by: Emma Aguirre
Just when we are getting used to a full night’s sleep, spring has sprung and the time will change this weekend. Just in the last week, my daughter has stopped her dream feed and is sleeping longer. She was very fussy going down last Sunday night and it took us over two hours to get her down. She was really overtired as my mom had been in town. I decided to skip the dream feed mostly for fear of poking the tiger. She slept all the way through until 6:30am! I thought it was a total fluke, but we’re now our fourth night without a dream feed, so we’re just running with it! She’s already 15 lbs and nearly five months, so she can get all of her nutrition during the day now. I’m trying to spread out the extra four ounces she would usually have during the dream feed into the daytime feeds – easier said than done, FYI, as the Playtex Drop In bottles don’t quite go to eight ounces.
So I’m interested to see where this spring forward takes us. According to my baby sleep bible – aka The Sleep Solution – it really depends where your baby’s sleep schedule is now. The book says the first thing you should do is set your clocks forward before you go to bed Saturday night. If your child normally wakes at 6:30am now, for example, they will likely rise closer to 7:30am. If you’re ok with that, then no need to worry and YEY for an extra hour of sleep! The authors suggest protecting her room from too much light and maybe turning up a white noise machine (if your baby uses one) to prevent the birds waking her early. This will also adjust their bedtime though. So right now, my daughter goes down between 5-6pm and if we just go with the flow Sunday morning, which we probably will, she’ll now start going to bed between 6-7pm, which is just fine.
If you would rather have your baby on their regular schedule, they make a few suggestions.
*Put your baby to sleep at her regular time on Saturday night
*Set your alarm for their regular wake up time – say, 6:30am for example (which is really 5:30am) and gently wake your baby
*Put your baby to sleep at their regular nap time, based on the new clock time and continue your routine on from there. They suggest that you try not to let them sleep longer than normal during the naps. The baby may be a little more tired than normal, but will soon adjust.
Another method is to wake your baby half an hour before their usual waking time and adjust more slowly over two or three days. Most articles that I’ve read say that it’s important not to focus on just one aspect of your routine – like just bedtime – but continue the entire routine as normal based on the new time. The same individual factors that drove you to put your routine into place originally will still be there, so it’s not so much about a strict time schedule, but more about maintaining the same routine and doing those same things you would normally do. For example, I start my daughters bedtime routine with a story in her room, sometimes a baby massage, lights dimmed. From there we go to the bathroom, bathe and then she gets her bottle. Maintaining those series of events should, they say, still make her sleepy, as they normally would. We shall soon see.
Above all, I think it’s really important to just listen to those mom instincts and look for your baby’s cues. It might take a few days of adjustment and a bit of patience, but it’ll get back on track and before you know it, it’ll be right where it should be.