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Baby Sleep: All About Nap Time

Find out how and when to get babies to sleep during the day.

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After you have accomplished the goal of having your baby fall asleep on his own at night, then it is time to turn your attention to daytime sleep. A baby's daytime and nighttime sleep are interrelated. One affects the other. A baby who is sleeping well at night will take better naps and vice versa. By 4 months, babies need to take at least 2 naps a day. Some babies will even take 3 naps. Each nap should be a minimum of 1 hour. And actually a nap of 1-1/2 to 2 hours is better still. The morning nap usually begins 1-1/2 to 2 hours after the morning waking. We recommend putting your baby down for his naps at the same time each day. This will establish and reinforce your baby's internal clock. 1 to 2pm are typical afternoon naptimes for babies between 4 and 15 months. You can use an edited version of your nightly bedtime routine in the day-- clean diapers, story or song, a bottle or nursing. Keep your baby's room dark, comfortably cool and quiet. While your baby may have been able to sleep during a party or in his play pen during the first few months of life, this no longer holds true. Your baby can and will be awaken from a nap. So make the conditions conducive to uninterrupted sleep. The benefits of doing the exact same thing whenever you put your baby to bed is that he gets a consistent and clear message. Trust that your baby is ready to sleep and do not wait for signs that he is tired. While frequent short naps are fine when they are younger, longer naps provide him with more hours of deep sleep.