When working with clients, one of the most frustrating hiccups can be the sudden onset of a minor illness. This is especially true, when we’re just beginning to see more consistent, consolidated sleep- in other words, they’re finally seeing progress.
This can be incredibly frustrating because after months, sometimes years, of sleep deprivation, my clients finally decided to take the leap of faith and “sleep train.” They put their trust in me, begin to understand their child’s sleep, and everyone is finally getting some well-deserved rest! I’m proud baby’s parent’s, the parents are really proud of baby, and together, we get ready to break out the champagne! Then, BAM! Baby gets a cold, and ear infection, a bout of diarrhea, or one of the many illnesses we see as parents. With that, parents begin to feel discouraged, frustrated, and defeated.
As the owner of Bollinger Sleep Consulting, this is hardly a surprise. Babies get sick and, frankly, they get sick often. I try to prepare my clients for this process by asking them to pick a window of time when they have no or very little travel plans, but you simply cannot predict illness. So, when it happens, it can really deflate everyone’s balloons. With that begin said, I always come prepared!
My hope is that you’ve been following my social media and blog posts, so you’ve already been allowing your beautiful child or children to practice independent sleep skills. If you haven’t please follow me on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/bollingersleepconsulting/
and Instagram https://www.instagram.com/bollingersleepconsulting/.
It’s important to know that you can push through this trying situation with your little one and, together, we can get you back on track with your little one’s sleep.
First off, resist the temptation to bring baby into your bed. If you’re really concerned and want to be in the same room as them, I suggest you bring an inflatable mattress or a camping pad into their room and sleep on the floor. Keeping your child in their own room, with familiar sleeping conditions, will be much less disruptive. In addition, they’ll sleep better because they’re already used to that space. Allowing your child into your room can create a bad habit very quickly. Also, surprisingly, many of my clients say their child no longer sleeps well outside of his or her room and what do you need when you’re sick- sleep!
Second, do NOT give in to the temptation to start offering any sleep props that you might have recently taken away. I know it’s tough, because, obviously, you want to offer them any kind of comfort you can while they’re feeling miserable. However, you really don’t want to reintroduce those things they were dependent on prior to teaching independent sleep skills. It can be really confusing and it is often more difficult to break that prop association the second time around.
Now, let me be real. I’m a mom of four. I know all too well that your baby needs and wants you when they’re not feeling well. I’m not saying that you can’t offer more night time comfort while they’re sick. I completely recommend it! You should absolutely go in and check on them more often, take care of any needs they might have, and give them a little extra cuddle or a rocking session in order to comfort them.
Just be vigilant and sure to put them back into bed before they fall back to sleep. Otherwise, you run the risk of developing that association where falling asleep requires a rocking session or a cuddle. I don’t want that for you or your baby.
You may notice a slight regression when the illness has passed, but not to worry. Your baby has learned some great sleep skills at this point and will probably only need a slight reminder of how things go before they’ll be back into their routine and begin sleeping soundly through the night again. Just get back to the program, reintroduce the old bedtime routine, and you’ll be seeing those same wonderful results in no time!
Need more information or want to chat? Don’t hesitate to text or call me, Holly Bollinger at (201) 874-8506.