Cold and Flu Season is upon us! How does illness affect sleep and what should you do??
Did you know it's normal for kids to get between 8-10 colds per year in the first two years of life? Yep, that's right! It may seem like your Wee One has a cold ALL THE TIME, but this is a normal part of developing immunity and it doesn’t have to wreak havoc on your Wee One’s sleep if you have healthy sleep foundations in place.
How do colds and illnesses affect sleep?
First off, your Wee One will need more sleep than usual to recover! Fighting off infection is hard work! Don’t be surprised if your baby takes longer naps or is ready for bed early!
Although, your Wee One will be sleeping more, sleep may also be disrupted and your baby may wake more often overnight, but no need to fret! They need your love and cuddles to get better. It’s okay to rock, feed, and cuddle your baby when they are sick as they need you to nurse them back to health. This is short term!!
If you are sleep training and your baby gets sick, it's time to evaluate if you should pause. Truly, use your best judgment. If your baby has a stomach bug and has vomiting and diarrhea, definitely pause! If it’s a little sniffle, then you can probably continue your training.
If your baby is congested you can use saline drops to the nose to ease congestion. Limit nasal suctioning to 3-4 times/day max, if used more often it can make congestion worse! You can also use a cool-mist humidifier by the crib. Monitor how much your Wee One is drinking and the number of wet diapers. If your baby has poor intake during the day, it's ok to offer a night feeding even if it's been months! Talk with your PCP about medications like Tylenol or Motrin for discomfort. Cuddle and comfort your baby if they wake up and cry in the middle of the night. Wash your hands!!
Common colds usually last 1-2 weeks. If your Wee One is a good sleeper to begin with they will get back on track shortly after the illness passes, if you're still having sleep issues after the illness, help is available.
Katy Bourzikas is the founder of Well Rested Wee Ones. She is a pediatric nurse practitioner, certified baby and toddler sleep coach, and certified breastfeeding counselor. She has over 15 years of experience working in the field of pediatrics. She is married and a mom to two boys. Her mission is to ensure families “Feed Well, Sleep Well, and Feel Well.” She lives in the Kansas City area.