Not many things in new parenthood are so sought-after and elusive than a solid sleep schedule for your baby. When you’re a new mom, your Google history may include questions like, “When will my baby sleep through the night?” “When do I start sleep training?” or “Is cry-it-out really that bad?” Some babies are just naturally good sleepers, and some babies take a lot of work to get into a good sleep routine. Once you’re in the sweet spot of baby sleep or have a consistent bedtime routine for your toddler, you don’t want anything messing with that schedule.
Enter summer. Right on cue.
Glorious days of warmer temps and endless sunshine aren’t quite so magical when the sun’s rays are still blaring through your baby’s nursery window at 8pm. While summer is the time of looser schedules, more fun, and frequent travel, it can also mean added stress if the season change starts messing with your child’s sleep routine.
We’ve pulled together a few trusted summer sleep hacks from our editors and experts, so (hopefully) the longer summer days won’t mean longer summer nights for you.
1. Make Some Easy Nursery Adjustments
A change in light or temperature can affect your baby’s summer sleep. Opt for lightweight, breathable pajamas for summer like cotton or cotton muslin. Keep their room a comfortable temperature by cooling your home down slightly earlier than you normally would and circulate air with a fan, whether ceiling or standing.
Blackout curtains can keep those late-night or early sunshine rays from waking up your baby, and closing the curtains earlier in the day can help cool down their room as well.
2. Get Outside
The Journal of Sleep Research says, “For babies up to 3 months, the more natural light to which they’re exposed, the quieter and longer their nighttime sleep.”
Light helps young babies set their biological clocks, and summer is the perfect time to get outside with your baby and kids as much as possible. Just remember to protect them with shade and kid safe sunscreen.
3. Simulate Home for Sleep During Travel
You’re going to want to pack those travel black-out curtains, and a few other items to simulate your baby’s home sleep environment when you travel.
Try to keep them in their nighttime routine as much as possible, whether that includes a bath, familiar bedtime stories, and a somewhat consistent bedtime.
4. Keep the 80/20 Rule in Mind
Certified sleep consultant Jennie Clarke of GoodNightSleepSite shared with us via email, “Summer is for fun, right? Naps will be skipped and later bedtimes will happen, but the 80/20 rule can help ensure your child stays well-rested.”
The 80/20 rule is simple: 80% of the time honor your child’s sleep schedule, and 20% of the time you can vary from it.
Clarke also recommends making up for the lost sleep with a slightly earlier bedtime.
What sleep hacks have you used to keep your baby on a schedule?