There’s nothing more heartbreaking for a parent than to watch their little one in any type of discomfort. As parents, we want to nurture, protect, and heal our babies – especially when they are sick. And this flu season seems to have hit especially hard! If you have been sticking to a consistent sleep schedule with your child, which experts share is the best thing you can do for a baby or toddler, you might be wondering how rigidly you have to stick to the schedule when your little one is under the weather.
First, take a look at where you and your child are in the sleep training process. For example, if your child wakes with a fever in the middle of night 1, we encourage you to take care of your child and try again when baby is feeling 100%.
If baby has been on a consistent sleep schedule for some time, attend to your child as needed, but continue to focus on them falling asleep unassisted and allowing them to fall back to sleep, as possible.
When our babies are sick, they rely on us to help them feel better and recover, whether or not they are sleep trained. If the pediatrician recommends fever-reducing medicine, do not let your fear of waking up your child prevent you from giving him or her the medication in the middle of the night. In most cases, if baby does wake slightly, he or she will fall back to sleep quickly and easily.
While we certainly recommend extra cuddles and snuggles, illness generally does not mean baby suddenly needs you to rock him/her to sleep or that falling asleep unassisted is a skill a child loses when they become ill. Love them and care for them and do your best to ensure they do not lose the sleep training progress you have made.
If you are worried about baby’s breathing at night, go to baby’s room (and not vice versa). Sleep on an air mattress or that comfy nursing chair, and sneak in after baby has fall asleep on his/her own. By sharing their room with them, instead of bringing them in your room to share your bed, you are maintaining healthy sleep habits and are close by in case your child needs you.
When baby is feeling 100%, you can return to sleep training or more strictly adhering to your schedule, whatever the case may be. Your pediatrician can confirm that your child is back to good health.