As a parent it can be so hard when our little ones are poorly. All we want is to make them feel better, take away their pain and distress and to help them. And, let’s be honest, maybe get a little sleep too. Because often when babies are poorly, they either wake up lots (therefore they wake us lots too) or they sleep lots (also resulting in us waking lots as we fret over how much they’re sleeping) so their sleep cycles can become almost unrecognisable. During illness is also a time where bad sleep habits can be formed too, so its an issue many parents come to me to discuss. Here’s a really quick guide to poorly babies and sleep- hope it helps to set your mind at ease!
Sleep is affected in one (or maybe both) of two ways, as already mentioned above. Either your baby will wake lots and find it hard to sleep, or she will sleep way more than she usually does. Both are completely normal reactions to illness
If your baby sleeps more than usual, this is down to the fact that when we fight illness and infections our bodies use a lot of energy, and this results in fatigue. Its completely normal, and all that you need to do is to go with the flow. Your baby is going to need a lot more rest than older kids and adults anyway, so when she’s poorly it’s going to feel as though she’s sleeping TOO much, but she really isn’t. That said, always makes sure you call for medical advice if you’re at all worried, or you feel that your baby is too sleepy for too long. Remember that you know your baby best, so if you’re concerned, always seek advice.
On the other end of the scale, your baby might have very disturbed sleep during illness, which again is also completely normal. Sometimes babies that sleep more than normal still wake up frequently, so it can seem as though they’re sleeping less than usual, but they might not be in reality. The same applies to naps- your baby might take more shorter naps than usual, which can be hard work too.
If you’re sleep training…
If your little one becomes poorly during your gentle sleep training program, its entirely up to you how you want to approach it. Most illnesses last around a week or less, and can have little affect on sleep training. But sometimes parents prefer to put a halt to proceedings until their baby is back in full health. This is fine! Remember that you are in charge here. It might be that getting your baby back on track health wise is way more important than getting on track with sleep. And if your baby needs you, I would always recommend you respond to that.
It’s all about judgement. If you think that your baby is fine to continue, then by all means do so. The Michi Method is so gentle that it allows for parents to go at their own pace anyway.
After an illness, your baby’s sleep patterns may be a little all over the place. Don’t panic. Take your time to ease back into it, and stay consistent with your gentle sleep training methods. Remember that it might take some time to recover the good habits again, but its not impossible. Ensure that your routine is as tight as possible and you will be back to normal in no time. Good luck!