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  • Writer's pictureKat

Expert Pediatric Sleep Consultant: Navigating Illness and Sleep for Children

Welcome to our sleep blog! Today, we are addressing a common concern: managing sleep disruptions in children during illness. As a pediatric sleep consultant, I understand the added challenges that come with caring for little ones who aren't feeling their best. When they are sick, they need us much more, they might be clumsier and just don’t want us to leave their side and that’s absolutely normal.

When illness strikes, a child's sleep routine can go downwards. Discomfort from symptoms like fever or pain can make it difficult for babies and toddlers to settle down for sleep. And disruptions to feeding schedules or increased wakings in the middle of the night doesn’t help either, leaving both child and parent exhausted.

When children are sleep trained you can very easily differentiate between when your child really needs you during the night as they will call out for you and act differently and when they just woke up because of any reason and they will just lie in their bed and talk to themselves happily until they fall back asleep. You will be able to react immediately as you know something is up and not normal.


Tips for Managing Sleep During Illness:

1. Comfort is Key: During illness, prioritize your child's comfort to help them feel secure and supported. Offer plenty of cuddles, soothing words, and gentle reassurance to help them feel safe and loved.


2. Maintain Consistency: Whilst it may be tempting to abandon your usual sleep routines during illness, consistency is key to helping your child feel secure and understand what to expect. Stick to familiar bedtime rituals and routines as much as possible, even if it means making adjustments to accommodate their needs. For example, instead of taking your child into your bed you can lay down next to their bed on the floor or a small mattress to stay next to them. It won’t be the most comfortable for you, but this way you ensure to not start a new habit.


3. Stay Flexible: Recognize that your child's sleep patterns may be disrupted during illness, and be prepared to adapt naps and bedtime as needed. This might also mean more night wakings, allowing for more naps if needed and adjusting your expectations for sleep duration and quality.


4. Focus on Recovery: Remember that sleep is essential for your child's recovery process and the best medicine. While it's important to encourage rest, try not to stress too much about temporary disruptions to their sleep schedule. Focus on providing the love, comfort, and support they need to get better.


Caring for a sick baby or toddler can be exhausting and stressful. Prioritize comfort and maintain consistency to ensure both you and your child get the rest you need to get better. Once your child is feeling better go back to your old routine as fast as possible, it might take a few days to get into it again but stay consistent and everything will be back to normal soon.

If you are having issues with your little one’s sleep, have a look at our sleep plans for one-on-one support.

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