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How to Help Baby Sleep When Sick

I don’t know about you, but we are in the thick of the cold and flu season over here! Navigating sleep while your little one is not feeling well can be tough! Sleep is crucial for a child's growth and development, but when they get sick, it can be challenging to know how to respond, especially during sleep. Here are some tips on how to respond to your little one during sleep if they are not feeling well.

Monitor Their Symptoms:When your baby is sick, it's essential to monitor their symptoms closely, even during sleep. Keep an eye out for signs of discomfort such as fever, congestion, coughing, or difficulty breathing. Depending on how severe the symptoms are, will determine what type of response you should be giving.

Create a Comfortable Sleep Environment:A comfortable sleep environment can make such a big difference in helping your baby sleep better. Ensure his room is at a comfortable temperature, somewhere between 68-72 degrees to ensure it is not too hot or too cold. Also make sure to use a humidifier to ease congestion and keep the air moist.

Let Them Sleep:Your baby’s body is fighting something off and it will need all the help it can get to overcome this bug. So, try to not to cap any type of sleep period. Let him nap as long as his body wants, and let him sleep in as long as his body wants as well.

Offer Comfort and Reassurance:Even during sleep, your baby may seek comfort and reassurance when they're not feeling well. Make sure to forgo any type of wait period and attend to your baby’s needs right away. Gentle touches, soothing words, and lullabies can help them feel safe and secure.

If your baby has mild symptoms, try to stick to your normal schedule and response, and treat the illness before nap time, or in the middle of the night if he is waking up more than usual.

If your baby is having a hard time getting to sleep or staying asleep and needs more comfort, offer comfort by using your voice and touch in the crib to see if you can help get him back to sleep.

If your baby is still struggling to sleep with comfort in the crib, you might need to offer more comfort by holding and rocking him to get him more comfortable. Do this to help him get into a state of drowsiness and then see if you can lay him back down into the crib. You might need to offer this type of comfort until he is feeling better.

If you feel as if you need to be close to your child while they are not feeling well, I always recommend moving yourself into his space, versus bringing him into yours. Once he is feeling better, it will be much easier to get sleep back on track if he was able to stay in his own sleep space.

Trust Your Instincts:As a parent, you know your baby best. If you sense that something is not right or if your baby's symptoms are worsening, trust your instincts and seek medical attention immediately. It's always better to err on the side of caution when it comes to your baby's health and well-being.

Caring for a sick baby can be challenging, especially when it comes to ensuring they get the rest they need. By monitoring their symptoms, creating a comfortable sleep environment, offering comfort and reassurance, and trusting your instincts, you can help support your sick baby during sleep and promote their recovery.

About the author

Amanda Medley

Why didn’t we try this sooner?! As we speak he is sound asleep in his crib – and has been since 7:15 pm.

Karianne Wanggaard

Sleep Well Sleep Specialists

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Working with Shannon, I went from 2-3 wake ups every night to 1 or 0. She aligned the plan with my preferred sleep cycle. She was always coaching, never judging. Shannon was great, I have referred MANY people to her! That's the best testament to her work that I can give.

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