Help your baby get her zzz's again this season with these no-fuss tips.
Just when you thought you had your baby's sleep schedule down pat, the end of daylight savings time decides to rear its ugly head! But before you throw your hands up in defeat, consider these helpful tips from sleep experts Elizabeth Pantley, author of The No-Cry Sleep Solution for Newborns and Dr. Mary Ellen Renna, a pediatrician in Jericho, N.Y., and author of 10 Steps to Almost Perfect Parenting, to get your baby back on track—and back to sleep.
- Adjust her schedule before the time change. While daylight savings time technically ends at 2 a.m. on November 6, you don't have to wait until then to change your baby's bedtime. Instead, adjust your naps, meal times and bedtime by 15 or 30 minutes at a time, spread out over the course of the week beforehand.
- Remember: routine, routine, routine. Sticking to your schedule keeps things regular for you and your baby. Even if your baby wakes up earlier, don't take her out of the crib until you are ready to start your day.
- Let the morning light in. To ensure a smooth wakeup, expose your child to bright light first thing in the morning either near windows or in a well-lit area of your home. Natural daylight alerts your child's brain that it's time to wake up and start the day.
- Keep it dark and quiet at night. Shut off the television and any music, and dim the lights an hour before your baby's bedtime. Draw bedroom shades or blinds to keep the light out, especially during naptime.
- Go outside. Your mom was right: Fresh air does promote good sleep habits. When weather permits, go out for a walk or play outside to help reset your baby's body clock.
- Step away from the iPad. While the Baby Piano app may come in handy when you're trying to clean up after dinner, the blue light that emits from electronic devices wakes up your baby's brain. Save the online games for after naptime.
- You didn't reset her body clock yet...now what? Even if you didn't back up your baby's bedtime in advance, you can still get her sleep schedule back to normal. Set a consistent bedtime and wakeup time over the next seven days. Yes, we know how tempting it is to sleep in on the weekend, but remember it's only temporary. Your baby's old sleep routine should return to normal within three to four days. Sweet dreams!