• Martha Lewis

Sickness and Sleep: What do you do?

There's nothing worse than a sick baby or kiddo! They're miserable and it's hard to see them that way. But it's easy for good sleep habits to derail in even the best little sleepers when they're sick!

So how do you comfort your little one when she's sick and keep her good sleep intact?

Usually I recommend waiting at least a few minutes before responding to your child in the middle of the night. It's super common for kids to cry out briefly when they transition from one sleep cycle to the next. If you rush in there, you're going to wake her up completely even though she might have gone right back to sleep.

But when you know your kid is sick, it's ok to respond immediately if you hear her in the middle of the night. You can go in, treat her sickness, comfort her and then leave her to fall back asleep on her own. 

If you start feeding her, or rocking her to sleep, or bringing her in bed with you, she may start expecting that to happen every night. So try to avoid introducing a habit that may be hard to break.

If she's really sick and you're worried, it's best for you to move closer to her. So instead of bringing her into your room or bed, you can move into her room for a night or two to make sure she's ok. Once she's better, it's east to go back to sleeping in your room.

One time when Parker was sick...

I remember when Parker was 5 months old and he got sick with a cold for the first time. We sleep trained him at 3 months so I was still concerned about messing with his sleep skills. But when he got sick, I told myself it was ok to comfort him and even rock him to sleep. Poor guy!

Well, he cried every time I sat down in the rocking chair. So I had to stand and rock and bounce. 30 minutes later he still wasn't asleep. So I asked my husband to take a turn. 30 minutes later Parker still wasn't asleep. So we gave up and put him in the crib. And he went right to sleep. 

Lesson learned! He didn't want our help to go to sleep. Even though he was sick. He knew how and he wanted to go to sleep on his own.

If your child's sleep has gone out the window because of sickness and you don't know what to do, feel free to get in touch. I'm happy to talk about some solutions! 

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Martha Lewis, MS

Jackson Hole, WY



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