Colds and coughs can cause so much discomfort for your baby, but it’s the sleep deprivation that’s the hardest. Here are some sick baby sleep hacks to help your baby rest and heal.
Even though you were extra careful, your baby suddenly caught a cold. Now, she’s waking up earlier, takes shorter naps, and feels crankier than ever.
Nursing doesn’t seem to help. You called your doctor, but they told you that she’s too young for any kind of medication.
Sleep is the best medicine for your child, but as she’s hardly getting any shut-eye, the illness wears on longer than it should.
What are you to do about your child’s sleep deprivation?
Here are 6 sick baby sleep hacks to try:
Sick baby sleep hack #1: Soothe your little one, even if you’re sleep training.
When children are sick, there’s nothing more they need than comfort from their caretaker. Even though you’re sleep training, it’s okay to rock, sing, or soothe your sick baby back to sleep.
If you’re concerned about the progress you made with independent sleep, you can try comforting your child, but do it until she gets drowsy but not fully asleep. Give her the comfort she carves, but lie her down awake.
By doing so, you’re not undoing your sleep training efforts, and at the same time, you’re giving ger that extra care she craves when she’s feeling cranky and uncomfortable.
Once you see that your child is feeling much better, get back on your old sleep schedule. If it’s been only a few days, she won’t find it too hard to transition back to her old routine. It may take a day or two for her to adjust but just give her time.
Sick baby sleep hack #2: A warm bath can soothe achy muscles.
A warm bath can soothe achy muscles, and the steam from the warm water can help clear congestion. On the plus side, it can also relax and calm your little one, and prepare her for a good night’s sleep.
What do you need?
First, make sure the room is warm. Get a tub, a towel, and a fresh nappy. You can also use a baby wash with naturally calming, organic lavender to soothe your baby before bed.
You can also use a mint or eucalyptus baby bath to help your child with head or chest congestion.
Sick baby sleep hack #3: A gentle massage for a calming effect.
Baby massages have a number of benefits. They can allow your baby to feel more relaxed, which may improve sleep. On the plus side, your calming touch will make your baby feel nurtured and loved.
If your little one has body aches from the cold, a gentle full body massage can help relieve the pain and get her ready to sleep a little more deeply.
First, find a warm and quiet place. Put your baby on her back and start by gently rubbing her little body. Rub each part of her body, starting with her head and moving down to her feet.
You can try and make the massage an even more relaxing experience by telling her a story, or singing her favorite nursery rhyme.
To help eliminate skin friction, you can massage your child using baby oil. Make sure to buy a baby oil that’s odorless and edible as it may get in her mouth.
Sick baby sleep hack #4: Extra feedings may be necessary to maintain hydration.
It’s a common thing for babies to refuse to eat when they’re feeling sick. Colds, strep throat, and even ear infections can decrease your baby’s appetite. But, beware: a hungry baby means a cranky baby.
You want to ensure your baby stays well fed even if she refuses to eat. Try giving her breast milk or formula more than usual to prevent dehydration and provide comfort. Smaller but more frequent feedings will do the trick.
Children older than six months can also drink cool water, in addition to or as a replacement for milk.
Sick baby sleep hack #5: Sometimes, nose drops will do the trick.
Many pediatricians recommend giving saline drops to babies when they are congested. These saline drops are often recommended because they don’t contain any medication but are effective at relieving congestion caused by colds and respiratory infections.
Before giving saline drops to your little one, talk with your doctor and ask which products he/she recommends. Them, put two drops in each nostril before feeding and bedtime, or when you notice that your baby seems particularly congested.
Sick baby sleep hack #6: Offer one more nap during the day.
Not sleeping well opens a vicious circle of sleep deprivation. When your baby doesn’t get the sleep she needs during the night, she will feel crankier during the day and refuse to go to sleep at night.
To prevent the vicious circle of sleep deprivation from happening, offer another nap during the day than you normally would. However, make sure this extra nap is not too close to bedtime.
Or, instead of introducing an extra nap, you can try allowing her usual naps to be a bit longer than normal.
Keep in mind that naps shouldn’t be longer than 2.5-3 hours, or else your child will have a hard time going to sleep when bedtime comes.
The good news is that most colds last for around 48-72 hours. You can expect your little one to get better by the third or fourth day.
If the cold lasts longer than that, consider visiting your pediatrician.
During the days when your baby is feeling under the weather, let her take longer naps and comfort her until she’s feeling better.
Once the illness has passed, resume your usual sleep schedule and start sleeping soundly through the night again.