My Baby is Sick: Keeping Good Sleep Habits Despite the Snotty Nose
My little one has been sick this week -- and that means I have too, because what's hers is mine and whats mine is hers (my fork, my toothbrush, my water bottle -- all interchangeable). I can remember when she was younger and I was always petrified of her getting sick because it meant our nights (and days) would be worse then they already were (and oh, they were bad!)
Those days are long gone though. Now -- when we're sick, we sleep!
We hear from a lot of parents that had done some sort of sleep training on their own and babe was doing pretty good, but then got sick and now is sleeping horribly again even after babe is better. Why? Because they reverted back to old habits. I can most definitely understand why parents do this. It's a bit of a panic state when our babes are sick and they start waking throughout the night again. If there is any advice I could give on surviving your child's common cold/flu it would be to stay consistent! Let's break this down:
1. Your child needs sleep to fight off whatever they need to fight off!
We all know how crucial sleep is to our health and building and repairing our immune systems. We also know that your babe sleeps best when he/she drifts off to dreamland independently (with no external props). So... why would we change this? If you start nursing your babe to sleep again for those naps, the likelihood of that 30-45 minute cat nap returning is sky high. If we start rocking babe to sleep again at bedtime, the likelihood of those night wakings returning (because they need you to do so between sleep cycles too) is also sky high. To sum it up: lets not forget the importance of sticking to your routine!
2. A bit of extra comfort goes a long way!
So while I say to stick to the routine, I totally encourage you to give extra comfort. If you usually put babe down, give her a kiss and leave the room for her to drift off -- lets stay in the room a few extra minutes if she's sick. Give her some extra snuggles, then put her in her crib and give some extra gentle touch. All of this is fine as long as you are not putting her to sleep. Let her do that on her own. We know she knows how :)
3. Respond right away!
If your babe is a great sleeper and drifts off independently, then they are calling for you for a reason -- so forgo the 10 minutes that we usually recommend you wait when your babe is healthy and go check in. She may just need some extra comfort, some water or some Tylenol, etc. Give her what she needs and repeat the same strategies you used at bedtime, letting her drift back off on her own. There is no need to revert back to the boob or bottle to get her to sleep. We feed babies because they are hungry, not because they are sick.
Now with all that being said -- I want to remind you to use your discretion when your babe is sick. These are tips for the common cold and flu. There may be times when your child is VERY sick and you gotta do what you gotta do to get that babe some rest -- that's okay because we can always get her back on track when she is feeling better. If you end up breaking routine -- go easy on yourself! Like any regression, getting right back on track is key. And remember, we are always here if you need a bit of additional support to get back on the sleep bandwagon! Shoot us a message on Facebook or on our website.