Tips for Transitioning Summer Infant Sleep Schedules

How to be flexible while maintaining a workable sleep routine.

As teachers, my husband and I tend to think more in terms of school years than calendar years. And as another school year winds down, our minds shift to vacation plans and the daily routines of summer.

Even if you are sandwiched between your former school days and your child’s future school days, summer still has a different feel, doesn’t it? Longer days, warmer weather, and outdoor activities set a different tone for the flow of life. 

As you make this transition, you may be thinking about how all the summer festivities and fun activities are going to affect your infant’s sleep routine.

Here are a few things to consider as you switch to a summer schedule.

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3 Tips for Transitioning to Summer with your Infant's Sleep Schedule

1. Find the balance between normalcy and flexibility.

Both are valuable and necessary in our lives. Babies do need predictability and routine, but there are going to be all kinds of reasons for those routines to change from day to day and season to season. When we lower expectations for what we think our days should look like, we will be less disappointed when things don’t go according to plan.

2. Naps in the stroller or carrier are not a bad thing every now and then.

Both you and baby need to get out and enjoy the fresh air and get some vitamin D. In the first months of her life, my daughter often took her morning nap snuggled up next to my chest in the carrier as I got some much needed exercise. I covered her little head with a sun hat and made sure she didn’t get overheated while I relished the sun on my face.

3. Use baby’s later bedtime to your advantage.

For the first couple of months of your newborn’s life, the last feeding of the day is usually late in the evening. This can be great for those summer evening barbecues with friends and family. Being able to get out of the house for a social gathering helps you feel some of the normalcy you are craving, and then heading home to feed baby and settle in for the night will keep her on a manageable routine.

As you have no doubt discovered, baby’s routine can dominate the household. For a while this is necessary, but you don’t need to completely eliminate the things you love about summer. They will look different for a while, but you can still participate in the outdoor activities you enjoy.

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We have kept our little one on a pretty strict and early bedtime for the last four years. She’s an early riser and never seemed to sleep any later when we tried a later bedtime. But just this year on vacation, we have been able to do some things later in the evening, and with a nap in the car here and there, she has adapted well.

So find a sleep and activity schedule that works for everyone in your family this summer. Stick to it as closely as you need to, but don’t be afraid to deviate from time to time. Have fun, go with the flow, and know that some day, things will not need to be as rigid.

How do you help your infant transition to a summer sleep schedule?

Annie Wiesman

Annie Wiesman

Annie Wiesman is the co-author of “Education Begins at Birth: A Parent’s Guide to Preparing Infants, Toddlers, and Preschoolers for Kindergarten.” She is a former kindergarten teacher turned stay-at-home mom who enjoys traveling, hiking in the mountains, and creating memories together with her husband and little girl.

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