Tips to maintain good sleep routines for your baby during daylight savings

By:AU Marketing

Tips to maintain good sleep routines for your baby during daylight savings

Who doesn’t love the end of Daylight Saving's in autumn? Parents of babies, that’s who! While most everyone else enjoys falling back an hour and thus getting an extra hour of sleep, babies have yet to get the memo that they’re supposed to sleep in the next morning.

If you have yet to experience a Daylight Saving Time, whether springing forward or falling back with a baby, then you may be wondering how one little hour can throw off your baby’s sleep schedule. From the personal experiences of mothers everywhere, if your baby isn’t prepared, they can go from a good sleeper to a bad sleeper overnight. Your baby may have a harder time falling asleep or they may start waking up an hour early every morning. Not even a morning and an afternoon caffeine pick-me-up can help you get through those long days and nights. And it can take up to two weeks before your baby is back to their normal sleep schedule.

Sleep matters – for your baby and you! So, if you want to help your baby continue being a good sleeper through Daylight Saving Time and the ensuing holidays, follow these tips and tricks to maintain good sleep routines for your baby.

How to Prepare Your Baby for Daylight Savings 

1. Have a solid sleep foundation beforehand.

You can’t expect to have a good sleeper during and after Daylight Saving Time (DST) if your baby isn’t already sleeping well. With a solid sleep foundation set before DST, which includes having a consistent bedtime routine and sleeping in a dark room, your baby will have a better chance of sleeping soundly through the time change.

2. Start adjusting your baby’s schedule one week before the time change. 

The Monday or Tuesday before Daylight Savings ends, gradually move your baby’s daily schedule ahead by 10-15 minutes each day. Some babies will do fine with such a short shift, but if your baby wakes up a little earlier in the morning or from a nap, then you can try holding them in their room until it’s time to wake up. You can also try letting them hang out in their crib for as long as it’s safe and you feel comfortable to help mitigate early wakeups.

Here’s an example of how to adjust a baby’s schedule when the clocks fall back for babies still taking two naps a day:

Monday

 

(normal schedule)

Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday

 

(after DST ends)

Wake up 6 a.m. 6:10 a.m. 6:20 a.m. 6:30 a.m. 6:40 a.m. 6:50 a.m. 6 a.m.
Wake window 3 hours 3 hours 3 hours 3 hours 3 hours 3 hours 3 hours
1st nap 9-10:30 a.m. 9:10-10:40 a.m. 9:20-10:50 a.m. 9:30-11 a.m. 9:40-11:10 a.m. 9:50-11:20 a.m. 9-10:30 a.m.
Wake window 3 hours 3 hours 3 hours 3 hours 3 hours 3 hours 3 hours
2nd nap 1:30-3 p.m. 1:40-3:10 p.m. 1:50-3:20 p.m. 2-3:30 p.m. 2:10-3:40 p.m. 2:20-3:50 p.m. 1:30-3 p.m.
Wake window 3.5 hours 3.5 hours 3.5 hours 3.5 hours 3.5 hours 3.5 hours 3.5 hours
Bedtime 6:30 p.m. 6:40 p.m. 6:50 p.m. 7 p.m. 7:10 p.m. 7:20 p.m. 6:30 p.m.

 

Some stay-at-home and work-from-home parents who have more flexibility can play catch-up by adjusting their baby’s schedule after Daylight Saving. To do it this way, stick with the same advice given above, adjusting your baby’s schedule by 10-15 minutes every day for a week, starting on the first day the time changes.

3. Extend your baby’s wake windows the weekend of Daylight Savings Time. 

If you don’t want to do daily adjustments the week leading up to DST, some sleep experts, like Cara Dumaplin from Taking Cara Babies, suggest a second option - extend your baby’s wake windows the weekend before the time change. And it’s as simple as it sounds. Simply extend your baby’s wake windows (the time when they’re awake in between their naps and bedtime) by about 15 minutes. So, if your baby’s typical wake window is 3 hours, then you try to keep them awake for 3 hours and 15 minutes.

Cara does say that if on Sunday your baby is ready for bed at 6:30 p.m., even if bedtime is usually 7 p.m., it’s OK to put them to bed at 6:30. Even with the clocks going back an hour, she says it’s more likely that your baby will sleep later than if you put them to bed overtired.

4. Don’t cut out or shorten naps.

Adjusting your baby’s daily schedule or extending their wake windows doesn’t mean you should shorten or cut any naps. Naps are precious – for parents and babies! And if you cut out or shorten a nap and your baby still sleeps the same amount (or less), then you and your baby will be more deprived than if you let them keep their nap routine.

5. Stay consistent with your regular bedtime routine. 

Consistency is good for babies. When your baby knows what’s coming, they are calmer. A calm baby is a lot easier to put to bed than a fussy one. So, whatever bedtime routine you’ve established, keep doing it. Even the simple pattern of bath, pajamas, feed, and swaddle prepares your baby for sleep no matter what time the clock says.

6. Keep your baby’s room dark. 

The end of DST means it gets darker earlier, which could work in your favor to get your baby to sleep. But it also means the sun rises earlier, which could work against your good sleeper if the sun creeps in and wakes them up an hour earlier. If you don’t already have them, invest in blackout curtains. Also, remember that light helps reset your baby’s internal clock, so when it’s time for them to wake up make sure that you open those blackout curtains to let sunlight in.

7. Make sure you’re both well-rested before Daylight Saving Time.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you and your baby could sleep longer during the days leading up to the time change? Then those extra hours of sleep would come into play and make up for late nights or earlier wake-up times? Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. But you can plan your life so that in the week leading up to DST, you and your baby are getting plenty of sleep. That might mean saying no to family trips or date nights because these short-term sacrifices are worth it in the long run. If your baby is already overtired before the time change, adjusting to a new sleep schedule won’t be easy on either of you. A well-rested baby will better adapt to the time change.

 


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