Managing sleep through sickness and teething
We’ve all been there. Your amazing little sleeper gets sick or starts teething and overnight you go from a baby that is sleeping through to one that, well, isn’t. Before you know it, the constant rocking, shushing, patting and feeding that you were lovingly offering to calm your unsettled baby has become the norm. Even after the initial sickness or teething pain has passed, she is now expecting it! Night after night.
This was exactly our scenario. A couple of weeks ago, we hit our first bout of teething and our formerly settled baby needed us, day and night, to comfort her through it. It all seemed harmless - after all, we do whatever we can to comfort our helpless babes in their time of need, but now she is looking for us with constant wake ups.
I’ll be honest, I have no idea what I should have done while she was sick or what I should be doing now, so I’ve called in the sleep expert Lauren Diaz from Sleep and Nurture to help us out. Here’s her tips on how to approach nights and sleep during times of sickness or teething and how to make sure you don’t create lasting habits. Also, please take advantage of Lauren’s generous follower offer, which you can find at the end of this post.
Over to you, Lauren:
We really all have been there - including me. If my time as a mum to my two boys has given me anything it’s an intimate understanding of that sense of overwhelm that can easily engulf us during those sleepless nights that seem to go forever. But here’s the thing, nothing lasts forever, including poor sleep habits. In fact, I don’t talk about bad habits at all. I’m a big believer in moving on from some of that unhelpful, negative language that can stalk us through our parenting journey. A family who is doing their very best for their precious baby really isn’t creating bad habits, but simply doing what works, while it works.
When your child experiences a setback in their sleep routine, due to sickness, teething or developmental milestones, your first thought is of course to your little one’s comfort. I believe that quick and respectful comfort to a child who is unwell can really aid in navigating this time without creating any lasting negative sleep associations. While your child is sick or teething, you may need to pull back from your normal approach to their sleep. I would still always give your child the opportunity to fall asleep according to their normal method, so a child who is already able to, may still want to fall asleep independently but may need you to give them some additional support. It’s also important to remember not to overstimulate your child with too much light or conversation while you're comforting them through a wakeful period.
At times teething can get the blame for every disrupted night when it’s often more likely be a sleep association that is preventing them from getting sound sleep. Given that our little ones can teeth for what feels like a constant two years, establishing a clear set settling method is a must. It will then be your instruction manual, if you will, to navigate those troublesome periods. That settling method can be applied to whatever sleep arrangement works best for you and your family. By maintaining consistency in your approach to your little one’s sleep, you will be better equipped to tackle those long wakeful nights and move swiftly on from them. It’s never too late to implement a new approach to your child’s sleep, I have successfully worked with children of all ages.
So, some key points to remember when your child is experiencing a sleep disruption:
- Respond quickly to comfort a child who is unwell
- Maintain some level of consistency in your settling method and avoid creating new sleep habits or reverting to old ones.
- Avoid overstimulation when providing comfort, including excess light or conversation
- Aim to get back to your normal routine as soon as your child is ready
- Consult your GP for medical advice where needed
If you’d like to chat with me further about how I can help your family find a better sleep rhythm, you can find me
OR take advantage of my exclusive offer to ONE.CHEW.THREE followers for a half price Skype sleep consultation for the month of July.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and mention this blog post to claim this offer.