There are few things worse in the parenting world than having a little one who is sick. As a parent, there is a sinking feeling of helplessness when you're cradling your ill infant and you have no idea how to make them feel better. Normally, you would tell an adult to just drink plenty of fluids and rest up, but you can't really do that with a small child. And if you are trying to get your little one to rest, there are some things you should never do to get a sick baby to sleep, no matter how exhausted either one of you may be.
Even though you might think that going to bed would be a no-brainer for your kiddo, it seems — in my experience, at least — that they fight the urge to just let go and fall asleep. Perhaps it's because they can't get comfortable and aren't quite able to communicate their needs just yet, but sleep is often an unattainable goal for baby and parent alike. Of course, if something just doesn't feel right, don't hesitate to contact your child's pediatrician to rule out anything serious. However, if it's just a bug that will pass, then you might want to check out these things you shouldn't do to get your sick baby to go to sleep.
1Force A Routine
Plenty of parents know that getting your child to adapt to a regular bedtime routine is easier said than done. But, as The Baby Sleep Site warned, if your baby is sick, don't stay with a strict sleep schedule. Not allowing for a bit of flexibility in your little one's sleeping pattern will only further frustrate both of you.
2Up Their Dosage
Even if your doctor has advised you to give your sick child medicine, you should never stray from the dosage directions. As physician Dr. Nancy Snyderman told the website for The Today Show, giving your baby medicine to fall asleep is dangerous and can result in, "an overdose or adverse reaction." Again, if you're truly concerned something is wrong with their bedtime habits, consult your doctor instead.
In the past, people suggested I avoid coddling my son when he was under the weather. But sleep specialist Dr. Michael Breus told Parents that it's best to comfort a sick baby as often as they need it. If the frequent snuggles are tiring you out, rest assured that it won't last forever.
4Ignore Their Temperature
You might think that cranking the air conditioner when your baby has a fever will help them sleep, but that's not necessarily the case. According to the official site for Stanford Children's Health (SCH), "babies are not as adaptable as adults to temperature change." So what does this mean when it comes to sleep and sickness? "According to the SCH, "if skin temperatures drop just one degree from 97.7° degrees, a baby's oxygen use can increase by 10 percent." Overworking your baby's system while they're already ill will only make things worse.
5Disregard Sleep Spaces
I'll be the first to admit that I've accidentally dozed off while holding my son. Every parent has probably done something similar, but it shouldn't become commonplace. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) increases when infants sleep on soft surfaces or with loose items. The sofa and extra stuffed animals may seem comfy, but they're actually quite dangerous.
6Tire Them Out
If your child is healthy, having them burn off extra energy by playing outside isn't a bad idea. However, as What To Expect noted, you should adjust the pace of your sick baby's activities so you don't exacerbate their already weakened system. It's tempting to try and tire them out, but you should never force an ill child to overexert themselves.