Sleep Training When Baby Is Sick

How to sleep train when your baby is sick!

Having a sick baby is the absolute worst! Unfortunately, during the first few years of their life (regardless of cold and flu season, those bugs can hit whenever!), your little one is bound to get hit with a few different germy bugs here and there. As horrible as it is, it is their body’s way of developing and building immunity. Sleep can be a huge factor in your little one recovering and fighting different bugs. If your baby or toddler gets hit with a cold or sickness during sleep training, it can feel like it has totally derailed all of the progress you’ve made, trust me, I’ve been there!! But don’t worry, there are so many things you can do to get right back on track and help your little one get past the bug they’re fighting!

Sleep Training When Baby Is Sick

If your little one gets sick while sleep training, don’t worry, not all is lost! The best thing you can do for your baby is meet them where they are at and cater to them as best as you can. Having a sick baby is so incredibly hard on its own, adding in sleep training on top of that can be so stressful for them and you. When your child is sick, it is not the time to focus on teaching independent sleep skills. If you had start sleep training right before your child got sick, it’s best to pause training and pick back up when they are healthy. Although that can be frustrating, I promise sleep training will be more effective and easier once they are healthy!  

Do Babies Sleep More When Sick

When babies are sick with a high fever, runny nose or any other sickness that may come up between cold and flu season, your baby may have trouble sleeping on their own. Sleep is crucial to your baby getting better so make sure you help your baby sleep when sick. Even though you may think you’re creating bad sleep habits, it doesn’t. Your baby needs to sleep when they are sick and they will likely need your help to do so.

One of the best sleeping positions for your baby when they are sick is to sleep on an incline, this helps with their breathing and congestion. While I don’t normally recommend letting your baby sleep on an incline, it can be very beneficial to hold them on an incline or put a small pillow under their crib mattress while they sleep. This helps your child’s sleep by allowing the congestion to drain in their nasal passages and help with breathing. Running a cool mist humidifier and bringing your baby into a steamy bathroom can help break up the congestion as well!

Should You Let Sick Child Sleep All Day

Your baby will probably be very sleepy when they’re sick, allowing them to sleep longer than usual to help recover. I do recommend waking your baby for feedings, staying hydrated is so important to recovery. When you wake your baby to eat, also offer any medicine if they are taking any. I would not worry about your baby’s sleep schedule when they are sick, they will be more tired than usual and you want to encourage them to sleep – it is the best medicine! 

Once your baby is feeling better and you have verified with your pediatrician that they are healthy, you can either start or restart sleep training. If your child was a great, independent sleeper before they were sick, expect a few days and nights of retraining for them to adjust back to their normal sleep schedule and patterns. If you want to work on sleep training, you can start as soon as your child is healthy!

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