Child Sleep and Daylight Savings (Spring Forward)

3 Ways To Help Your Child Adjust to The New Time

By Diana Blanco. Founder, Smooth Parenting.

The beginning of daylight savings is getting closer and many parents are wondering what to do to maintain their baby or toddler’s sleep habits, despite the time change. We ‘spring forward’ to Daylight Savings Time (DST) on Sunday, March 11th 2018* at 2a.m. by setting our clock forward one hour. This means clocks are moved forward by one hour at 2:00a.m. standard time, and the time becomes 3:00a.m. daylight savings time (DST).

Child sleep challenges are not uncommon during daylight savings time adjustments. Still, there are some general tips that you can follow to have a smoother transition, regardless on how you decide to adjust your child’s schedule to the new time:

  • Continue your bedtime and naptime routines. The regular and familiar routines you follow when putting your baby to sleep should be maintained.
  • Keep your baby’s nursery dark, so the daylight (and nightlight) changes do not interfere with his/her sleep.
  • Carry on promoting positive sleep associations.
  • Remember that consistency is still key.

In addition to these measures, there are three basic approaches we can follow to help children with the transition, that you will find below.

Those of you with “early risers” will probably be better off not doing any adjustments in your child’s schedule. Your child will automatically start waking up 1 hour later (according to the new time – DST), which will probably be a blessing to you.

1. Gradual ‘Pre- Spring Forward Day’ Transition

On Wednesday, March 7th, you do two things:

1st) Wake up your child’s 15 minutes earlier, from her last nap of the day. For example if her last nap of the day is usually from 12:30pm to 2:30pm. On Wednesday, March 7th, she should sleep from 12:30pm (same time), to 2:15pm (you wake her up 15 minutes earlier than usual).

2nd) Move your child’s bedtime back 15 minutes each night. For example, if your child’s normal bedtime is 7pm. On Wednesday, March 7th, she should go to sleep at 6:45pm, 15 minutes earlier than usual.

Your child’s whole daily schedule the following day moves back those 15 minutes.

This way, you will have shifted your baby’s schedule back by one hour by the time you have to move your clock forward one hour. Therefore, your baby would be in his normal schedule the first day of the Daylight Savings Time.

See the chart below for guidance. Note that this chart assumes child’s current bedtime is 7pm and waking time is 7am.

Date Transition Steps Current Time (Standard Time) New Time (Daylight Savings Time)
Wednesday, March 7th Wake up your baby from her last nap of the day 15 minutes before than usual. If she normally wakes up at 2:30pm, wake her up at 2:15pm. 2:15pm 3:15pm
Move back your baby’s bedtime by 15 minutes (From your usual 7:00pm to 6:45pm) 6:45pm 7:45pm
Thursday, March 8th Move back your baby’s daily schedule those 15 minutes, from the night before. 6:45am 7:45am
Move back your baby’s bedtime another 15 minutes. 6:30pm 7:30pm
Friday, March 9th Move back your baby’s daily schedule those 15 minutes from the night before. 6:30am 7:30am
Move back your baby’s bedtime another 15 minutes. 6:15pm 7:15pm
Saturday, March 10th (Spring Forward Night) Move back your baby’s daily schedule those 15 minutes from the night before. 6:15am 7:15am
Move back your baby’s bedtime another 15 minutes. 6:00pm 7:00pm
Sunday, March 11th (First Day in Daylight Savings) Regular waking time 7:00am, under the new time (DST) 6:00am(Doesn’t Apply) 7:00am

2. Gradual ‘Post- Spring Forward Day’ Transition

The day after the daylight savings time starts, Sunday, March 11th 2018, your baby will most likely wake up one hour later than usual (based on the clock).

That day, you have to wake her up 45 minutes later than her regular schedule. For example, if her regular waking time under ST was 7am, with DST that becomes 8am. However, you will not let her sleep until then. The first morning after the DST change, let her sleep only until 7:45am (45 later than her regular waking time).

Starting then you should make sure your child’s naptime and bedtime are 45 minutes later than her regular schedule the first day; 30 minutes later the second day; 15 minutes later the third day; and by the fourth day, she will be adjusted to the new time.

The whole daily schedule adjusts to those changes accordingly. By doing this, your child would be going to sleep and waking up at his regular times, based on the Daylight Savings Time, by Wednesday March 14th.

See the chart below for guidance. Note that this chart assumes baby’s current bedtime is 7pm and waking time is 7am.

Date Transition Steps Current Time (Standard Time) New Time(Daylight Savings Time)
Sunday, March 11th (Daylight Savings Time in Place since 2am) Let your baby sleep 45 minutes over her regular waking time (7am in our example) 6:45am(Doesn’t apply!) 7:45am(This is the current time this day)
Move your child’s bedtime 45 minutes later than her regular bedtime (7pm in our example) 6:45pm 7:45pm
Monday, March 12th Let your baby sleep 30 minutes over her regular waking time (7am in our example) 6:30am 7:30am
Move your child’s bedtime 30 minutes later than her regular bedtime (7pm in our example) 6:30pm 7:30pm
Tuesday, March 13th Let your baby sleep 15 minutes over her regular waking time (7am in our example) 6:15am 7:15am
Move your child’s bedtime 15 minutes later than her regular bedtime (7pm in our example) 6:15pm 7:15pm
Wednesday, March 14th Wake your child up at her regular waking time (7am in our example). Continue the day with your child’s regular schedule. 6:00am(Doesn’t apply! Old Time) 7:00am

3. Immediate Transition

The day after the daylight savings time starts, you follow your baby’s regular schedule based on the Daylight Savings Time. Therefore, on Sunday March 11th, 2018 you switch your child ‘cold turkey’ to the new time and follow her regular schedule.

You will most certainly have to wake your child up in the morning, since for her it’d be one hour too early, and go on with her day as usual. This option tends to be harder on children since (like adults) they would be ‘loosing’ one hour of sleep the first day.

Regardless of the approach you decide to take, remember that every child is different and they will adjust differently to changes in their sleep schedule. It takes several days to adjust to the new times, so be prepared for your baby to want to wake up later than usual on occasions, to be crankier than usual during the afternoon, and/or to be sleepier during the first days of the transition.

Be patient, loving and consistent to ensure a smooth and successful transition.

Much love, Diana-

 

__________________________

*2018 Daylight Savings starts:

  • Sunday, March 11th at 2 a.m. in the United States and Canada
  • Sunday, March 25th at 2 a.m. in most parts of Europe
  • Sunday, April 1st at 3 a.m. in most countries of the South Hemisphere (Australia, New Zealand…)

For a full list of the DST start dates around the globe, click here: http://www.worldtimezone.com/daylight.html

Is your bedtime too late?

One of the most common (and easy to solve) mistakes regarding baby sleep is having a bedtime that is too late for our baby. Here are some tips on how to know whether your bedtime is too late:

  1. The 4-5pm test. Look at how your baby is around 4-5pm. If he/she is cranky, sand, whinny… your bedtime is too late! A well rested child  should be happy, playful, and in a good mood around 4-5pm.
  2. The Sleep’s Speed test. It takes an average of 15 to 20 minutes to fall asleep. This applies to grown-ups and babies. Experts argue that if your baby ‘falls asleep before his/her head hits the pillow’, or if it takes him/her more than 20 minutes to fall asleep, she/he is probably sleep-deprived and an earlier bedtime is needed.

A good bedtime for most babies should be between 5:30pm and 7:30pm. If you’re having trouble getting your baby to sleep at night, do the previous tests, and try bringing up her/his bedtime 15-30 minutes earlier. You won’t believe the difference those 15 – 30 minutes can have on a child’s sleep. Sweet dreams!

Much love, Diana-

Nightmares and Night Terrors

Children spend more time dreaming than adults do, so they have more dreams—both good and bad. What is the difference between a nightmare and a night terror? Additionally, what should you do in each situation?

Nightmares are bad dreams that happen during rapid eye movement (REM) or dream sleep. Your child may be afraid to fall back asleep, and he’ll probably remember that he had a bad dream. A baby or child who had a nightmare is likely to have a clear idea of what scared him, although he probably will not be able to vocalize his fright until he’s about 2 years old.

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The best responses to a nightmare are:

  • Be there and offer comfort.
  • Stay with your child until she feels relaxed and ready to sleep.
  • Stay calm and convey to your child that what’s happening is normal and that all is well.
  • Reassure your child that she’s safe and that it’s OK to go back to sleep.
  • If your child wakes with a nightmare, stay with her until she feels relaxed and ready to go to sleep.

The best way to prevent future nightmares is to help your child confront and overcome his fears of the dark, such as leaving a nightlight on or having a special stuffed toy to sleep with.

Night terrors occur in at least 5% of young children and can start as early as 9 months. These mysterious disturbances happen during deep, non-dreaming sleep. When a child is having a night terror, they will cry, whimper, flail, and even bolt out of bed.

Although his eyes may be wide open, he’s not awake and isn’t aware of your presence. Night terrors can last anywhere from a few minutes to half an hour, or more. Once it is over, your child will return to a sound sleep, and he will have no memory of the incident in the morning.

The best responses to night terrors are:

  • Give him a gentle pat, along with comforting words or “shhh” sounds.
  • Make sure he doesn’t hurt himself.
  • Don’t speak to him, ask him questions, or try to hold or soothe him.
  • Don’t try to shake or startle him awake or physically restrain him—all of which could lead to more frantic behavior.

If it’s a night terror, in 15 to 20 minutes, your child should calm down, curl up, and fall into a deep sleep again. If it’s a nightmare, he might need a little more time to calm down and go back to sleep. To prevent night terrors, make sure that he is getting enough sleep, since children who go to bed overtired are more likely to experience these types of sleep disturbances.

I hope this was helpful!

Much love, Diana-

 

4 Steps to Remain Calm During Sleep Coaching

Every time I work with a new mom on a private consultation, the first thing I do before implementing anything or talking about plans is to make sure that mom and dad are in the right place emotionally. You can’t give what you don’t have; to be there for your child, you have to be there for you.

Believe me when I say, I know how frustrated and exhausted you feel right now. But, remember that you are your baby’s whole world, and surrounding him with love, nurture, and guidance starts by you having the right attitude when you are with your child. Your attitude and the energy that you project affect the outcome of your baby’s sleep coaching process.

Some parents I’ve worked with admitted to having put their babies in their cribs or bassinets a little bit too harshly, out of anger and desperation for sleep. If you are angry, anxious, frustrated, defeated, or agitated, your baby will sense that, and that will make it harder for him to fall asleep. Please, be patient and always enter your baby’s room in calm state.

If you feel overwhelmed; your patience is evaporating; you are exhausted; you can’t take it anymore; and you think you might be reaching your breaking point, please follow these steps:

1. Place your baby calmly and softly on a safe place (crib, bassinet, stroller, bouncy seat, etc.).

2. Back off—step away to another room, go to the bathroom and wash your face, or open the window and breathe some fresh air.

3. Ask for help from your spouse, a family member, a friend, or even a neighbor.

4. Calm yourself down before you pick up your baby again.

Changing a habit takes time. Sleeping is an innate ability to babies; parents, without any bad intentions, create poor or unhealthy sleep habits that need to be addressed later on. Remind yourself that you helped your child get into this situation (habit), and now you have to help him get out of it. Do NOT ever shake or hit your baby!

Much love, Diana-

Children Sleep Myths

This past weekend I participated in the New Parents Expo held in Manhattan. It was a great event, and I had the opportunity to meet many of you in person (Thanks for stopping by our table!). It was my first experience participating in an event like this, and I’m really glad I did it! I love meeting new and expectant parents, and over 3,000 of them walked in the doors of this Expo, so I had fun!

Smooth Parenting Stand - New Parents Expo
Smooth Parenting Stand – New Parents Expo

Over the two days, I answered many questions about baby sleep and smooth parenting; and was able to (hopefully) break some myths around baby sleep. These were the most common misconceptions I encountered:

  1. Nursing & Sleep: “I am nursing, so I can’t do any sleep training;” or “If I sleep train him, my milk supply will decrease and I won’t be able to continue nursing;” or “This doesn’t work for breastfeeding moms.” All these statements are… FALSE. You can breastfeed your baby, maintain an approapriate milk supply and help him/her develop healthy sleep habits.
  2. Age & Sleep: “My child is too old for this;” or “We missed this train!;” or “This doesn’t work for toddlers.” All these statements are… FALSE. It is never too late to teach your child healthy sleep habits.
  3. Crying & Sleep Training: “It’s impossible to teach a child to sleep without leaving him/her to cry it out;” or “I can’t sleep train my child, because I know it will involve crying and I can’t handle that.” All these statements are… yes, you guessed it… FALSE. You can certainly sleep train your child without leaving him to cry himself to sleep, that’s my approach. I don’t believe in cry-it-out (CIO) either. There are many other ways to help your baby sleep, that do not involve CIO.

I know some of you might be confused about this, so I’ve decided to address each of this topics in detail. Stay tuned, this week’s article is all about ‘Nursing & Sleep.’ I hope you find the article clarifying and helpful to start your sleep coaching journey. Remember that you can always email your questions at contact@smoothparenting.com. We will choose two questions every month and I will answer them. Don’t miss that chance! We might pick yours!

Much love, Diana-

How to be calm, patient and nurturing, while you teach your child healthy sleep habits

Every time I work with a new mom on a private consultation, the first thing I do before implementing anything or talking about plans is to make sure that mom and dad are in the right place emotionally. You can’t give what you don’t have; to be there for your child, you have to be there for you.

Believe me when I say, I know how frustrated and exhausted you feel right now. But, remember that you are your baby’s whole world, and surrounding him with love, nurture, and guidance starts by you having the right attitude when you are with your child. Your attitude and the energy that you project affect the outcome of your baby’s sleep coaching process.

Some parents I’ve worked with admitted to having put their babies in their cribs or bassinets a little bit too harshly, out of anger and desperation for sleep. If you are angry, anxious, frustrated, defeated, or agitated, your baby will sense that, and that will make it harder for him to fall asleep. Please, be patient and always enter your baby’s room in calm state.

If you feel overwhelmed; your patience is evaporating; you are exhausted; you can’t take it anymore; and you think you might be reaching your breaking point, please follow these steps:

1. Place your baby calmly and softly on a safe place (crib, bassinet, stroller, bouncy seat, etc.).

2. Back off—step away to another room, go to the bathroom and wash your face, or open the window and breathe some fresh air.

3. Ask for help from your spouse, a family member, a friend, or even a neighbor.

4. Calm yourself down before you pick up your baby again.

Changing a habit takes time. Sleeping is an innate ability to babies; parents, without any bad intentions, create poor or unhealthy sleep habits that need to be addressed later on. Remind yourself that you helped your child get into this situation (habit), and now you have to help him get out of it. Do NOT ever shake or hit your baby!

In the next month, we will launch a relaxation and empowerment tool for new mothers that will help you be the best parent you can be, the great mother your child deserves, and a happier and more balanced version of yourself.

Much love, Diana-

Get Your Pediatrician On Board

It is prudent to discuss any of your concerns about sleep issues with your child’s pediatrician before you start any sleep training program with your child. Is your baby gaining weight regularly? Are there any other medical problems that might be causing your baby’s sleep problems?  Are there any developmental conditions affecting sleep? Is there any reason why you shouldn’t go ahead with sleep training? Is there any sleep training method that is not advisable for your baby?

doctor-medical-medicine-health-42273.jpeg

Your pediatrician knows your baby, and watched him grow and develop week by week, and will therefore be able to assess whether your child is ready to begin formal sleep training.  I actually require the families I work with to obtain approval to begin the Smooth Baby Sleep program from their pediatrician when their baby is around 12 weeks of age.  This ensures that your baby is developmentally ready to begin the process of sleep training, and that no medical issues will impede the process.

Please do not start sleep training if your child is sick or running a fever.  There are certain illnesses and conditions that can interfere with your child’s sleep quality, like: nasal congestion, teething, ear infections, colic, GERD, yeast or urinary tract infections, sleep apnea, night terrors, milk allergies, etc.  For a detailed list of conditions that affect sleep and what steps can be taken to minimize their impact, please review chapter eight which discusses special considerations.

Much love, Diana-

Baby Back To Sleep

Not too long ago, pediatricians and other health care providers used to think that babies should sleep on their stomachs. However, research now shows that healthy babies are less likely to die of SIDS when they sleep on their backs. Therefore, placing your baby on his or her back to sleep is the number one way to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

Every sleep time counts, so do not make exceptions to this rule for short naps, and make sure all caregivers place your baby to sleep in the same position. Studies show that babies who are used to sleeping on their backs, but who are occasionally then placed on their stomachs or sides to sleep, are at significantly higher risk for SIDS. This risk is actually greater (sometimes seven to eight times greater) than that of infants who are always placed on their stomachs or sides to sleep.

Therefore, make sure that everyone putting your baby to sleep (grandparents, babysitters, nanny, daycare team, friends…), knows about the best positioning and they all place your baby in the same position.

Once a baby has the ability to roll over the neck muscles are stronger and the chance of SIDS decreases. When infants roll over on their own, there is no evidence showing that they need to be repositioned and back to their backs.

Much love, Diana-

Constant Night Wakings

Smooth Parenting Approach to Sleep:

Angelina ~ Constant Night Wakings

Is your child waking up constantly at night or during naps? Angelina used to wake up several times throughout the night before her mom seeked the help of Smooth Parenting. I’m proud to say that Angelina doesn’t wake up at night anymore! Learn more about their past and current situation from Angelina’s mom:

Angelina’s main sleep challenge was her constant night wakings. She would wake up 3 – 4 times during the night, every night.

Angelina_Smooth Parenting
Angelina

She would have her first waking at 9:30pm, her second around 12:30am and her third around 3:30am and so on. I would go in, nurse her and she would fall asleep until she was about 9 months old. After 9 months, she would no longer fall asleep while nursing and she would stay away sometimes for over an hour.

At 11 months old, I contacted Diana for help! She prepared a detailed plan to help Angelina sleep better, without those dreaded night wakings; which included a schedule that was perfectly tailored to Angelina’s natural cycles.

That night I decided to implement the plan, I was prepared for a long night with tea, chocolate and a good movie to distract me. She woke up as usual at 9:30pm and to my surprise, she fell asleep after a few minutes of implementing the plan. I stayed up until her second waking – which never happened, so I was the one who was losing sleep for no reason! She had the usual third night waking and fell asleep after a couple of minutes. I was shocked!

The next night she only woke up once and fell asleep very quickly. Ever since she has been sleeping 11-12 hours straight and falls asleep more easily for her naps as well. I no longer need to stay in the room and creep out hoping that I do not step on a squeaky floorboard!

Smooth Parenting has definitely changed our lives! Thank You!”

Brooke B. Mom to Angelina, 11 months old

Boston, MA United States

 

The Colon Twins ~ Smooth Parenting Approach to Sleep

I first met the Colon Family at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at New York Presbyterian Hospital after my daughters were born. Their gorgeous daughters had been born over 2 months premature and needed some special attention.

We continued our relationship after all four girls came home from the hospital, and I saw them struggling with health issues as well as sleep issues. By the time the girls were 15 months old, both parents were exhausted and out of resources.

After some hesitation about having someone come to their home and help them with their daughters’ sleep; they decided to hire me to work with them. I was obviously thrilled for them! Their in-home sleep consultation was great success, but I’m going to let you read what Maria, the mom has to say about her experience and the transformation that Smooth Parenting brought to their family.

 

“My twin daughters were 15 months old, they had never slept in their cribs and never slept through the night. One of them slept in a co-sleeper and the other one in the bed with us, and they woke up many times during the night, every night. They both napped at different times, always with me in my bed. I was completely drained out and exhausted.

I read books, went online looking for tips and nothing worked for us until I spoke to Diana about it. When she told me “Maria, your little angels will nap and sleep through the night in no time” I was so hesitant. In my mind I was thinking “I’m the mom. If I can’t make them go to sleep, how is she going to do that?” But something about Diana and the way she coached me, with her smooth and relaxed tone, made me feel at ease and trusted her. She was so patient, really listened to me and, best of all completely understood my frustrations. Oh, it was MAGIC!

Sure enough, she came up with a schedule and a plan for my daughters and it worked! My husband and I were in heaven. After just two days of following Diana’s advise, we put an end to 15 months of struggle. My daughters were sleeping 12 hours through the night and napping another 2 hours. Now at 22 months, they’re still following the plan and continue sleeping wonderfully.”

Maria Colon, R.N.

Mom to Jazmine and Isabella

Wayne, NJ