Friday, October 18, 2019

Time Change Fall Back 2019

Fall is here and we are in the midst of Fall Back Time change. Sunday, Nov 3rd at 2:00 AM clock fall back by one hour.

Sunday, Nov 3rd 2019
Spring forward...Fall back....

I love fall! Cooler weather leaves changing colors, holidays around the corner and I get an extra hour of sleep. As a parent, I dread my kids waking up too early and having to adjust their sleep patterns. Do you?

If so, here are some options to help you and your family through the transition when we set our clocks backward one hour on Sunday, November 3rd.

Gradual Approach: 

The gradual approach is usually recommended for younger children (3 and under) or those who do not adjust well to rapid changes in their schedules.

Start the week before the time change and slowly shift your baby's sleep schedule later.  For example: move bedtime, morning wake up time and nap times later by 10-15 minutes.

Keep moving the entire schedule later every few days but ensure your child doesn't get overtired.  By the time Sunday comes, your child's schedule will be based on the new time.  You will have gently shifted the circadian rhythm which regulates your child's sleeping patterns.

Rapid Approach: 

For the rapid approach, put your child to bed at their normal bedtime on Saturday, the ideal bedtime for most children is between 7-8 pm.

Your child will likely wake up at their normal time (6-7 am), but the clock will say (5-6 am).  Your brain will say uck!  Go ahead and get them up, they don’t know about daylight savings time, but you can keep it low key for 30-60 minutes until you are ready to start your day.

If your child is less than 3 years old and still naps then stretch him as close as you can to his normal 1st nap time (using the current clock).  Water play, a stroll outside (don't let them fall asleep in the stroller) or getting outside is a great wake to keep any kiddo awake!

If you think your child can’t make it a full hour later, split the difference pushing the morning nap later by 30 min.  If that is too much, push the 1st nap later 15-20 mins and continue to do so every 3 days until the new time is reached.  The rest of the schedule will naturally be later if you follow this sleep tip.

Early Rising Tips:

The next few mornings, they may wake up a little early, but don’t let them start the day before 6:00 am (new clock).  You may need to review my blog on Early Rising if you have issues with waking up too early in the mornings or if your child is waking before 6:00 am.

Daylight Savings Tips:

On Sunday, follow your usual schedule as close as possible.  Move meals, the rest of his naps(s) and bedtime using the new clock time.

Ensure that your child is well-rested during this transition period and if needed, putting them to bed 15-30 minutes earlier for a few days is okay.

If your child had too late a bedtime before the fall time change, here is your chance to move it earlier without too much fuss.  So, if your lil one's nite-nite time was too late, don’t move it later - pretend time change didn't happen.

It may take everyone a few days to adjust but it should not take more than a week to adjust your child's sleep patterns to the new time.

Written By: Michelle S. Donaghy, Certified Gentle Sleep Coach

Photo Credit: Classic Kids Photography Newport Beach, By: Jenn

Monday, April 1, 2019

Baby Care: Ssssh, The Scoop on Sleep

Article featured in: OC Family | OC Register

By Jenna L. Jones with Michelle S. Donaghy, Certified Gentle Sleep Coach

Bloodshot eyes and fuzzy thinking are typical hallmarks of early parenthood.  And it’s no surprise — 43 percent of new parents get only one to three hours of uninterrupted sleep per night according to a study commissioned by Owlet Baby Care. Because newborns wake up every two to three hours, getting baby to sleep promptly can have a huge impact on everyone’s overall wellbeing.

To help parents find a few extra zzz’s in their nighttime routine and shed light on the basics on newborn sleep, we sat down with Michelle S. Donaghy, MSD Baby Sleep Coach. Based in Brea California, she is a certified Gentle Sleep Coach who has helped several hundred families implement better sleep practices.

OCF: What are the sleep cycles like for newborns?

Michelle S. Donaghy: Newborns sleep a lot but their sleep is not well developed or organized. So you may not even realize it, but they are getting about 15 to 18 hours in a 24-hour period as sleep usually comes in small increments.

In the early stages, newborns spend about half of their sleep in the active kind of sleep called REM. In REM sleep, they are more easily aroused and are sleeping lightly.  Babies also cycle between REM and non-REM more than adults do and every time they switch they have a partial awakening.

OCF: What are some easy ways to help baby fall back to sleep?

Donaghy: Allowing baby the opportunity to work it out and put themselves back to sleep is always best.  If baby never learns how to get back to sleep after partial arousal independently, they most likely won’t learn to sleep through the night.

If baby is fully awake and crying, go to them and soothe with techniques such as patting, shushing, stroking, or diaper change and re-swaddling.

Then put baby back in their bed. Sometimes less is more, and all baby needed was to be re-swaddled before being put back into their bed to fall asleep.

It’s OK to stay cribside until baby dozes off, but the middle of the night is not the time for playtime or awake time.

OCF: What kind of routine should parents implement before putting a newborn down to sleep?

Donaghy: Newborns don’t need a lot of preparation for sleep. But a consistent bedtime and a few simple steps leading up to bedtime will help set the stage to regulate and improve sleep.

The simple steps could be going to the bedroom, changing into pajamas and a clean diaper, swaddle, darkened the room, turn on white noise, a pre-bedtime feed and rock or hold them in your arms to the point of drowsiness but not fully asleep then put baby down into the crib and let baby finish falling asleep in the sleeping space.

OCF: Do you have any advice for parents who are lacking in sleep?

Donaghy: My best suggestion would be to have a bedtime routine of their own.  Set a timer when you will turn off all electronics that is at least 60 minutes before you would like to fall asleep.

The ideal bedtime for most adults is to be asleep between 10 and 11 p.m. Having a little routine with something relaxing like reading, yoga or listening to meditation is very helpful in getting the body ready for sleep at night.

Other tips would be for parents to take turns attending to a child who is not sleeping through the night.

Co-Author: Jenna L. Jones is an editor and journalist who writes about everything from tech startups to beachside weddings. She regularly enjoys a crisp glass of chardonnay with her husband and two lazy dogs at her home in Long Beach, California. Follow her on Twitter @JLJonesOCR

Co-Author: Michelle S. Donaghy founder of MSD Baby Sleep and Certified Gentle Sleep Coach.

Article featured in OC Family | OC Register - Baby Care: Ssssh, The Scoop on Sleep - 
March 14, 2019  

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Tips To Handle Spring Forward - Daylight Savings

Sunday, March 10th we “spring forward”! 

Turn your clocks ahead 1 hour, before bed on Saturday night March 9th.

If you/your child(ren) typically wake at 6am, then they will likely wake 7am.  If you like this change then YAY!  This is a great fix for an early riser.

Keep naps and bedtime on the new schedule (1hr later). To protect this new schedule and time make sure you use continuous white noise for all sleep periods and keep the room really, really dark.

If the new time doesn’t work for you, below are some options to help your family adjust:

Gradually adjust:

This is ideal for children under 2 or those who don’t do well with big changes.  Go to bed 15 minutes earlier every night this week.  Each day, wake up your child 15 minutes earlier in the morning.  If napping, put her down 15 minutes earlier for each nap the following day.

Continue to adjust the schedule earlier in 15-minute increments (wake up, naptimes, mealtimes, and bedtime) until you get to your goal according to the new clock time.

Adjusting all at once or split the difference:

On Sunday, schedule your day (wake up, meals, naps, and bedtime) on the new clock time.  But don’t start your day any earlier than 6am on the new clock time.

If you think the one-hour adjustment is too much for your child, split the difference and put her to bed 30 minutes earlier starting Sunday night and for a few days.  Once that is going well, shift bedtime an additional 30 minutes earlier (the full hour). 

Don't forget to adjust your entire schedule in the above increments eg: earlier wake-up time, nap time(s) and meal times.

Extra Daylight Saving Tips:

  • Be sure to make naps a priority this week, this weekend and next week too! (view my blog on Sample Schedules by age)
  • Watch the sleep windows (view my blog on Awake Windows by age).
  • Install room-darkening shades for improved sleep.
  • Keep things calm in the evening and no screen time 60 min before bedtime.
  • Get lots of bright sunlight in the morning during this transition time.
  • If necessary use your preferred sleep coaching method to help encourage sleep and get everyone in the family the sleep they need.
  • Don’t forget an early enough bedtime!  For most children that is between 7 – 8 PM. 
The adjustment to the new clock can take a few days, but it seldom takes more than a week!

Sweet Dreams!

Written by: Michelle Donaghy

PS: Ensure your child is going to bed awake, relaxed but awake.  On a scale of 1 to 10 and 10 is fast asleep your child should be at a 5 when they get into bed.   It should take them at least 5 minutes to put themselves to sleep.  If it takes less, your child was too sleepy and it is likely the cause of your night waking and also your early rising sleep issues (see my blog on Early Rising).