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Adjusting Babies to the Time Change

Dear Heather,

Now that the time has changed, my baby wakes up way too early, like 5a.m.! What can I do?

Early Mama

Dear Early Mama,

Your baby has a strong internal alarm clock. It's going to take at least a week for it to shift— and maybe longer. The body's internal clocks help us regulate lots of biological systems like our metabolism, temperature, sleep, hunger and so much more. Once it's set, it runs on its own unless we coax it otherwise.

That can take time.

RELATED: How Exactly Do I Get My Kid to Stay In Bed?

If your baby was waking up at 6 a.m. and is now calling out for you at 5 a.m., you can shift gradually. Start by making sure the room is very dark. Invest some time in truly blacking out the room with shades, curtains or something more DIY. Every other day, you could get your baby out of bed 15 minutes later. That means 5:15 a.m. for a couple of days, then 5:30 a.m. and so on. Keeping her in her dark room for gradually longer periods allows her body the chance to shift to the new time (whether she goes back to sleep again or not). If you get her up, expose her to light and feed her at 5 a.m., her body will continue to wake at that time.

RELATED: My 1-Year-Old Wakes Up Tired

It can take weeks for a baby to shift a wake-up time. It's the most stubborn part of sleep and one of the most common reasons parents call us. Don't give up: the internal clock is strong, but it's also built to be shaped by our environment and schedules.

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Sleep expert Heather Turgeon, co-author of " The Happy Sleeper: The Science-Backed Guide to Helping Your Baby Get a Good Night's Sleep—Newborn to School Age ," will fix your family's sleep problems in this space as she does in her Los Angeles-based sleep consultations . Turgeon's solutions are nonjudgmental, kind and—best of all—based on science.

No situation is too challenging. Leave your sleep problem in the comments. Let's all get a good night's sleep, finally.

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