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  • If I were to design an insignia of the early years, it would be a picture of a precious baby innocently napping. By three months, your little one will have three regular and predictable naps (mid-morning, mid-afternoon, and a short one in early evening). You’ll probably organize them into a flexible schedule to help you plan your day and give your child the predictability and routine that all infants crave. To promote your baby’s self-soothing skill, make sure her eyes are open when you place her down for the nap. If she has already fallen asleep in your arms, just give her a little jostle when you deposit her in the bassinet (the wake-and-sleep technique). Your infant will nap much more soundly if—over the first four months—you use swaddling, rough white noise, and perhaps even rocking in a fully reclined swing (always ask your child’s doctor for permission to do this) to help naps get established more easily. In fact, you want to make sure your little girl is not napping too long during the day! In general, you should limit naps to two hours in duration (more or less)—especially when you are wean­ing your child off the late afternoon nap around four or five months. Naps over three hours definitely reduce nighttime sleep. When you can, you, too, should try to nap during one of these peaceful periods. Many moms find it really helps their sleep if they block out disturbances by using white noise and an eye mask. By six to twelve months, your darling will have shifted down to just two naps a day. Typically, the naps last one hour—two hours, max—but some kids are cat-nappers who pop back up to play after just thirty minutes. Most parents find that the two-nap schedule makes keeping to a regular schedule—the timing and duration of the naps—much easier.

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