Down for the count

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Three- to six-month-olds still have to nap off and on throughout the day, although the timing and length of the naps varies from baby to baby. After breakfast, many babies enjoy an active play period, followed by a calmer period of gazing around from the infant seat or a brightly colored blanket (perhaps the kind with toys attached) on the floor.

Calm babies may simply drift off to sleep wherever they are when the time comes, particularly if you’ve had the foresight to put them in reasonably quiet, unstimulating surroundings. More high-strung babies may need to be held, rocked, and possibly given a bottle of plain water or a pacifier before they can wind down for a nap.

If you’re out and about in the morning, your baby may well fall asleep in the car. Some babies sleep right through a transfer from car seat to crib, but others will startle and waken as soon as you jostle them, then remain wakeful but fussy perhaps extremely so. Parents whose babies wake easily may therefore want to avoid letting them fall asleep anywhere but in the crib.

Likewise, you can get overdependent on a car ride to put your baby to sleep and find yourself aimlessly cruising the streets for longer and longer periods as the baby gets older.

It is, in fact, a good idea to put the baby down for a nap when she is relaxed but not yet asleep. That way, the baby learns to go to sleep alone and doesn’t have to depend on you.
Whether the baby sleeps one, two, or three hours, she is likely to wake up hungry again.

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This midday meal might be the best time to serve the baby some cereal or, at around five months, some strained fruit.


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