First, try to get at the root cause. Is your baby objecting to something in her nap environment? Maybe it's too warm or too cool, too loud or too quiet. Or perhaps she just hasn't mastered the skills that will allow her to soothe herself back to sleep if she wakes up. Another possibility: Perhaps you're waiting too long to put baby down for her nap -- most babies should nap two hours after they've woken up in the morning.
If your baby is consistently waking up too early from her naps, work on establishing adequate nighttime sleep first. Contrary to what you may have previously thought, being overtired actually prevents babies from sleeping well. If your baby does sleep well at night, make sure her naps are in a similar environment; buy thick curtains to pull across the windows and create a pre-nap wind-down similar to your bedtime routine. --Meagan Francis
Originally published in American Baby magazine, September 2007. Updated 2009