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When should babies nap?

Although moms may relish napping more than their children, it's no secret that naps are important to a happy, healthy baby. During your baby's first few months, naps are pretty unpredictable. Your baby may sleep on and off around the clock. But once your baby is around 4 months old, naps get more regular and last longer. From 4 months to 1 year old, most babies do well with at least two naps -- one in the morning and one in the early afternoon. From 1 to 4 years old, many children need just one afternoon nap that lasts about two or three hours.
Until three months of age, there isn’t much you can do to influence this; babies will sleep where and when they want to. Until this age, they are more influenced by their internal needs and feelings, and less influenced by external stimulation. But after three months, you can try to limit naps and keep her awake more during the day. Keeping her active, interested, and engaged is the best way to wear her out for better sleep at night. Experiment with her nap times and overall amount of daytime sleep. If she naps three times a day, try two longer naps. Don’t let naps run too late into the afternoon. Or awaken her a few minutes early from her naps, to see if she “consolidates” her sleep better at night. But don’t make the opposite mistake and eliminate naps; this creates an overtired baby, and an overtired baby will sleep less at night. 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.