How to adjust your baby’s sleep schedule for Daylight Savings
Can you feel spring in the air? Some sunshine is peeking through the clouds. The daffodils are starting to bloom, and a layer of clothing coming off- then going back on because it’s still chilly here in the PNW. A sure way to know that spring is coming is that Daylight Savings is right around the corner. It’s time for our clocks to spring forward!
It’s easy to figure out what to do with our own sleep as adults- lose an hour of sleep, be groggy and thrown off for a few days, then get back to normal by the end of the week. But, what about our baby’s sleep? Getting that settled in is confusing enough without throwing in a clock change. Here are a few ways to approach Daylight Savings and your baby’s sleep from the perspective of a Portland Oregon postpartum doula and sleep training team.
Option 1: Let Daylight Savings work for you and keep your baby’s new schedule
This option is great for parents that have the flexibility (or would really like) to have their baby wake up later in the morning, and possibly have a later bedtime. And, it’s easy. You literally just adjust to the new clock settings.
- So, if your baby usually wakes around 6:30 am, they’ll wake at 7:30 now.
- Shift your nap schedule about an hour later according to the new clock time
- Bedtime will be about an hour later too- don’t go past 8:00 though!*
- Most babies really have a natural rhythm and thrive off a bedtime between 7:00 pm-8:00 pm, pushing past an 8:00 bedtime usually doesn’t work optimally and could create some other situations that would need addressing
I know a lot of parents love this option because it doesn’t take planning, and often helps “early risers” to fit more into the family’s rhythms.
But what if your daily life doesn’t allow for this flexibility? Many families need their baby awake at a certain time so the parents can get to work on time, drop their older sibling off at school or daycare, or bedtime needs to be earlier. What then?
Option 2: To shift your baby’s sleep for Spring Forward: Plan Ahead, Start early
If you need to maintain the current wake time you have two options: shift before Daylight Savings or shift after the spring time change. Let’s start with adjusting bedtime before Daylight Savings.
To shift your baby’s schedule prior to Sunday’s spring forward time change, plan to start shifting your baby’s bedtime earlier about 10-15 minutes starting Wednesday night so that once the clock is changed your baby is at or near the original bedtime. You can also do this with wake times- wake your baby 10-15 minutes earlier, which will shift their entire schedule a few minutes earlier throughout the day, resulting in an earlier bedtime.
Let’s take a look at this with an example of a typical 7:00 am WAKE TIME
Wednesday Thursday Friday Sat Sunday Shift
Wake 6:45 6:35 6: 25 6:10 7:00 *
Naps and bedtime time would shift about the same amount of time resulting in an earlier bedtime. Starting by moving bedtime works the same way.
You can adjust this to start earlier in the week with smaller increments (10 minutes) or make bigger shifts up to 30 minutes.
To shift your baby’s schedule after Daylight Savings change, we’ll follow the pattern above, but starting with Sunday night.
Option 3: Don’t do anything to adjust your baby’s sleep schedule
If you don’t have flexibility, but aren’t able or don’t want to shift the schedule on your own, trust that your baby will most likely sync up with the world and the timing just based on working through a regular schedule- exactly how you and I do. We get up, we’re groggy, we go to work, and things settle back.
If for some reason your baby doesn’t adjust after daylight saving time reach out so we can help you get back on track!