How to Help Your Baby Cope With the Clock Change

The clocks are going forward, so here’s how to make sure you and your baby are coping with the clock change.

It’s officially spring time and summer is on it’s way. Although you may have missed it amidst all the Covid-19 news, the clocks are due to spring forward on Sunday 28th March, which means we’ll actually lose a precious hour in bed. Those tending to babies and toddlers may find your best laid routines thrown out the window when the clocks change.

We’ve called in the experts to come up with some top tips to help you and your little ones cope with the clock change. From adjusting their sleeping routine to thinking carefully about what you’re feeding your baby, here’s how you can make the transition as easy as possible.

Top Tips for Coping With the Clock Change

Leave the clocks alone

Judy Clark, a certified infant and child sleep consultant and founder of BabyWinkz, suggests using the ‘split the difference’ routine for a smooth transition.

  • On the Saturday night before the change, make sure the clocks are left alone. Stick to your usual morning routine and get up at the same time. Only change the clocks after breakfast. This will lessen the impact of the change.

Stick to Normal Nap Times

  • Stick to your baby’s normal nap schedule but adjust it by 30 minutes for the first three days. Half an hour won’t make too much difference and allows your baby to adjust to the new time slowly rather than all at once. An hour is a lot for young children.

The Early Bird Catches…a Good Night’s Sleep

  • Begin your bedtime routine 30 minutes earlier, so your child goes to sleep 30 minutes before they usually would. Your child may take slightly longer to fall asleep but, over the course of a week, that will adjust.

Slowly Adapt to the Clock Change

  • When the fourth night arrives, it is important you begin using the actual time. This will result in your baby having their naps at the correct time during the morning and afternoon, while also going to bed at their usual time.

How to Manage Mealtimes When the Clocks Change

Credit: Derek Owens via Unsplash

Sleep Isn’t Everything…

Just as adjusting your baby to their new nap times is essential, slowly altering their feeding and milk times is also very important. Alice Fotheringham, Head of Nutrition at Piccolo, has created some simple feeding guidelines and easy tips to help prepare your baby for the clock change.

“When you begin to shift their bedtime back in advance of the clock change, make sure you adjust their entire routine accordingly,” Alice explains.

“Ten minutes extra playtime should also equal a ten minute later lunch. It’s important for parents to remember that their babies will likely be hungrier earlier, so have things on-hand and prepared that you can give them straight away as they wake up.”

The Best Bedtime Snacks for When the Clocks Go Forward or Back

Foods that contain amino acid tryptophan are believed to cause drowsiness.

Alice adds: “Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that is commonly believed to cause drowsiness when our bodies successfully convert it to serotonin, known to regulate sleep cycles and stabilise mood.

“Think bananas, warm milk, oat biscuits, or whole grain cereals. Piccolo have the perfect product: their ‘Pear, Banana, Coconut Milk and Baby Rice’ pouch.”

In fact, bananas are a great source of vital Vitamin B6, which helps our bodies convert tryptophan to serotonin, a natural sedative.

Altering Mealtimes

Making the below adjustments to your baby’s timetable might just do the trick in helping them settle in to a new routine ahead of the clock change.

Breakfast – 15 mins earlier

Lunch – 35 mins earlier

Dinner – 60 mins earlier

Foods to Boost Melatonin

Cherries are a fantastic source of melatonin, the hormone responsible for regulating the sleep-wake cycle. It is often taken by adults in supplement form to help with jet-lag recovery, but let your baby try something a little more delicious. Piccolo’s ‘Apple and Cherry with Wholegrain Oats’ pouch will get them back in routine in no time.

Warm Baths Before Bed

There is real science behind this popular method of promoting sleep. Our body temperatures are lowest at night when we are asleep, and taking a warm bath – while it may seem counterintuitive – causes a drop in body temperature. Bathing your little one 1 to 2 hours before bedtime will get their body temperature down and begin thinking it’s already asleep.

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