Daylight Savings and Feeding Routines

Daylight Savings is just around the corner, and the very thought of its arrival can send mums into a near panic as they prepare to manage the change in their children’s sleeping routines.

But the impending disruption to our clocks can be a source of stress for many first time mums too, concerned about any potential impact on developing feeding routines.

Are Routines Important?

New parents are popularly advised to put routines in place if they want the baby to develop good sleep habits – and if they want a manageable life! says Dr Pam Douglas, author of The Discontented Little Baby Book

However, large new studies show that sleep training and routines have no positive effect on your child’s development down the track, and may make life harder for some families.

If routines work for you, there’s no need to change – but if you’re trying to create a routine, the process might actually make your baby more unsettled.

“I find the kind of scheduling most helpful to mothers is simply the scheduling of lots of enjoyable social and physical activities outside the home, with the baby in tow,” says Dr Douglas.

Natural Routines

According to Dr Douglas, babies’ feeds and sleep are regulated by internal biological processes, which can’t be forced or taught.

There are, however, obstacles which accidentally interfere with the healthy function of the baby’s sleep regulators – an example is long sleeps during the day in quiet, dark rooms, which disrupt the baby’s circadian clock.

Daily patterns or rhythms emerge, but the baby is growing and changing all the time, so we can expect those patterns to change too.

What about Daylight Savings?

The good news is that Daylight Savings is not something to worry about, because your baby’s internal regulators respond to sunlight and the noise and bustle of activity happening around him or her, not to the numbers on the clock-face.

The baby’s biological regulators will adapt to your changed activity rhythms – you can relax and trust that the baby will fit in.

It helps if the baby is sleeping in the same room as you are in, both during the day and night.

This is the safest place to sleep any baby under 6 months of age, and also helps keep the circadian clock healthy.

If you sensibly respond to your baby’s sleepy cues, the baby’s biological regulators will adapt without effort on your part.