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Q+A: How Can I Get My Newborn to Nap Alone?

Q. My newborn falls asleep easily in my arms, but when I put her into her bassinet, she starts to cry -- so she ends up napping in my arms. As a result, I have no time for myself. Help!

A. As tough as it can be for new parents who just want a few minutes to themselves, the fact is that very young babies often prefer being held to any other position. But what can you do to get the breaks you need? Some parents find that a baby carrier or sling is a good compromise. They allow you to carry your baby while you get things done around the house. This is also the time to call some of those people who offered to help with the baby -- friends, family, or a postpartum doula. They can hold your daughter while she sleeps, and you can shower, return e-mail, run errands, or just take a much-needed nap.

That said, if you ultimately want your daughter to sleep in her bassinet, it's important to be consistent about using it at naptime so she has a chance to get used to it. As your daughter grows, she'll be more able to soothe herself, which will make it easier for her to fall asleep.

Rebecca Parlakian, also of Zero to Three, contributed to this column.

Copyright © 2008. Used with permission from the May 2008 issue of American Baby magazine.