How To Make Naps A Snap

Sleeping regularly makes for a less cranky baby-and mom, read advice on how to achieve this.

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At first, your newborn will likely fall asleep whenever and wherever he wants. "His governing factors are sleep and hunger, and they override everything else," says Jodi Mindell, Ph.D., author of Sleeping Through the Night (HarperCollins).

You won't get him on a nap schedule yet, but you should make sure he wakes for feedings every few hours during the day. When he's 3 months, you can start to get serious about snoozing. After all, sleeping regularly makes for a less cranky baby--and mom, Mindell says. Here's her advice:

•Wake your baby around the same time every morning. Try to adhere to set nap times: 9:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m., and possibly 5:30 p.m. if he seems drowsy. If that's too rigid for you, put your child to bed two hours after he wakes up, whenever that is throughout the day.

•Signal it's time to sleep with a shortened version of your nighttime routine. "If you typically sing lullabies to your baby at night, sing a few before his nap as well," says Mindell.

•By about 9 to 10 months of age, most babies should rest twice a day--at around 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.

•As often as possible, aim to have your baby nap in the very same spot where he sleeps at night. And if you get in the habit of nursing him to sleep or putting him in a stroller or swing, be forewarned: Eventually he won't be able to fall asleep any other way.

Want more information, including the latest on how to prevent your baby from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)? Read here.

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