Get Your Baby Ready for the Time Change
Daylight savings time can wreak havoc on babies’ sleep schedules twice a year, and it’s happening again this weekend. Here’s how to get ready. Photo: Thinkstock / The Bump
On the morning of Sunday, March 11, we “spring forward.” That means one hour less sleep for you, mama (boo!). But how will it affect your baby?
“It can be kind of like the baby has jet lag,” says Angelique Millett, a family sleep consultant in San Francisco. “They may be harder to put down at bedtime, or awake when they’re not supposed to be. When toddlers or older kids get off schedule or their routines change, they may exhibit ‘testing’ behaviors.” Your child could be moody or cranky or act up, or simply need more naps in the upcoming week or so.
Try to prevent problems by getting your child ready now, suggests Millett. She says putting baby to bed 10 minutes earlier each night for six nights can help make the transition smoother. (Don’t worry if you haven’t started this yet. You can extend it for a few days post-Sunday.) After the clock change, it may help to use room-darkening curtains in the nursery so baby can’t see how light it is outside in the evening.
Looking for more tips? Here’s how other moms deal with clock changes:
“I'd just follow baby’s cues for when he's tired and put him to bed at that time. He might have a cranky day or two if his schedule is a bit thrown off by it, but he should adjust quickly.” -- new_mrsP
“Maybe split the difference on Sunday night and Monday if needed. If it’s 7:45 p.m. and he isn’t tired, go for an 8:15 p.m. bedtime. Just keep shortening that time until you get back to the 7:45 p.m. bedtime.” -- RoxBride
“I'll probably keep my daughter up 30 minutes later than normal on Saturday, and her internal schedule will work itself out within a day or two.” -- Mainelyfoolish
“Daylight savings time was my saving grace with my daughter. We kept her on her same schedule, just let the clock adjust. So the first morning when she normally woke up at 6 a.m., it was actually 7 a.m., so we kept her up late that night -- not by a whole hour, but 30 minutes. I swear it's what saved me -- getting up at 7 a.m. instead of 6 a.m. I needed that extra hour in the mornings!” -- 123pcb
If you find baby’s sleep cycle is messed up in the next week or so, don’t freak out. Find ways to get back to your usual schedule. “Our body clocks really like routine and consistency,” says Millett. “What’s going to work with each family is different -- you may want to introduce some calming activities or quiet time before bedtime, or make sure your child’s last nap doesn’t end too late in the afternoon.” The good news is, within a week or two, your child will adjust to daylight savings time naturally. In the meantime, good luck and sleep when you can, mama!
Plus, more from The Bump:
Ways to Help Baby Sleep Better
Baby Sleep Myths -- Busted!
Craziest Things Tired Moms Did
See More: Baby Basics , Mommy Life , Newborn Basics , Sleep Problems , Toddler Basics
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