Sleep Training Your Sick Baby: 10 Helpful Tips
Little Yawn Collective - Apr 28, 2022
You’ve read up on all the methods of sleep training and decided which would be best for you and your baby. You’ve prepared as much as possible and have started successfully sleep training your baby.
All is going well, but now your baby is not feeling well and is under the weather. One of the worst things is to see your baby not feeling well.
What’s a parent to do?
What Is Sleep Training?
As you may know by now, sleep training is training your baby to fall asleep on their own. We all experience sleep cycles, periods of lighter and deeper sleep throughout the night. Although we may not remember it, we wake up briefly at times.
This is normal. For many of us, we just get comfy and go back to sleep.
However, our babies don’t know how to self-soothe themselves back to sleep yet. They have either been rocked or fed until they have fallen asleep, and if they wake up, they will want to go through that same routine.
With babies going through multiple cycles of sleep per night, that is a lot of getting up and down. Sleep training can help you get back a full night’s sleep and help your baby get better rest.
Goals for Sleep Training
The ultimate goal for sleep training is for your baby to learn how to self soothe themselves back to sleep when they awake in the middle of the night. In the early days, your baby may have awoken as their little tummy was empty and needed refilling.
Now that they are older and can make it through the night without eating, it isn’t unreasonable for your child to sleep through the night.
Is Sleep Training Harder When Your Baby Is Sick?
The one thing we hate to see is our baby not feeling well. Their sad little faces show that they are not feeling their best, and your little buddy isn’t as chipper and energetic as they usually are.
If you are in the midst of sleep training while your baby comes down with an illness, your discretion is the best decision-maker when it comes to continuing sleep training or not. The two biggest considerations are the severity of your baby’s illness and how long you have been sleep training.
If your baby just has a case of sniffles, you can continue with sleep training just fine. However, if your baby is sick with a fever and just plain miserable, then it’s best to pause sleep training and be there for them in any way you can.
If your baby is crying because of how they feel, comfort and rock to your heart’s content. This is your time to be a parent and not worry about the rules and routines.
If your baby’s sleep training routine is only a few days old, hit pause and start over when your baby is feeling better. If you have been sleep training for more than a week, depending on the severity of your baby’s illness, comfort them in every way you can but still lay them down when they are drowsy but still awake. Give them the chance to fall asleep on their own.
10 Tips for Sleep Training a Sick Baby
Whether your baby is feeling 100% healthy or 100% lousy, we still want them to get all the sleep they need. Those little bodies have a lot of growing to do, and we want to support them as best as possible.
If you’ve determined that you can continue with sleep training, we have some tips on giving your baby a little extra TLC while they get back to feeling like themselves again.
1. Make Bedtime Extra Cozy
Help your child feel extra cozy and relaxed during bedtime. This can mean cuddling with you longer than usual and incorporating all their favorites in the evening, like their coziest pajamas and stuffed animals. When your child isn’t feeling well, a little extra coziness will go a long way in helping them feel relaxed and ready for bed.
2. Comfort With Chamomile and Calendula
Chamomile is known for its relaxing properties. If your little one isn’t feeling well, chamomile can help soothe your child as bedtime approaches.
When mixed with calendula, a wonderful skin conditioning agent, your little one can wind down for a more soothing bath and restful sleep.
A warm bath with Little Yawn Collective’s Soothing Shampoo & Body Wash with Calendula is gentle for your little one’s skin and contains chamomile to help create the perfect snoozy atmosphere.
3. Read a Familiar Bedtime Story
When you are not feeling well, familiarity is a soothing thing to have. No guesswork or wondering involved is one less thing to think about when you are trying to feel better. Your child, who thrives on routine, will also feel the same way when you read them a familiar bedtime story after a relaxing bath.
4. Give a Reward for Sleeping Through the Night
If you are full steam ahead on sleep training, give your child an incentive for sleeping and staying in their bed throughout the night. This can range from a special treat or toy the next day. This will help give your child the motivation to stay in bed.
This trick is helpful when your child is experiencing a mild cold, as we don't want our little one to feel pressured to stay in bed if they truly aren’t feeling well. Let your child know that although they may get a reward for staying in bed all night if they are not feeling well, you are always right there for them.
5. Ask Your Doc About Medicine
Calling your baby’s doc if your baby isn’t feeling well is a no-brainer. Your parental intuition will tell you if their sickness needs more than a little TLC and when back-up, in the form of medicine, needs to be called in.
Your baby’s doc will have all the info on if you can pick up over-the-counter meds or if they need to call something in to help your little one feel better.
6. Keep Yourself Healthy
If your baby is not feeling well, put yourself on high alert and be as proactive as possible in ensuring that you stay healthy and well. Keep yourself hydrated, wash your hands often, and take vitamins to give your immune system an extra boost.
7. Spray Linens and Pillows With Soothing Scents
As you go through the motions of your baby’s bedtime routine, spritz our Relaxing Pillow and Linen Spray around their bed. The sleepy scents of lavender and bergamot help foster a restful environment and are the perfect companion to their favorite and familiar bedtime story.
8. Try Calming Sleep Drops
If your baby is experiencing the occasional tummy upset, our Calming Probiotic & Organic Chamomile Sleep Drops are specially formulated to encourage restful zzzs. The probiotics help keep your child’s tummy happy, and chamomile is used for its properties of relaxation.
9. Keep Your Baby Hydrated
When the body is fighting illness, rest and hydration are two of the best tools that your body can use to get back to feeling better. Keep your baby hydrated by listening out if they start crying when they wake up in the middle of the night. They may be extra thirsty and need extra feeding.
10. You Need Sleep, Too!
You can’t take care of others if you can’t care for yourself!
You need to get the rest you need so you can take care of your baby the best you can, especially when they are not feeling well. If you can, sleep when your baby sleeps. Take turns with your partner, or enlist help from family and friends.
When your baby isn’t feeling well, you want to do everything to help them feel soothed and relaxed. Continue as many of their routines as possible while still tending to their needs.
No matter if you continue sleep training or not with your sick baby, just know that Little Yawn Collective understands that parenting can be hard. Our melatonin-free sleep solutions can help your little one get those needed zzzs to help them feel better.
Rest easy; we are here to help make bedtime a breeze.
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