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How to 'fall back' with kids and not lose (too much) sleep

The end of daylight saving time is almost here, mama.

daylight saving time

With the end of daylight saving time coming up on November 3rd, many of us will have an extra hour of sleep to look forward to. And while I don't think anyone is complaining about getting more sleep, mamas will often start to worry about how the time change will affect their child's sleep schedule.

Unfortunately, our children's biological clocks don't automatically change with our household clocks, leaving it up to us to help them adjust. But have no fear, there are several ways to help them make the transition without too much disruption to their current schedule.

Here are five ways to prepare your child leading up to the end of daylight saving time:

1. Prepare by shifting you child's entire sleep schedule forward.

I don't want to overcomplicate this, so to keep it simple I'm proposing two different approaches.

Option 1: To prepare for the extra hour, move your child's sleep schedule later (about 10/15 min each day/night) over the week prior so that they feel ready for sleep once we change the clocks. This includes awake time, naps and bedtime. This will also help to prevent your child from becoming over-tired which can affect both the daytime and nighttime sleep cycles.

To give you an example, if your child is currently going to sleep at 7 pm, you can move bedtime later 15 minutes each night to shift their internal clock so that 7 pm doesn't feel like 8 pm once the change hits. So, the week before you are adjusting bedtime but then once we fall back, you still want to end up at your original bedtime (7 pm in this case).

Option 2: If preparing an entire week in advance doesn't seem feasible, you can plan on adjusting your child's schedule the weekend prior in bigger chunks of time.

You would still follow the formula above, but instead of shifting 10-15 min, you would adjust sleep later by 20-25 min over the weekend.

With either of these options you might find that it is hard to keep your baby up later so do your best by exposing them to plenty of light during the day, and trying to keep them stimulated and active (just not with light) in the evening.

2. Anticipate early rising—and be prepared.

If you're moving bedtime later, hopefully your child isn't still waking early, but it is possible this can happen since anytime there is a shift in sleeping patterns, our cycles can feel a bit off. If your child wakes early, try allowing them time in their crib/room to hang out (assuming they don't become upset) and encourage that independent time before getting them up. You also want to make sure their room is completely dark in the morning and that sunlight isn't causing early morning risings.

If your child is a bit older you may want to communicate the change and invest in an okay-to-wake clock which gives the green light once it's time to get up for the day.

3. Be mindful of exposure to sunlight + darkness through the day and evening.

Our body's internal sleep cycles (circadian rhythm) are regulated by light and darkness and heavily influenced by our environment. This is why we often become sleepy once it starts to get dark and many of us wake up with the sun. You can help your child's 24-hour sleep cycle by exposing them to light once you get them up in the morning and throughout the day, with their last sun exposure around 4 pm. If your child's bedtime is typically later (as in past 8 pm), you may want to consider moving it up slightly since their body will likely become tired earlier as a natural result of having darkness earlier.

4. Get enough sleep before the time change.

I would recommend holding off on sleepovers or any major travel if you can help it before we "fall back." While you can't necessarily deposit sleep into a bank to accrue, lack of sleep can result in chronic over-tiredness which will further the challenge in adjusting to a new sleep schedule.

The more rested your child is leading up to this transition, the better!

5. Be patient and try not to worry.

As we all know, the effects of sleep deprivation impact the entire family. Children are just as confused about the time change as we are, and although our bodies will adjust naturally (eventually), some have a harder time than others. If you notice meltdowns become a bit more frequent after the time change, try and remember that lack of sleep could be the culprit. I encourage you to set aside more quiet time and maybe even an extra nap while you all try to adjust to this new season.

Just remember, you'll get through this time and try not to worry or change anything drastically in order to over-correct sleep. Each year we go through this shift and each year we adjust so remind yourself that it is just another season!

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1. Prepare by shifting you child's entire sleep schedule forward.

I don't want to overcomplicate this, so to keep it simple I'm proposing two different approaches.

Option 1: To prepare for the "fall" back, you can move your child's sleep schedule later (about 10/15 min each day/night) over the week prior so that he feels ready for sleep once we change the clocks. This includes awake time, naps and bedtime. This will also help to prevent your child from becoming over-tired which can affect both the daytime and nighttime sleep cycles.

To give you an example, if your child is currently going to sleep at 7 pm, you can move bedtime later 15 minutes each night to shift her internal clock so that 7 pm doesn't feel like 8 pm once the change hits. So, the week before you are adjusting bedtime but then once we fall back, you still want to end up at your original bedtime (7 pm in this case).

Option 2: If preparing an entire week in advance doesn't seem feasible, you can plan on adjusting your child's schedule the weekend prior in bigger chunks of time.

You would still follow the formula above, but instead of shifting 10-15 min, you would adjust sleep later by 20-25 min over the weekend.

With either of these options you might find that it is hard to keep your baby up later so do your best by exposing her to plenty of light during the day, and trying to keep her stimulated and active (just not with light) in the evening.

2. Anticipate early rising—and be prepared.

If you're moving bedtime later, hopefully your child isn't still waking early, but it is possible this can happen since anytime there is a shift in sleeping patterns, our cycles can feel a bit off. If your child wakes early, try allowing her time in her crib/room to hang out (assuming she doesn't become upset) and encourage that independent time before getting her up. You also want to make sure her room is completely dark in the morning and that sunlight isn't causing early morning risings.

If your child is a bit older you may want to communicate the change and invest in an okay-to-wake clock which gives the green light once it's time to get up for the day.

3. Be mindful of exposure to sunlight + darkness through the day and evening.

Our body's internal sleep cycles (circadian rhythm) are regulated by light and darkness and heavily influenced by our environment. This is why we often become sleepy once it starts to get dark and many of us wake up with the sun. You can help your child's 24-hour sleep cycle by exposing her to light once you get her up in the morning and throughout the day, with her last sun exposure around 4 pm. If your child's bedtime is typically later (as in past 8 pm), you may want to consider moving it up slightly since her body will likely become tired earlier as a natural result of having darkness earlier.

4. Get enough sleep before the time change.

I would recommend holding off on sleepovers or any major travel if you can help it before we "fall back." While you can't necessarily deposit sleep into a bank to accrue, lack of sleep can result in chronic over-tiredness which will further the challenge in adjusting to a new sleep schedule.

The more rested your child is leading up to this transition, the better!

5. Be patient and try not to worry.

As we all know, the effects of sleep deprivation impact the entire family. Children are just as confused about the time change as we are, and although our bodies will adjust naturally (eventually), some have a harder time than others. If you notice meltdowns become a bit more frequent after the time change, try and remember that lack of sleep could be the culprit. I encourage you to set aside more quiet time and maybe even an extra nap while you all try to adjust to this new season.

Just remember, you'll get through this time and try not to worry or change anything drastically in order to over-correct sleep. Each year we go through this shift and each year we adjust so remind yourself that it is just another season!

By its very nature, motherhood requires some lifestyle adjustments: Instead of staying up late with friends, you get up early for snuggles with your baby. Instead of spontaneous date nights with your honey, you take afternoon family strolls with your little love. Instead of running out of the house with just your keys and phone, you only leave with a fully loaded diaper bag.

For breastfeeding or pumping mamas, there is an additional layer of consideration around when, how and how much your baby will eat. Thankfully, when it comes to effective solutions for nursing or bottle-feeding your baby, Dr. Brown's puts the considerations of mamas and their babies first with products that help with every step of the process—from comfortably adjusting to nursing your newborn to introducing a bottle to efficiently pumping.

With countless hours spent breastfeeding, pumping and bottle-feeding, the editors at Motherly know the secret to success is having dependable supplies that can help you feed your baby in a way that matches lifestyle.

Here are 9 breastfeeding and pumping products to help you no matter what the day holds.

Customflow™ Double Electric Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's electric pump

For efficient, productive pumping sessions, a double electric breast pump will help you get the job done as quickly as possible. Quiet for nighttime pumping sessions and compact for bringing along to work, this double pump puts you in control with fully adjustable settings.

$159.99

Hands-Free Pumping Bra

Dr. Brown''s hands free pumping bra

Especially in the early days, feeding your baby can feel like a pretty consuming task. A hands-free pumping bra will help you reclaim some of your precious time while pumping—and all mamas will know just how valuable more time can be!

$29.99

Manual Breast Pump with SoftShape™ Silicone Shield

Dr. Brown's manual breast pump

If you live a life that sometimes takes you away from electrical outlets (that's most of us!), then you'll absolutely want a manual breast pump in your arsenal. With two pumping modes to promote efficient milk expression and a comfort-fitted shield, a manual pump is simply the most convenient pump to take along and use. Although it may not get as much glory as an electric pump, we really appreciate how quick and easy this manual pump is to use—and how liberating it is not to stress about finding a power supply.

$29.99

Nipple Shields and Sterilization Case

Dr. Brown's nipple shields

There is a bit of a learning curve to breastfeeding—for both mamas and babies. Thankfully, even if there are some physical challenges (like inverted nipples or a baby's tongue tie) or nursing doesn't click right away, silicone nipple shields can be a huge help. With a convenient carry case that can be sterilized in the microwave, you don't have to worry about germs or bacteria either. 🙌

$9.99

Silicone One-Piece Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's silicone pump

When you are feeding your baby on one breast, the other can still experience milk letdown—which means it's a golden opportunity to save some additional milk. With a silent, hands-free silicone pump, you can easily collect milk while nursing.

$14.99

Breast to Bottle Pump & Store Feeding Set

After a lifetime of nursing from the breast, introducing a bottle can be a bit of a strange experience for babies. Dr. Brown's Options+™ and slow flow bottle nipples were designed with this in mind to make the introduction to bottles smooth and pleasant for parents and babies. As a set that seamlessly works together from pumping to storing milk to bottle feeding, you don't have to stress about having everything you need to keep your baby fed and happy either.

$24.99

Washable Breast Pads

washable breast pads

Mamas' bodies are amazingly made to help breast milk flow when it's in demand—but occasionally also at other times. Especially as your supply is establishing or your breasts are fuller as the length between feeding sessions increase, it's helpful to use washable nursing pads to prevent breast milk from leaking through your bra.

$8.99

Breast Milk Storage Bags

Dr. Brown's milk storage bags

The essential for mamas who do any pumping, breast milk storage bags allow you to easily and safely seal expressed milk in the refrigerator or freezer. Dr. Brown's™ Breast Milk Storage Bags take it even further with extra thick walls that block out scents from other food items and feature an ultra secure lock to prevent leaking.

$7.99


Watch one mama's review of the new Dr. Brown's breastfeeding line here:

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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