Sleep Tips When Your Little One is Sick

COMMON QUESTION:  “Jen, as a sleep training expert, what advice or recommendations can you offer new parents and parents of young children on how to get a sick baby to sleep to help them get through cold and flu season?”

When your little one is not feeling well it creates a dilemma about what to do with sleep expectations and sleep training. Here are my top tips on how to get a sick toddler to sleep in order to put your mind at ease.

1. If your little one has a fever and you are in the middle of sleep training, it is OK to pause your sleep training efforts. Once your child is feeling better, jump right back in—don’t delay and you will be amazed by how quickly you will get back to where you left off.

2. If your little one is able to go to sleep without your assistance at bedtime but is waking up at night due to a cold, it is OK to help your child go back to sleep. By getting your little one back to sleep as soon as possible with comforting (holding, rocking, patting, shushing), you help ensure your child gets much-needed hours of rest. The key is to keep the skills at bedtime in place, and once your little one is feeling better because they are not sleep deprived, he or she will start sleeping through the night again.

3. Babies need more rest when they are sick, but you might be wondering if too much day sleep will affect the night sleep. For babies ages 6 months or older, you typically don’t want their morning nap to be longer than 1 ½ hours. However, if they aren’t feeling well and there are one or two days when their morning nap is 2 hours long, that can help them get the extra rest they need to feel better.


Are you looking for more support on how to improve your baby’s sleep when your little one is sick?  Twice a month Sleep Talking Tuesdays: FREE Q & A Sleep Support.  On the Sugar Night Night calendar, you can find information when this Q & A will be offered next or you can request a 30-Minute phone consultation with Jen Varela.