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March 2, 2024

Springtime Sleep Solutions: Helping Your Baby Adjust to the Changing Season

Welcoming the long-awaited spring season also begins a slight change in our daily rhythms and routines. For parents, particularly those with newborns and infants, the change in time can signify a period of rapid adaptation – not only to the changing daylight hours but to the distinct sleep patterns that accompany the season.  For parents with little ones, the transition can feel challenging and exhausting. But with a few simple tips and tricks, you can help your baby adjust to the changing season and get some much-needed rest.

Understanding Baby Sleep Patterns in Spring

A parent’s awareness of their baby’s sleep patterns is crucial when navigating the spring transition. Unlike adults, babies can sleep up to 16 hours in a 24-hour period,  with naps taking up a significant portion of that time. As we move into spring, the increased daylight hours can impact a baby’s sleep-wake cycle, making it challenging for them to settle down and fall asleep at their usual times.

Baby with a pacifier sleeping in a bassinet

Shifting Daylight Hours

With spring’s increasing daylight, the circadian rhythm, or the internal body clock, naturally adjusts. It’s important to note that this can be challenging for babies who are highly sensitive to light and dark cues.  When natural light changes, a baby’s body may struggle to adjust to the new schedule and disrupt their sleep patterns.

Warmer Temperatures

As temperatures rise during springtime, it can also affect how well your baby sleeps. Babies are more susceptible to temperature changes, and even slight increases in temperature can make them feel uncomfortable and restless. As a result, they may have difficulty falling and staying asleep.

Differentiated Sleep Needs in Spring

Infants’ sleep patterns might alter as the days grow longer, signaling a change in the ratio of daytime naps to nighttime sleep. Understanding and adapting to these shifting needs is essential for a smoother transition. This could mean making small adjustments to your baby’s sleep schedule, such as adding an extra nap during the day or shifting bedtime slightly earlier.

Baby crib in the corner of a nursery

Tips for Helping Babies Adjust

Ensuring a smooth transition for your baby during the spring adjustment period requires patience and consistency. Here are some tips to help you with this process.

Maintain a Consistent Bedtime Routine

Consistency is key. A predictable and calming routine each evening, leading up to bedtime, can signal to your baby that it’s time to unwind and prepare for sleep. This could include a warm bath, reading a book, or singing lullabies.

Baby humidifier and sound machine on a table next to a crib

Optimize the Sleep Environment

Transform your infant’s sleep space into a gentle sanctuary. Blackout curtains can shield the bright spring dawn, and a white noise machine can help muffle out the new sounds of the season. If they are sensitive to light, you can use a sleep support machine  with a gentle glow to mimic the darkness of nighttime.

Close up of a baby with a wearable blanket

Adjust Room Temperature for Comfort

A key factor in helping babies adjust to springtime sleep patterns is ensuring the room temperature is set for optimal comfort. Research suggests that the ideal temperature for a baby’s sleep environment is between 68°F and 72°F (20°C to 22°C). At this range, babies are less likely to become restless due to being too hot or too cold. A room thermometer can be a helpful tool in monitoring the environment, ensuring it remains at a consistent, comfortable temperature throughout the night. Additionally, dressing your baby in breathable, lightweight pajamas or a wearable blanket can further aid in maintaining their comfort.

Baby asleep in her crib

Navigating Nap Transitions

The length and amount of your baby’s daytime naps might need to be adjusted in the spring. Gradually transitioning from multiple short naps to fewer, longer ones can help maintain a solid bedtime schedule. On the other hand, if your baby is struggling to adjust to the longer days, consider adding an extra short nap during the day.

Be Mindful of Daylight Savings Time

The shift to daylight savings time can throw off a baby’s internal clock. To help mitigate this, gradually adjust your baby’s sleep schedule by 10-15 minutes every few days leading up to the change. This will make the transition smoother for your little one. For more tips on transitioning your baby for daylight saving time, check out this blog from Mom’s on Call.

Stay Patient and Positive

As with any sleep transition, it’s crucial to stay patient and positive. Adjusting to a new season can be challenging for adults, let alone infants who are still learning how to navigate their sleep patterns. Be consistent in your approach, and remember that with time and patience, your baby will adjust to the changing season.

As we welcome spring with open arms, it’s important to remember that it may take some time for your baby to adapt to the shifting daylight hours and warmer temperatures. By understanding their sleep needs, maintaining a consistent routine, and being patient and positive during this adjustment period, you can help your little one get the rest they need to thrive during this beautiful season.

For parents with little ones, the transition to spring can feel challenging. Here are a few tips that can help your baby adjust to the season and get some rest.