Adjusting Your Baby to Spring Forward Daylight Saving
Updated: Feb 28, 2021
Spring forward is a sign that springtime is nearing us. Longer days, less snow, and...if you have an earlier riser, a later wake-up time for you!
But what does it actually mean to “spring forward”? Let’s pretend it’s Sunday morning and you and your baby normally get up at 6 am. After Daylight Saving, it is now 7 am. Technically you lose an hour of sleep but this is a secret win for parents.
There are three ways you can prepare for the time adjustment:
#1 - Just “spring forward”
If you have an easy-going baby, this may be the best option for you. On Sunday morning, just wake up at the “normal” time (if you get up at 6 am, then adjust the clocks the night before and still get up at 6 am). Your baby will lose an hour of sleep and you may notice some fussiness but within 3 days to a week, they should be completely adjusted.
Now, if you know you have a baby that is more sensitive to his/her sleep schedule being messed with (or this is the first time he or she has gone through a time change), consider the next two options.
#2 - Adjust over the weekend
If you work and it’s harder for you to slowly adjust baby’s schedule and drastically changing it also doesn’t feel like a good option, taking the weekend to tweak things is a good middle ground.
On Saturday morning, wake baby a half-hour earlier and stay 30 minutes ahead of schedule all day. Do this again on Sunday morning.
#3 - Slow and steady
This last option is great for if you have a sleep-sensitive babe and there are two ways you can do this. This option takes the longest to adjust to.
Approach #1: slow and steady before: The week before the time change, you can start shifting your little one’s schedule earlier by 15 minutes, every three days.
So for a wake-up of 6 am will start at 5:45 am. Just like with the above approach, the rest of the day would stick to this 15 minute earlier schedule. By the end of the week, you will be close to the new adjusted time.
Approach #2: slow and steady after: Same principle applies, you’ll just slowly adjust your baby’s schedule back to their normal schedule over the course of a few days or a week after the time shift. So for the morning wake-up, your baby would get up at 6:45 am (which use to be 5:45 am). The best bet for a slow adjustment is moving 15 minutes every three days.
How long does it take for babies to adjust to or from daylight saving time?
As with any shift in a set routine, adjusting to the clocks changing is a process, even for the best of sleepers!
It may take just a few days before your baby is back to their normal sleep schedule, while others with more sensitive baby clocks can take longer.
Have grace mama! Just like it takes your body some time to adjust, it will take your baby time too.
Bonus tips for helping with the transition
Make the room dark. Unfortunately, you can't explain to a baby what daylight saving time is or why it’s still light outside at bedtime (or the reverse when it ends). But you can try to fool your little one's internal body clock by blocking out the light in his room. Use room-darkening shades, curtains, or blinds, and hopefully, they'll help speed up sleep.
Let the sun shine. On the other hand, light exposure is important in the morning, as it signals to babies that it’s time to wake up. Open the shades in your little one’s room or, if you don’t have sunlight in the morning yet, turn on the lights when you greet them to start the day.
Keep them occupied. Any time you adjust a sleep schedule, a baby may need a little more interaction or different environments to keep them awake. This is a great time to introduce a new mommy/baby game or sneak out of the house. Just be sure you get back before baby has a chance to fall asleep in the car seat or stroller.
If you notice your little one was having a hard time sleeping even before the time change, I am happy to hop on a free 15 minute call and see what we can troubleshoot. I want to set you and your baby up for success!