down for you so not only are you able to decide if it is a good fit for your baby, but you will be “in the know” at your next mom group. 

 

What exactly is the 2-3-4 nap schedule?

 

Will my baby benefit from the 2-3-4 schedule?

 

What’s an alternative 2 nap schedule? 

 

 

What exactly is the 2-3-4 nap schedule? 

 

 

2 nap schedule |The Peaceful Sleeper

 

The 2-3-4 nap schedule is a nap schedule that is based on wake windows. I know, I know, another baby term! Wake windows are the period of time between when your baby wakes up (from a nap or in the morning) until they go to sleep again. When your baby is a newborn, they are only able to stay up for very short periods of time (About 60-90 min wake windows) and as they get older their wake windows extend as they can be up for longer stretches. 

The 2-3-4 nap schedule is for babies who are on two naps a day. The first wake window would be 2 hours, the second would be 3 hours and the last wake window for bed is 4 hours.

Here is an example of the 2-3-4 nap schedule: 

 

Time of Day  Wake Window 
Wake Up  7 am  2 hours 
Nap 1 Start  9am 
Nap 1 End  10:30 am  3 hours
Nap 2 Start 1:30 pm 
Nap 2 End  3:30 pm  4 hours 
Bed  7:30 pm

 

 

Will my baby benefit from the 2-3-4 schedule?

 

Just like all aspects of baby sleep, what works for one baby won’t necessarily work for another. This is why I’m such a huge advocate for tuning into YOUR baby and doing what works for your family. 

 

That being said, when you are dropping to 2 naps, a 2-3-4 schedule can be a great starting point. From there, as you tune into what’s working for your baby, you can tweak the schedule to what works best for them. The important piece is looking at overall sleep and ensuring that your baby is getting the sleep they need to be well rested. 

 

When babies are on a 2 nap schedule, they are usually 7-14 months old. The average sleep needs for this stage are as follows: 

 

Ideal length of naps Awake time between naps Awake time before bed Average amount of daytime sleep  Average amount of nighttime sleep Average amount of TOTAL sleep 
60-90 min 2-3 hours 4 hours 3-4 hours  11-12 hours 14-15 hours 

 

Again, these are just averages and are meant to be a point of reference or starting point as you tweak your baby’s nap schedule to find their optimal sleep schedule. Some babies have higher sleep needs (and require more sleep than the average for their age) and other babies have lower sleep needs (and require less sleep than the average for their age). 

 

 

What’s an alternative 2 nap schedule? 

 

Nap schedule for baby on 2 naps |The Peaceful Sleeper

 

As I mentioned above, when you drop to two naps, I recommend using the 2-3-4 nap schedule as a starting point. If these wake windows don’t work for your baby, no need to worry! Every baby is different, and what really matters is that your baby is on a sleep schedule that meets THEIR sleep needs. 

 

The idea of the 2-3-4 nap schedule is that babies do better with progressively longer wake windows throughout the day.  However, there are a lot of different wake window combinations that accomplish this, and some babies do better with wake windows that are more equal in length. Basically, the 2-3-4 nap schedule doesn’t work for all babies, so here are a few nap schedule alternatives. 

 

Lower sleep needs baby: 

 

Time of Day  Wake Window 
Wake Up  6:30 am  3 hours 
Nap 1 Start  9:30 am 
Nap 1 End  11:00 am  3.5 hours
Nap 2 Start 2:30 pm 
Nap 2 End  3:30 pm  4 hours 
Bed  7:30 pm

 

 

Higher sleep needs baby: 

 

Time of Day  Wake Window 
Wake Up  7:30 am  2 hours 
Nap 1 Start  9:30 am 
Nap 1 End  11:30 am  2.5 hours
Nap 2 Start 2:00 pm 
Nap 2 End  4:00 pm  3.5 hours 
Bed  7:30 pm

 

 

More evenly distributed wake windows throughout the day: 

 

Time of Day  Wake Window 
Wake Up  7:00 am  3 hours 
Nap 1 Start  10:00 am 
Nap 1 End  11:30 am  3 hours
Nap 2 Start 2:30 pm 
Nap 2 End  4:00 pm  3 hours 
Bed  7:00 pm

 

 

Choose your own adventure nap schedule: 

 

Time of Day  Wake Window 
Wake Up 
Nap 1 Start 
Nap 1 End 
Nap 2 Start
Nap 2 End 
Bed 

 

That’s right, as long as your baby is well rested and has solid naps and nighttime sleep, I would not recommend making any changes to your sleep schedule! If it’s not broken, don’t fix it 🙂 

 

 

Recap on what is the 2-3-4 nap schedule 

 

Again, at the end of the day, this blog post is meant to empower you with knowledge and confidence around average sleep needs and nap schedules for babies on a 2 nap schedule. My goal is always to help you figure out what works best for your little one. 

 

If you would like help digging into YOUR baby’s sleep schedule, tuning into your baby and figuring out how to optimize their sleep, our sleep consultants would love to help you! Sometimes you just need an expert to hash things out with and help you ditch all of the overwhelm and stress. 

 

You can check out all of our consultation options here

 

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