When you think of autumn, it’s lovely to think about warm sweaters and cool weather, pumpkin spice, and fuzzy boots. There is, however, one element that can wreak havoc with the joys of fall and that’s the end of Daylight Savings Time. Three little words that drive fear into the hearts of parents. DST might mean you don’t enjoy that extra hour of sleep!
On a more serious note, sleep deprivation or disturbance doesn’t just mean you’re dealing with a cranky baby all day. It can also affect their digestion, their cognitive abilities and more.
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Take heart in knowing that while time changes of any kind can be difficult for babies, it isn’t all bad news! In fact, if you’ve got an early bird in your house, that little difference of 60 minutes might be a welcome change! And if your little one is generally a good sleeper, the change can be managed; a baby that struggles to get a lot of rest might leave you both feeling frustrated for a few days, while the baby adjusts.
Every kid is different, even within the same family. So what worked for kid 1 might not work for kid 3. Figuring out how to manage DST for your little one can take different forms. Here are three ways to go about it:
Rip the Band-aid Off Method
For the truly adventurous, and with good sleepers in their midst, you can simply decide to do nothing. Just maintain your daily routine as if the time hasn’t changed at all. Simply put: put your baby down for bed according to the actual clock, not their body clocks. If bedtime is normally 7 p.m., put them down at 7 p.m. according to the clock.
Your baby will be up and ready to go early for a few days. But if the naps work out well throughout the day, this is definitely doable. If you don’t have a strict sleep schedule for your child, it might also be the only way that works!
Easing Into DST Method, 10 Minutes At a Time
So if the ‘rip the band-aid off’ method isn’t for you or your family, the next method is a little more gentle. How you go about it is by changing your baby’s sleep schedule. Begin a week before the time change, by 10 minutes a day, for every sleep opportunity.
For example, a baby that normally goes to bed at 7 p.m. will go to bed at 7:10 the first night. Then 7:20 p.m. the next night and so on until DST. The clock will say 7, their bodies will say 8 but they won’t be shocked into that change all at once! The same applies to wake up times and nap times.
This is a particularly good method if your baby has adapted to a fairly strict sleep schedule.
Quick Change Method
This method is a little faster and helps your baby adjust over two days. Simply bump bedtime by half an hour two days before DST, instead of the 10 minutes.
This is totally feasible for a baby that doesn’t seem as impacted by changes to their sleep schedule.
Tips to Make the Adjustment Easier
Whichever method you pick, here are three tips to ensure that the whole process goes smoothly. Well, at least as smoothly as possible!
- Keep the room dark. An hour before bedtime is about the time you want the baby to start priming for sleep. The best way to do that is in a space with low light. It is also good to have no distractions such as a tv. Blackout curtains are a good investment to help this along because even a little light late at night or early in the morning can impact sleep patterns.
- Develop a bedtime routine. Babies learn early that certain cues signal that it’s time for bed. These include getting changed and swaddled, listening to a book being read by a dimmer light with the curtains closed, enjoying a last feeding with a quiet lullaby. Whatever your routine is, stick to it. In no time, your baby will understand that these are the moments before sleep time!
- Be patient. As mentioned earlier, not every child is going to react in the same way to a time change, so you have to approach the whole period with a little bit of grace. If you can ‘go with the flow’, it’s a good idea to watch for important cues from your baby. It might be that the change affected them more than expected and that they might need a little nap before dinner. In time, all babies adjust and it’s just a matter of taking care of both of you.
Key to Sleep is Comfort
Above all else, making sure that your baby is able to fall asleep and stay asleep is aided first and foremost by them being comfortable, warm, dry and safe in their cribs.
- Make sure there are never bunches of loose fabric around your baby’s neck and face. That’s why sheets, pillows, and blankets aren’t recommended: they’re a suffocation risk. The Ollie Swaddle was designed to be different than other swaddles by ensuring no fabric comes near your little one’s neck and face, while at the same time allowing the freedom of movement and proper positioning that will keep hip and shoulder joints properly positioned.
- Regulating their body temperature isn’t something babies do naturally at the beginning, so you have to help in whatever way you can! Making sure that your baby is comfortable, warm (but not too warm), soothed and safe is best accomplished with fabrics and products that are conceived with love, designed by science. Ollie Swaddle, and the Dailies bodysuit, are made from a patented fabric that wicks away moisture, allowing the child to sleep comfortably no matter what the temperature is and avoid heat-related rashes.
- Limiting the impacts of the startle reflex by swaddling with the Ollie Swaddle will help your baby to sleep better, for longer. By mimicking the comforts of the womb, babies are less prone to over-stimulation and more prone to getting restful sleep.
Remember: Sleep begets sleep. While you might think that keeping them up from naps will help them sleep better at night, the opposite is true. A sleep deprived baby will have even more difficulty sleeping than a well rested one. So if the baby is a little cranky while transitioning during DST, an extra nap might be warranted. You’ll probably enjoy one too!
Article brought to you by: Ollie World
Bio: The team at the Ollie World are experts at helping babies (and parents) sleep better and longer. Their award-winning Ollie Swaddle does just that! Its special design and patented fabric help create positive sleep cues so baby sleeps longer and better, enhances neurodevelopment, and helps baby self soothe. Ollie Swaddle’s elasticity allows for freedom of movement while the opening at the bottom makes it easy to change diapers. The custom-developed, patented moisture-wicking material reduces the risk of overheating and promotes physiological regulation. Their new Dailies Baby Bodysuits have the same moisture-wicking fabric. Visit https://theollieworld.com/ for more information.