girl holding baby looking at camera

Why do we have Daylight Saving Time? Upon Googling this question, I found out that basically, the reasons for daylight savings are outdated. Yet, we still “Spring Forward” and “Fall Backward” every year. This can be a source of anxiety for many parents because our little ones do not understand time on the clock. In the fall, we “fall back” one hour, which means that we GAIN one hour of time back. So what does this mean for your baby's sleep routine? Let's dive in!

One hour in the grand scheme of things may not seem like a big deal to us, but to our children, it can be a huge issue, since any sort of change in their routine can throw them off, especially if you have an infant. “Fall back” can be especially challenging for early risers. If your babe was waking at 6:30 A.M., they will now waking up at 5:30 A.M. That can be difficult as parent, especially if you have not been getting enough sleep to begin with. The silver lining? Your little one will be ready for bedtime an hour earlier than usual!

Even still, many parents feel anxious about the upcoming time change. Know that you are not alone. . .and fear not! There are some things you can do to assist with the adjustment. 

As I mentioned, when we “fall back” we gain an hour, meaning that there is more sunlight pouring into your little one’s room in the morning. This is why blackout blinds are a necessity!  I use and love these blackout blinds. They provide an excellent protection against that early morning light peeking into your child's bedroom, thus helping them to sleep a little later past the first crack of dawn. 

This year, on November 7, 2021, at 2:00 A.M. is when we will “fall back” one hour.  So we essentially will have a 25-hour day.  We need to make up one hour of time in the sleep world because simply putting your little one to bed an hour later will result in an overtired baby. Below, let's discuss two options that can help your family during this time change.

  • Option 1: Wait until the day of the time change to start adjusting your child’s sleep. Your little one will eventually adjust and their internal clock will regulate over time. Consistency is key with this option. You may have a few rough days, but eventually everyone will get into the new groove. This option works best for OLDER babies and toddlers that can adjust more easily to change. You know your child best: If they are the type of child who does not adjust well to change, then option 2 may be the best one for you.  
  • Option 2: Begin adjusting one week before the time change (the week of October 31 this year). This option is best for younger babies and children who do not adjust well to changes. Because we are “gaining” one hour, we need to shift your little one’s sleep later by 15 minutes every couple of days.  In other words, we want them to sleep 15 minutes LATER than usual.  By stretching 15 minutes every couple of days, you will make up for that hour over the week. This way, when the time does change on November 7, they are already on the new schedule.  

Additional tip: If your little one typically wakes at 7:00 A.M., you will want to leave them in their DARK room for 15 minutes. Do not rush in to get them up. 

Here are some general Daylight Saving Time tips:

  • DARK, DARK, DARK--we want your child’s room to be as dark as possible to help regulate their circadian rhythm. Darkness triggers the production of melatonin, AKA, the sleepy hormone. 
  • Fools Rush In… So Don’t Rush In--even if your little one starts waking up earlier on the clock, leave him in his crib for at least 15 minutes. Rushing in will only cue your little one that it is time to party. . . and it is not time to party yet! As a general rule, always leave you babe in their crib until 6:00 A.M.  
  • Use Natural Light--in the fall months, expose your little one to as much natural light during the day as possible. This will assist in regulating their internal clock
  • Remember, This Too Shall Pass--this is just a small phase and a small bump in the road.  You will get through this . . . you may need a little more coffee, but you will adjust! I promise.

What Does this Look Like In Action?

How this would look for a baby on three naps:

  • Day 1 - stretch the 3rd wake time by 15 mins
  • Day 3 - stretch the last wake time by 15 mins
  • Day 5 - stretch the 2nd wake time by 15 mins
  • Day 7 - stretch the first wake time by 15 mins. 
  • Day 8 - your baby will now be waking at her regular time on the clock. Now you can resume the wake times you used prior to the time change.

Additional tip: A baby on three naps is around 3-6 month stage, which is when many other sleep disruptions are already taking place. If your baby is struggling with the transition out of the swaddle at this age, we recommend our Swaddle Sleeves Sack for safe and easy swaddle transitioning!

How this would look for a baby on two naps:

  • Day 1 - stretch the 2nd wake time by 15 mins
  • Day 3 - stretch the last wake time by 15 mins
  • Day 5 - stretch the first wake time by 15 mins
  • Day 7 - stretch the last wake time again by 15 mins.
  • Day 8 - your baby will not be waking at their regular time on the clock. Again, resume to your pre-DST wake times at this point.

How this would look for a baby on one nap:

  • Day 1- stretch the last wake time by 15 mins
  • Day 3- stretch the first wake time by 15 mins
  • Day 5- stretch the last wake time again by 15 mins
  • Day 7- stretch the first wake time again by 15 mins
  • Day 8- your baby will not be waking at their regular time on the clock. Be sure to resume pre-DST wake times at this point. 

This method works best for early risers, babies younger than eight months old, and children who don’t easily adjust to changes in routine. 

I hope that you found these tips helpful! Remember, we are here for you. Good luck!

Author: Sarah Pashniak is a certified pediatric sleep coach and the founder of Pashionate About Sleep.  She has a university degree in early childhood education with a major in psychology.  She is also a busy mom to twin boys age 5 and a two year old daughter.  When Sarah’s twins were babies she barely slept because her babies weren’t sleep.  She found her mental health spiralling and she suffered from postpartum depression and anxiety.  As the boys started to sleep more, she started to sleep more and noticed her mental health improving. You can find Sarah providing expert sleep and tips on every month on our Instagram!

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