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2013 update: There is a new version of this post with more details. See Shifting Your Schedule for more. For that reason, comments have been turned off on this post.
If you have a young baby, you have yet to discover the “joys” of the time change. The time change can be difficult to work with. The good news, as I write this post, is that the Spring time change is much easier to work with than the Fall time change. As you might imagine, it is easier to wake a baby up an hour early then to get him to sleep an hour late.
I have some methods that have worked really well for me in doing a time change. These really are most beneficial in the Fall time change, but I thought I would post the ideas now since we are approaching the Spring one.
These ideas can also be applied if you are traveling to a different time zone, or if you want to shift baby’s schedule at all.
- I usually start working on the schedule shift two weeks before the time change and slowly change the morning wake time.
- Two weeks before the time change, I move the schedule 15 minutes in the direction it will go. So in the Fall, I get him up a bit later, put him down a bit later, etc. I do that for a week.
- The next week, I move it up another 15 minutes. So we are then 30 minutes behind real time, but in between the new time with the time change.
- Then time change comes and I either move it the full 30 minutes or do 15 that week and 15 the next week.
The upside: the time change goes really smoothly.
The downside: you are off schedule for at least a couple of weeks. You have to take your pick.
You can also just do it all at once–in the Spring it is pretty easy because you just get them up early.
This year, I am going to wait until the actual time change before I start working on the schedule. The biggest reason for this is that my sister-in-law will be getting married the day before the time change, and our current schedule works well around the event times, while shifting it now would create a schedule that would not work as well.
If you want a smoother transition for the Spring time change, you can wake your child up 30 minutes early the first week, then do the additional 30 minutes the next week. Let’s be honest, it is hard on all of us to wake up an hour earlier!
If your baby or toddler is waking earlier than you want, or you just want to shift the schedule in either direction, these ideas can be applied to make the transition smoother.
Time changes are a task, but it works out.
- bethers21 said…
I’m having a similar problem with my 4 week old (sorry for all of the questions, but I just discovered your blog and LOVE IT). I’ve just started letting him sleep at night and waking on his own for about a week. Prior to that I had to keep him on a 3 hour schedule at night to gain weight. He sleeps between 3 1/2-5 hours at night. If his 1st feeding is at 7 am, what do I do if he wakes up hungry at 5-6am? Also, I’ll need to adjust his schedule to 6 am when I go back to work. Should I start this now? I like being able to feed him at 7pm and 10pm. We haven’t started a good bedtime yet. At times my husband works late, and like you it’s important that my son gets to spend time with his daddy so if he naps after 7pm we let him. If not, he gets more time with daddy. Any thoughts??
January 30, 2008 5:52 PM
I am glad you like the blog! When do you go back to work? If it is in a couple of weeks, I would probably start to adjust it now. I would for sure do it one week before. It would be good for him to be accustomed to his schedule before you go back. See the Early Morning Feedings before waketime to see my thoughts on that topic:http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/01/early-morning-feedings-before-waketime.html
January 30, 2008 6:33 PM
- kim said…
I’m a new mother of a 2 month baby girl. I implemented BW from day 1 and Caitlin’s finally sleeping 12 to 6 am. How and when can I move her dreamfeed up to 9p.m. which is my evening feeding? If I also want her first feeding to be 7 am, what’s the best strategy?
April 5, 2008 9:26 PM
Hi Kim,I would first choose one of those goals to work on. Your girl is at an age for at most 7-8 hours of consistent sleep at night, so her 6 hours is great. I would choose which you prefer; earlier eating time or later wake time.For earlier eating time, I would just move it back by 15 minutes a night and see how she does. Only take it up to a total of 8 hours right now, so the earliest would be 10 PM. For later waketime, I would try to stretch her little by little each day. Stretch her to 6:15, then later, etc. You could also do a combo, one hour earlier in the night and one hour later in the morning, unless she can only do 7 hours at night right now. See this post, also:Early Morning Feedings Before Waketime: http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/01/early-morning-feedings-before-waketime.html
April 6, 2008 10:14 PM