How do I help her adjust to the spring time change (moving the clock forward/later in many parts of the United States)?
Most babies will adjust fairly easily to this change. The first night after the time changes, you can put your baby to bed at the regular time. If she usually goes to bed at 7:30 p.m., that night it will feel like 6:30 p.m. to her so it may take longer to fall asleep. It will be important to wake her at the usual time the next day, and not allow her to sleep much later than usual. She may be cranky and short on sleep for a day or two, but should settle into the new routine within a few days.
If you have an early bird, this may also be an opportunity to shift her schedule in a way that better fits your own sleep schedule and preferences. For example, if her bedtime was previously 7:00 p.m. and she was waking routinely at 5:00 a.m., you can try putting her to bed at 8pm to see if she will now sleep until 6:00 a.m. Do keep in mind that babies do not always sleep later with a later bedtime, so you may need to go back to that earlier bedtime to allow her to get enough sleep!
If your little one struggles with small adjustments to her schedule, there are a few things you can do to help the transition. You can try waking her up 15 minutes earlier each day for the four days leading up to the transition. Then you would move her daytime naps and bedtime 15 minutes earlier as well. Over the course of four days, her sleep schedule will have gradually adjusted so that she is still able to fall asleep at her regular bedtime when the time change occurs. Taking her outside first thing in the morning for a strong dose of natural light can also help with this transition.
About Dr. Sarah Honaker