Whether you’re the person who remembers to set all the clocks to the right time the night before, or has to be reminded that it’s happening at the last minute, there’s a good chance that in your pre-baby life, daylight savings didn’t seem like that big of a deal. Even the most freewheeling and flexible of babies like to fall into their routines, though, and any parent knows how important a good night’s sleep is in ensuring that her mood stays sunny and day goes smoothly. When daylight savings comes around once Baby is in the picture, it can help to do a little more planning than you did in the lead-up to the time change during life before Baby.
In the week leading up to the time change, you can get Baby ready for the shift by adjusting her bedtime by 10-minute increments, so that by the time the hour actually changes, Baby is already following that schedule. Light-blocking curtains can help keep Baby’s internal clock from being thrown off by the change in sunlight, either in the evening or in the morning. It may be tempting to try to keep Baby awake longer during the day so she’ll sleep better at night during the adjustment period, but this could just make Baby overtired, which could make it harder for her to fall asleep.
Even if changing her bedtime goes smoothly, the time when she wakes up may take longer to adjust. If she doesn’t start to adjust to the time change and wake up at the normal time on her own after a week or so, it could be because if you’re getting up with her when she wakes up, she doesn’t see any reason to. If you try to resettle her back to sleep when she wakes up for a few days, she should be able to adjust fairly easily.
You can also just do it. Babies are tough, and it’s just an hour, so if you’re prepared to face a day or two of grumpiness while Baby adjusts, it may be easier on your schedule not to alter your routine. On the other hand, you can also try adjusting Baby’s sleep in bigger increments – 15 minutes a day for 4 days, or even just by half an hour, spending a few days in the middle stage.
No matter which way you choose to break daylight savings to Baby, be prepared to deal with a few days of crankiness as she adjusts. She might need an extra nap or two, and your patience as she experiences a shift in time itself for the first time.