When your baby is sick

When your baby is sick, nights can be interrupted.

If you have worked hard to ensure your child has the ability to fall asleep independently to ensure they are a good sleeper through the night, and for day naps, the last thing you want to do is derail these skills over the period they get sick.

When your baby is sick, the first thing to accept is that she is going to wake in the night.

Anyone who is ill does not sleep as well as they normally do. We tend to have two, five, even more night-time wake-ups.

How you handle wake-ups will make a big difference.

One of the big mistakes people make is that they start to intervene in their child’s sleep skills. Meaning they go in, they start to rock, feed, or try to lull baby to sleep in their arms, rather than let their baby fall asleep on their own like they normally would.

I understand why people do this, you want to comfort your baby when they are sick. I’m not saying don’t comfort them. Absolutely go in and comfort them. Try to keep it to a short cuddle, wipe her nose, give her a drink of water, whatever you need to do to offer some comfort, but do your best not to interfere with her sleep skills. No rocking or feeding to sleep. Stay strong, it’ll be worth it for both of you in the long run.

The only time you would ever go back to a night-time feed (if you have previously dropped it) is obviously if your doctor or pediatrician suggests it.

If she’s had a high fever for several days, she might need some extra fluids through the night.

You want to make sure that those only happen for a few nights. Three is kind of my rule of thumb. If anything happens for more than three nights, then there is the danger that the baby is going to now expect this and start waking up looking for feeds even once the sickness is gone.

Another big mistake people make when their child is sick, is that they bring them into bed with them. Again, I understand it. I too want to be close to my little one when he is sick. I understand where that desire comes from. Again, you want to comfort your sick child. If you’re really concerned about your child through the night, it is a much better option for you to go to him. Throw down an air mattress. Spend a night or two in his room to keep an eye on him. Again, remembering my rule of threes, try not to do it for any longer than three nights or you might find yourself six months later still sleeping beside his bed.

If everything falls apart, cut yourself a bit of slack.

Sometimes it happens. Know that as soon as your baby is well again, just get right back on track with allowing them to fall asleep independently.

For more information on my gentle sleep packages, please visit my sleep packages page.

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