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Comforting a Sick Toddler/Baby While Maintaining the Schedule. When your baby or toddler is sick, you can comfort and offer relief and still preserve the schedule you have worked to develop.
Your baby will get sick. She will get colds, she might get ear infections, she will get fevers–we all get sick. Many moms aren’t sure how to deal with their Babywise schedule when their baby is sick. Here are my thoughts.
First, let me say that both of my kids don’t really get disrupted when they are sick. There is the occasional nap they wake early from or take a long time to fall asleep. There is also the occasional night where they wake up a lot, but never cry for me (except this summer when Brayden (now 2.5) got some sort of stomach virus and puked in the night). The schedule is very helpful when your child is sick because when you are sick, rest is best. Maintaining that sleep and rest helps baby so much.
How to Comfort a Sick Child and Preserve the Schedule
When my kids are sick, I still try to stick to the schedule as much as possible. Most illnesses don’t really interfere with it. They still want to play. Kids don’t seem to be derailed by illnesses like us adults wish we could be–we still have to do our work and care for our families. We just wish we could call it a day and stay in bed. Kids want to play and don’t really care about rest and sleep. Kids need to sleep, however, especially when they are sick.
If the child was in extreme pain and wouldn’t sleep on their own or wanted to be held, I would do it. I would comfort baby/toddler in almost any way necessary. When we are sick, we want our moms. Even when I was a teenager, I would call to my mom in the night if I was sick. A lot of kids will bounce back to normal after the sickness is over. Others will take some re-training for a few days. But let’s comfort our kids.
When Brayden was about 2, he started having bad dreams on occasion. When he would wake up crying, I would go in his room and hug him and rub his back and cuddle with him until he was calm and in some cases until he was asleep. I think in special cases like fear, sickness, or pain, it is perfectly fine to comfort the child. If they are well trained and capable of sleeping on their own, it should at most take a couple of days after all is said and done to get back on track. Brayden is old enough now that there is no work to get back on track.
Don’t get discouraged if baby is sick and needing/wanting comfort from you. It is a part of life. You can get back to normal after the sickness passes. You comforting your baby will not mean your baby will stop sleeping well in the future.
In your comforting endeavors, I would watch one thing. I would NEVER take baby to my bed. Start as you mean to go on (read more about the start as you mean to go on concept here). I just don’t even want to start that. I had a friend do that when her baby was a year old because she wanted to sleep. She then had two weeks of her daughter getting up every couple of hours and wanting to get in bed with her. She laughed about it and said she didn’t even get a good nights sleep that night because she was getting kicked by her baby and she was worried about rolling onto her baby. She said she got one night of semi-sleep and sacrificed 14.
So comfort, but be wise in your decisions. I would stay in baby’s room, rock, cuddle, sing, etc. A sick baby often needs mom/dad, and that is okay. Once baby is over the sickness, you might need a few days or even a week to get back on track, but you can get there.
More Sickness Posts on this Blog:
- Dealing With Disruptions To Your Routine
- 6 Simple Ways to Naturally Prevent and Treat a Cold
- Surviving a Cold
- Lori said…
My 7 month old recently cut his second tooth. The first was a breeze, but the second, a nightmare. I searched through my Babywise 1 and 2 books and only found very little information about teething. We had a couple rough nights, seriously. It was like the first week home again and after months of enjoying a baby who goes to bed easy and sleeps for 10 hours at least, I was exhausted. The problem was that he was obviously in pain, but wouldn’t let me comfort him. I tried rocking, holding, singing, just about everything (except taking him to my bed of course). Finally I just had to let him cry. After a couple days, he was fine and back to his old self again. Thing is, I just wish the books talked more about this (like what really to expect with teething and tips on handling it after you get so used to a good sleeping baby). The first night that I decided to let him cry, he did so for over an hour. I only went in once to try and soothe him. The day before that though, it seemed like each time I tried to comfort him, he would stop for 5 min and regain his strength for another long stretch of screaming.I’m not really asking for advice, just sharing my experience in case some one else has a similar problem. Here’s hoping for less pain in the next tooth!
April 7, 2008 6:37 PM
Lori, I’m in the exact same situation right now that you described above. Thank you for sharing your experience!
April 27, 2008 7:27 PM
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