Before we had babies, did we even think twice about the time change?
If you’ve settled into a sleep routine with your baby, and now you feel dread over the upcoming time change, you are not alone. With “Fall Back” quickly approaching, we all wish for an extra hour of sleep! In reality, it means that your baby may just, in fact, wake up one hour earlier than they have been.
Like all adjustments, this can impact you and your baby – changes to sleep schedules, crankiness, fussiness, and just generally acting “off.” If the idea of this has you feeling nervous, rest assured, the sleep disruption from a clock change is typically short-lived. But here are a few tips you can try to help ease the effects of the clock change with minimal disruption to the sleep routine:
How to Help Baby Adjust to Time Changes
1. Ensure room is dark
Make sure to keep baby’s room dark for sleep. Consider putting up black-out curtains or shades so that your baby is not waking up with the sun. If the sun doesn’t shine through their window, it might buy you back that extra hour, or ten minutes – whatever the case may be! Whatever amount of time it is, it will be valuable.
2. Moving baby’s bedtime
You can try moving baby’s bedtime later by about 10-15 minutes each night for the 4-6 nights leading up to clock-change night. These gradual increments may help them adjust so that the clock-change night, and the morning-after, goes by (almost) unnoticed.
3. Keeping baby up a few minutes
Some parents find that all they need to do is keep their baby awake an extra 20 minutes or so on the night of the clock-change, and it helps to work itself out.
4. Listen to your parenting instincts
Don’t override your own parenting instincts – trust them. Ultimately, you guide baby and at times, baby will guide you. Go with what feels best and what works for your family. Depending on the circumstances, adjust as needed to suit the needs of your individual situation.
As always, some of this is trial and error, and a lot of what will or won’t work for your baby depends on your baby’s own individual temperament, and their typical sleep routine.
Make sure to continue whatever sleep routine you already have with your baby. That consistency during bath, nursing/bottle, and story/song at bedtime creates bonding time and reassurance. You’ll want to ensure whatever changes or disruptions there are, the expected routine still happens so that baby adjusts and so does the routine. However you get through it, know that you’re not alone, and that this too shall pass. Here’s to enjoying the season and better sleep.
We would love to hear how you’ve managed time changes and schedule adjustments. What has worked for you? By sharing our stories, we can help empower each other.
Linda Scruggs RN, BSN serves as a resource for parents in the digital space, creating helpful health and wellness content. She has specialized for over 12 years in reproductive medicine, and family and women's health as a nurse. A mom of two young children, her work can be seen on her own blog via her site, lindascruggs.com, as a contributor to The Huffington Post, and created the patient education program in one of the top fertility centers in the country. Linda is all about empowerment in motherhood and would love to connect.
Follow Linda Scruggs: