It’s January – that means coughs, colds, and flus… and the end of your baby’s amazing sleep habits, right?! Not so! When our little ones are sick, this is when they need restful, healthy sleep the most.
Here are some recommendations for keeping your little one’s sleep on track during illness:
- For coughing and congestion, do whatever you can before putting your little one down to sleep to relieve this (e.g. saline spray, a nasal aspirator, etc.)
- If your doctor has recommended a medication like Tylenol or Advil, give this to your child just before bed, and again during the night (according to package instructions) if your little one is in pain or discomfort.
- Resist the temptation to put your child in your bed to sleep when he is sick. Restful sleep is super important when our little ones are under the weather, to help them fight the illness and restore their immune systems. The best place for your child to gain sound, healthy sleep, is in their own crib or bed.
- This doesn’t mean you can’t be near your little one during the night when she is ill! You absolutely you can be. Once she is asleep, sneak in and camp out in her room so you can monitor her throughout the night. Again, don’t disrupt her heathy sleep by putting her in your bed – sacrifice your own comfort for the night. Keep your distance and avoid introducing sleep props like holding her hand until she falls asleep, but do go in and stay in the room once she is asleep to monitor her if this provides you extra comfort.
- Whether or not you are camping out in your child’s room during illness, if your little one wakes, you can check his temperature, change his diaper (if necessary), and give him any medicine he may need that your doctor has recommended. Afterwards, give a quick hug and cuddle, his snuggly buddy, and then he goes right back to bed to get healthy sleep. Of course, if there is ever diarrhea or vomit, give a quick warm bath, fresh PJs and sheets, and then your little one goes back to bed with lots of hugs and kisses and a quick song as the last part of your mini routine.
The most important thing to remember is that when children are sick, this is when they need sleep the most. Keep things as consistent as possible while also ensuring your child is comforted and cared for, in order to avoid messing with the great, healthy sleep habits you already have in place!