At my previous GP practice nurse job I had 8 conversations (long ones) in one day about baby sleep problems. Big baby sleep problems.
Some of these bubba’s had been sick and or teething and had regressed with their sleep. Some babies had been sleep trained and had somehow found their way into the parent’s bed. Some babies had been held to sleep. Some babies had been fed to sleep.
All these parents were desperate for a fix. They were exhausted and running out of ideas.
In the winter months so many babies and children get sick, colds, asthma, croup, diarrhoea and vomiting. The list goes on…
So what do you do about the sleep?
It’s one of the most popular questions parents ask me.
Parents worry most when they’ve been through sleep training and it’s been tough. They worry it will be at least as hard again or that it may be harder. I can understand. You wouldn’t want to have that again times two, would you?
It’s really important when they’re sick to try and use strategies that do the least harm for getting back on track with the sleep.
But sometimes you do what you have to do and then get back on track.
Give Panadol or Nurofen to manage fevers and pain from teeth. If they’re in pain they won’t sleep no matter what you do. How do you know if its pain? The cry is a distinct one. It may be high pitched and they wake suddenly often with a scream. And yes some babies do have bad teething experiences (Miss Ruby for one).
Try not to give a night feed after 6 months. Anything you do at night can and will reward behaviours and make them more likely to wake and ask for that thing. You can try to give water if you’re desperate.
If you need to cuddle them to sleep, do. When you’re in pain and sick a nice cuddle from mummy or daddy will help.
If illness persists for more than a few days or if their temp is 38-39°C (100.4-102.2°F) and they’re not responding to Panadol (paracetamol), Tylenol (acetaminophen), or Nurofen (ibuprofen), or you’re worried, then get them checked with your local GP or doctor.
So there’s a few options.
The option NEVER to do, as it causes the most problems is putting baby or toddler into your bed! Next to that is feeding.
I’ve had several recently and trying to get them back into the cot or crib is really really hard. And why would you if you were them?! Miss Nina I’m thinking of you!
But say you have done any of the feeding, holding to sleep etc and they’re protesting about the cot or crib then remember what you did to teach them about self settling in the first place and go back to it.
It is OK to go back to what you did before. Remember persistence and consistency pay off. You’re reminding them what to do. And remember it worked before so it will work again.
And if you still can’t sort sleep out after illness or teething you may want to access support to get your baby back on track.
Some further reading below
You can also access help via my online Nurture Sleep Program. It will stop the guesswork and give you:
✅ A tried and tested approach (20 years of helping families with baby & toddler sleep)
✅ Gentle baby sleep methods
✅ Holistic assessment
✅ Nurture & Nourish nutrition program – all recipes have sleep-inducing ingredients and a perfect balance for a good nights sleep
✅ Access to a closed Facebook group for one on one support from Karen and 90+ timecoded Facebook Live videos
✅ Prevention for under 4 months so no need to do sleep training ever
✅ And all at a low $97 for a very limited time
Can you tell Karen is getting rather excited for all you parents who need a good nights sleep and one that happens EVERY SINGLE NIGHT and not just in a blue moon 🌑 .
CLICK on the link below to find out how my new online program can help you and your baby