When Daylight Savings comes around, baby schedules are usually always disrupted. I usually get the most calls from frustrated sleepy parents whose babies have been otherwise great sleepers during DST. Each time we alter the clock, whether in the Fall Back or Spring Ahead, our babies become confused with their new sleep times. With the March spring ahead shift taking place soon, I’ve been thinking:
How can we prepare babies for Spring Ahead?
One thing I have to mention for all baby sleep are investing in great black out window treatments. Specifically for the daylight savings spring ahead time change! I can’t stress the importance of being able to turn a bedroom lush with windows and light into a soothing womb of darkness and white noise quickly. This will help you in so many ways, and something I highly recommend investing in! If you are looking for a quick fix, there is a temporary option in the links below.
Daylight Savings and Baby Sleep Disruptions
For your baby, daylight savings can mean another obstacle placed in the path of their sleep schedule. If you currently have a baby who wakes early, it might seem appealing that your baby might wake later. However, it is almost never that cut and dried when it comes to baby sleep! Your baby’s internal sleep clock helps them go to bed roughly the same time at night. That same clock helps them wake up fairly consistently every morning. When the time changes, that consistency of bedtime will most certainly feel different. They will most likely have a difficult time going to bed at their normal time.
Slow and Steady Preparation
The best way to slowly prepare for the time change. This gives everyone a small head start to gently change the routine and pattern they are used to. Additionally, if your baby needs to have a set time to wake for daycare, it would be wise to prepare in advance. You are looking to do this a week in advance to the time change, if possible.
If your baby is used to going to bed every night at 7pm, with the jump ahead that will now be 8pm. In order to gently shift your baby’s bedtime back to the original 7pm time, without having them notice, the best thing to do is to start shifting their bedtime 10 minutes earlier a few nights in advance (15 mins earlier is just 4 nights, 10 would be six nights).
Here is a sample schedule for a 7pm bedtime:
The Darker the Room, the Better
The darker the room the better, and the In my expert opinion, Daylight Savings Time has to be the reason why blackout curtains were invented in the first place. Your baby may be sensitive to seeing more light during this time period. It is really important to have them distinguish between a daytime room, and a bedroom that is set for sleep.
Flexible Routine for the Following Week
I would also recommend having a more flexible daytime routine for the next 5-7 days following the change. Naps are bound to change, night sleep is most definitely going to change a bit. In my experience, mornings get the hardest hit for a bit afterward with daylight savings! Plan for easy mornings without a lot of activity or running around if you can.
Biding your time can also help those rocky first mornings. Your baby is going to take a little more coaxing to adjust. If your baby wakes and hour earlier than usual, say 5am instead of 6am, resist rushing into the room when they first cry. Wait until ten after the first day, twenty after the following day, and then 6:30 the third day. By the end of the week, your baby’s schedule should be adjusted to the new time and they should be waking up at their usual hour.
“It can be kind of like the baby has jet lag. He may be harder to put down at bedtime or awake when he’s not supposed to be,” says Angelique Millette, a family sleep consultant in San Francisco.
Having compassion and patience with yourself and your baby will help, as will remembering that this is a short transition.