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Navigating your baby's sleep during an illness

Baby's sleep is going great. They are sleeping through the night, naps are on point & everyone is happy as can be. Things couldn't be any better!

Then, out of nowhere they are ill. The sudden doom & gloom of impending sleepless nights hits us like a ton of bricks! The anxiety of the unknowns surrounding our baby's sleep finds us frantic over the possibility that their sleep will be affected. We worry that all of the hard work we put into sleep training & establishing healthy sleep habits will be undone if we allow extra sleep, contact naps or allow sleep props that help comfort our babies.

The first thing I remind my clients when their baby gets sick is that "sleep is the best medicine!" When a child is sick, their body needs the extra rest. Sleep is a natural remedy during sickness. It allows the body to rest & restore by slowing down as it fights off infection. I also remind my clients that fighting off infection takes work. This in turn makes our littles extra sleepy. It is important to allow for extra sleep during sickness, as this will help the body's immune system to do its work & recover quicker.

Aside from "sleep is the best medicine," it is important to remember that our babies need extra comfort when they are sick. Sometimes this means holding them for sleep, rocking them to sleep or adjusting their schedules/routines out of the norm. This is OK! Implementing these modifications during your child's sickness will not impact your child's healthy sleep habits. In fact, I encourage all of my clients to provide extra tender loving care during illness. Extra snuggle time is good for all!

If you find your baby is sick & your struggling with sleep, modify their schedule according to their needs. If they need extra sleep, offer it. If they need to be held to remain comfortable, go with it. As long as these modifications are temporary, your child will quickly remember the process of what comes next in their schedule once they are feeling better. If these mechanisms are offered once sickness is over, thats when sleep may be affected.

Rest assured, all of your hard work will not go out the window. Once your child is feeling better, continue to implement those healthy sleep habits & consistent schedule. They will be back on track with their sleep in no time!

As always, consult your child's pediatrician for further guidance during illness.

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