Saturday, October 24, 2015

Time to "Fall Back": Tips For Helping Baby With Daylight Savings

Daylight Savings ends on Sunday, November 1st at 2am. Turn your clocks back one hour.

One question that often comes up in The Pump Station & Nurtury's Mommy & Me classes this time of year is "How do I help my baby adjust to daylight savings?" Every year around this time we prepare to move our clocks back one hour. While adults can usually adjust to this time shift pretty quickly, babies and toddlers often find the change a bit more difficult. Here are a few suggestions to help make this transition go a little smoother:

1. Start to shift your baby's feeding and sleeping schedule ahead of time.
Begin preparing a week ahead of time by pushing feedings, naps and bedtime later by 10 minutes each day. So for example, let's say your baby's bedtime is normally 7pm. Starting six days before daylight savings try to slowly push your baby's schedule by 10 minutes later during the day. So if baby usually feeds at 7am, see if you can do the feeding at 7:10am. If baby is super fussy by 7:05am, then of course feed her then, but you get the idea. 

Just try to make the routine adjustments as the day goes on. If her first nap of the day is typically at 9am, see if you can put her down closer to 9:10am. These small time shifts should help keep your baby from getting too hungry or being over-tired. Therefore, by the end of the day, your normal 7pm bedtime will now be around 7:10pm. 

The following morning, shift everything by 10 minutes again, so bedtime on the second night now falls at 7:20pm. Continue with the 10-minute shift each day. If all goes well, then on Sunday morning, you can wake your baby according to the new time.  So if baby typically woke up at 7am before the time change, you can now awaken her at 7am with the new time change. Her feedings and sleep times should now be adjusted to the new time. If you find it is still off a bit, just continue to shift in small time increments until you are back on track. 

2. Adjust the light: Melatonin, a hormone that helps induce sleepiness, is affected by light. Therefore, a helpful tip during daylight savings "falling back" is to allow your baby to have some light exposure in the early evening, and then use blackout shades at bedtime so that her room is not too bright in the morning.

3. Don't Panic: Please remember that even if all this planning doesn't go quite according to schedule, simply by keeping to a steady routine, within a week or so your baby should naturally adjust to the time change.

By Jill Campbell, Psy.D. Staff Psychologist
Upcoming Sleep Classes and Services
Sleep: Getting Your Newborn Off to a Good Start
Ages: Newborn - 3 months with Jill Campbell, PsyD
November 19 at 3pm in Santa Monica Enroll...

Sleep: Your Growing Baby
Ages: 4+ months with Jill Campbell, PsyD
November 5 at 3pm in Santa Monica Enroll...
December 3 at 3pm in Santa Monica Enroll...

Sleepy Time: Gentle Sleep Techniques for You & Baby
Ages: 0-12 months with Marilee Hartling, RN, MFT, Infant and Child Development Specialist
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