Tips for Helping a Sick Little Tike Sleep
This time of year seems to bring out the sneezing, coughing, and stuffy noses in all of us, make us feel horrible. But what’s even worse, is for your little tike to be sick with the common cold, and you feel like there’s nothing you can do for her…heartbreaking!
So today I want to help by giving you some tips for handling sickness so that you don’t derail all your sleep progress. There’s a few things that you do need to keep in mind.
Your baby 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 nighttime wake-ups when we don’t feel well.
It’s realistic to expect that your sick child is going to have some night wake-ups. How you handle those wake-ups will make a big difference.
- One of the big mistakes parents make is that they start to intervene in their child’s sleep skills. Meaning they go in, they try to rock or they start to feed again. They try to lull baby to sleep in their arms or go back to all their old sleep props.
I understand why parents do that. You want to comfort your baby when she’s sick. I’m not saying don’t comfort her. You can absolutely should go into her room.
Have a short cuddle, wipe her nose, give her a drink of water, whatever you need to do to offer some comfort, but you don’t want to interfere with the sleep skills she’s already mastered.
You’re not going to rock her back to sleep. You’re not going to feed her to sleep. You’re not going to do any of the things that you’ve worked so hard to get rid of.
The only time you would ever go back to a nighttime feed, obviously, is 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 likelihood that the baby is going to now expect this and start waking up looking for feeds even once she is over her illness and feeling better.
- Another big mistake parents make is that they bring their baby into bed with them.
Again, I understand it. I had a son who had chronic ear infections for at least a year of his life.
I understand where that desire comes from. You want to comfort your sick child; however, it is much better for you to go to her than to bring her to you.
Throw down an air mattress. Spend a night or two in her room to keep an eye on her. 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 your little tike’s 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 The Sleep Sense Program.
You know that she can do this. It’s just a matter of proving to her that she needs to use her own skills once again.