Time change + baby’s schedule

Greetings Mammas & Pappas,

Yes indeed, our clocks spring forward this Sunday! What does this mean for your baby?

I wanted to write a quick note on this because there are always a few well-intentioned parents who attempt to make this time change easier on their baby but end up getting the switch-aroo backwards and their baby starts waking at 5am!  Eeek, yes.

Come Sunday, when you wake in the morning your clock will read 7am, when in fact, it is the old 6am. Essentially, we lose an hour of sleep. If you normally put your baby down for bed at 7pm, on Sunday night, you will actually be putting him to bed at 6pm (his little internal biological clock will be mildly thrown, despite losing an hour of sleep in the morning).

Is there anything you can or should do to help your baby to roll more easily with the spring forward?  Here are a few options…

Lock-in his schedule (do nothing)

For a naturally early riser, don’t change a thing. Keep your baby on the same schedule, even as the clocks shifts.  Voila.  He is waking up an hour later!  If you have to wake your child in the morning because of a daycare or work schedule, this is not the way to go, as you’ll be depriving your baby or toddler an hour of sleep.  This plan is a better fit for baby who can handle a later bedtime and wake time (and has the opportunity to sleep that extra hour).

Start to shift before the clocks

Some parents like to work up to the change by putting their baby down 15 minutes earlier, each night for 4 consecutive nights prior to the time change.  This helps your child sync up with the shift more gradually.  This is a good option if you have a baby who is sensitive to change, is doing any kind of sleep modification, or has a very rigid schedule.

Try putting your baby down half an hour earlier on Sunday and for a week or so following.  Gradually, or overnight, shift it back  30 minutes, to her original schedule (by the new clock).  This strategy is less jarring to a baby’s internal clock.

Ignore the shift

You can also try to put your baby down an hour earlier on Sunday (at the same time, by the new clock).  She may struggle for a day or two but then catch on and adjust, as we all do.  This usually works well for a baby who is generally flexible with sleep or who has a slightly variable bedtime and wake time.

I hope this helps.  Send me a note if you have any questions – it’s usually as clear as pancake mix.  Happy springing, any way you do it!

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