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When Baby Gets Sick

Sick kids are THE WORST!! It doesn’t matter if your child is a “good sleeper” or not, a sick kiddo is, well, sick and will have rough, tough nights.

Children get sick, and sometimes frequently - ESPECIALLY if your little one is in daycare or school like mine are (does it feel like they are sick every week or is it just me?). When it comes to starting sleep training, I always telling my clients to plan on starting the program when you have a couple of weeks that they can really devote to the training, but you can’t schedule around an illness. So when it happens, it can really take the wind out of everyone’s sails.

Lucky for you, however, I have carefully outlined some tips for you to navigate this as best as possible and to keep you (or get you back) on track. Hopefully this can help you push through an undoubtedly a trying situation and get you motivated to get back on track.

How to keep your sick kiddo on track

  1. Keep your kiddo in their own crib/bed. Resist the temptation to bring baby into your bed. Your baby wants to stay in their own comfortable and familiar space. So, keep them in their own room and bed - If you’re really concerned and want to be in the same room as them through the night, I suggest YOU GO to them! Get a camping/air mattress or a bunch of pillows and prepare to sleep on the floor (side note: I do NOT recommend that you have a full time bed in your child’s room, that sets the expectation that you will stay in their room whenever they want you to do so– don’t set that expectation!!). Keeping them in their own room with familiar sleeping conditions will be much less disruptive for them than moving them into your room and you don’t run the risk of them getting used to sleeping in your bed.

2 - Don't fall back to old habits. Don't give in to the temptation to start offering any sleep props that you might have recently taken away. You can offer water, but don’t offer a feed if your child has been weaned over night. I know it’s tough, because obviously you want to offer them all the comfort you can while they’re feeling miserable, but you really don’t want to reintroduce those things they were dependent on prior to starting sleep training. It can be really confusing for your child and is often even more difficult to break the association the second time around.

3. Check on them more often/shorten your wait time. You should definitely go in and check on your kiddo more often, take care of any needs they might have, and even give them a little cuddle or a rocking session in order to comfort them.

Just be vigilant and be sure to put them back into bed before they fall back to sleep. Otherwise you run the risk of them developing those associations where falling asleep requires a rocking session or a cuddle, and then you’re back to square one.

How can I be prepared to soothe them?

You should take care of any needs they might have, and even give them a little cuddle or a rocking session in order to comfort and reassure them. Being sick is so vulnerable and our kids need us when they are sick! I will never tell a parent not to go to your child if they are sick - tend to them as you see fit! Acute illnesses are temporary and a few nights of extra TLC will not unravel any of the hard work you have done.

I do suggest having a sick kit ready to go just in case you ever need it!

Things to include are:

  • Medicine, specifically Tylenol and even honey (for babies 12mo+)! ALWAYS consult with your child’s doctor for ANY medicine given to your child.

  • A syringe to administer meds (I like this even for the big kids!!)

  • A water bottle next to the child’s bed

  • A humidifier

  • Some towels (and a bucket for older kids) for the floor (never put these in the bed with young children!!)

  • Multiple clean sheets and PJs easily accessible (if applicable) for quick changes

  • A trash bag (and maybe gloves) available to put soiled items into (that will likely go straight to the washer)

  • Wipes/Lysol and paper towels at the ready

If your child vomits or has diarrhea, you’ll want to change them and clean them up as quickly and gently as possible. And, of courses, give extra cuddles and reassurance. I have heard of some people even layering the mattress with a sheet, water proof pad, another sheet, another pad, and a final sheet so that if the sheet gets soiled you just remove the top two layers.


In most cases, child illnesses are relatively mild and take a few days to run their course. You may notice a slight regression when the illness has passed, but not to worry. Your child has learned some great sleep skills due to having already been sleep training at this point and will probably only need a slight reminder of your sleep expectations before they’re back into their routine and sleeping soundly and well again. When they are all better, just get back to the program, reintroduce the old bedtime routine, and you’ll be seeing those same wonderful results in no time.

What are your go to soothing remedies when your kids are sick? Drop your suggestions in the comments!


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