Sickness is a common cause for sleep problems
When I consult an older child with poor sleep, their parents commonly remark that their once ‘excellent sleeper’ has struggled to sleep ever since an episode of sickness, which threw everything off kilter. It’s incredibly common.
Beyond the stress of having a child who is sick (however mild it may turn out to be), your hard-earned sleep routine suddenly evaporates as they require closer attention and TLC.
Never Sleep Train a Sick Baby
The routines in our program have a strong caveat present throughout — everything goes out the window if your child is sick: never sleep train or attempt to re-settle a sick baby.
Remember – if your baby was capable of an excellent day/night routine prior to falling sick, they are equally capable of returning to it, once they fully recover.
Simple steps to return to normal sleep after sickness
- Allow your child to rest and recover. This means reduced activities, stimulation and play. Sleep boosts recovery so allow longer day naps if they are happening. Always ensure your baby is not sleeping due to lethargy and severe illness – if in doubt, consult your doctor immediately. Assisted naps are absolutely allowed if your child is unwell.
- Try to maintain a similar routine with familiar steps, like bath time or reading stories. If routines or patterns break due to sickness, try to minimise the change where possible. An example is moving your mattress into a toddler’s room when they’re unwell, as opposed to bringing the toddler into yours.
- For big babies and older children, focus on hydration and don’t stress if their solids intake drops momentarily. Increasing breastfeeds, adding water or rehydration solutions/icy-poles are sometimes required to maintain fluid intake and good number of wet nappies.
- Once your baby has fully recovered, rapidly return to normal and expect them to adjust back to their previous routine within 2-3 days. If you initially used elongated sleep training methods, you will not have to start from square one; you can quickly return to the previous normal.
Learn more about the Dr Golly Philosophy here.
Shop the Dr Golly Sleep Program age appropriate routines here.