Her nervous system and internal clock
are still developing, so it's best to keep a regular bedtime—but let naps be
flexible. At her young age, I'd still recommend you go by what we describe in "The Happy Sleeper" as the "span of awake
time" in between her sleeps, not by the clock.
The span of awake time is the amount of time a little one
can be awake before the pressure to sleep builds and a nap is called for.
Missing that window will make her overtired and harder to put to sleep. Plus, she'll be less able to play, learn and interact if she's past her prime window
A 4-month-old can usually be awake for about 60 to 90 minutes
in the morning between wake up time and first nap. After that, the window grows
slightly to more like 2 or 2.5 hours between the last nap and bedtime. Use that
as a guide, and it's all you need to decide when to put her down. Whether she
sleeps for 30 minutes or two hours, it doesn't really matter. What matters is not
keeping her up too long in between sleeps.
Once she's closer to 6 months, you'll probably see a pattern
emerge that tells you she's ready for a by-the-clock nap schedule. Something
around 8:30 a.m., 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. will usually do the trick at this age.