Every time the clocks go forwards or backwards, parents across the world whose baby has finally settled into a nice sleep schedule or sleep routine go into a panic. As parents, we begrudge the hour earlier wake up call but how do we get them to go to sleep an hour earlier too? It’s also a great time to adjust bedtimes and naptimes if needed or wanted, it all seems to be subject to change due to Day Light Saving Time – what can we expect?
Spring Forward, Fall Back
We are taught this saying to remember which way the clocks are going but, is it just us or can we also spring back and fall forwards meaning we still have to rack our baby-tired brains for the answer?
In October, the clocks go backwards an hour and as our Baby Sleep Coach inbox begins to fill with worried parents, we wanted to share some quick tips for ways you might want to adapt your routine.
1) Start Putting Your Baby To Bed Slightly Later
To help with the transition of an hour, start putting your child to bed slightly later from Thursday. We recommend just 15 minutes later on Thursday and then to keep increasing by 15 minutes nightly until Sunday when you can put them to bed at the normal time. This can help by allowing your child minor adaptions and hopefully, the small changes will mean the wake-up time isn’t disturbed. Make sure to stick to their usual bedtime routine at the later time.
2) If Your Baby Wakes Up An Hour Later Once The Times Have Changed, Gently Adjust Nap time
We all know the joy of trying to get baby to stay awake around nap time, but if your baby does wake up later in the morning try to adjust their naps by 20 minutes so that they falling into the ‘new time’ schedule throughout the day. This should only take a day or two to allow them to adjust. If baby tries to ‘catch up’ by stretching their nap or sleeping late, don’t be tempted to let them or you’ll have to continue the adjustment cycle for longer.
3) Go Outside!
The natural light/dark times affects our circadian rhythm which is a large factor in your body’s sleep preparation. Unsurprisingly, the ‘daylight savings time’ was created to capture the main hours of light! We have spoken about the positive effects of Vitamin D previously but it is definitely worth getting outside to let your baby soak up some natural light on the day the clocks move backwards.
4) Tire Them Out!
Most parents find a ‘later’ bedtime harder to achieve with little ones, the clocks moving in October are more difficult than in March time! If you try to do more physically exhausting activities, particularly outside, on those first few days following the clock change then this will greatly contribute to them settling.
6) Be A Rolemodel!
In addition to ‘practising what you preach’, make sure you look after your own schedule too. Remember, not only are they potentially going to get up at the same time as before (this will adjust in time), but you are losing an hour of your own bedtime too!
5) Don’t Adjust Anything.
A lot of parents just carry on with their normal routines when the clocks change, whilst mentally preparing to potentially struggle to stick to bedtimes. Just as our bodies naturally adapt, so do our little ones. This is the method we at Sleepy Angels will be using, but it’s all personal preference. With my own children, I sometimes haven’t even realised the clock has changed!
What About Feeding Times When The Clocks Go Back?
A lot of parents, particularly with babies that haven’t been weaned yet, find that the main adaption when the clocks move is feeding times. Unless medically advised due to What about feeding times when the clocks go backwards?
A lot of parents, particularly with babies that haven’t been weaned yet, find that the main adaption when the clocks move is feeding times. Unless medically advised due to weight issues or premature babies, our Baby Sleep Coach advises against trying to stick to the 4-hour feeding schedule (which you can read more about here) and trying to be responsive to the baby’s hunger and this is encouraged even more so with Daylight Savings Time adjustments.
Our advice is to ‘be ready’ to feed the baby at the normal time but don’t be disappointed if they want to wait slightly, or feed earlier, it is best to feed when the baby starts to show signs of hunger.
The same applies with a weaned baby, try using sleepy foods! By giving foods that increase the production of Melatonin (the sleepy hormone!) can also encourage them to sleep better. Check out this blog on foods that will help baby sleep better. Otherwise, try to feed them at the correct time and be understanding and patient if they aren’t as readily hungry for a couple of days, you can always give a snack if they eat less at the mealtime’.
We really hope this advice has helped to ease any anxieties you might be experiencing around the upcoming Daylight Savings Time. It is so understandable that parents worry all their hard work around baby’s sleep will be ruined by this shift in time but we can reassure you that it won’t be, any adjustments will be minor and completely temporary!
If you have any further questions, or maybe you’re experiencing some other parenting anxieties you’d like to see a blog about please reach out to me in the comments below
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23910656/ – Entrainment of the human circadian clock to the natural light-dark cycle, The National Library of Medicine
https://www.sleepfoundation.org/circadian-rhythm/daylight-saving-time – Daylight Saving Time, The Sleep Foundation
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For more advice on how to help your baby sleep and find a baby sleep solution that works for you and your family, you can check out our 1 : 1 consultation services or our new baby sleep guides which come with free access to my Sleepy Village Facebook community for easy access to get your questions answered.