Sleep and the Sniffles


It is that time of year when the weather is starting to cool down and our little ones seem to be getting sick.  It feels like any indoor place you bring your baby to is a germ fest and they are bound to get sick. Since we can’t stay home forever (I would go crazy!), your child is bound to catch a cold at some point, if they haven’t already.  So now what do you do when it comes to bedtime, or sleeping through the night? Here are some tips on how to keep your little one feeling comfy and safe while their not feeling their best.


Soak in a warm bath before bed

It’s hard to know if our children (and babies especially) are feeling the chills, and a warm bath can help warm them up before bedtime.  It can also help clear up any mucus in their chest as their little nose drains.

Tip: Throw their towel in the dryer while they’re in the bath so when they are ready to get out, they have a warm towel waiting for them.  Just make sure to NEVER leave your child unattended in the bath for any period of time - drowning takes seconds.


Give a massage before bed

Grab any vegetable oil from your cupboard (grapeseed is our fave) and give your baby a massage before bed.  If they are congested, then focusing on their sinus area (press from bridge of nose down to side of nostril, press from middle of forehead out to temples, and press from back of ear down to throat on each side of the head) can help drain some of the pressure before they go to sleep.

Get a humidifier for their room

Placing a cool mist humidifier in their room can help break up mucus overnight.  Just make sure you are cleaning it regularly (at least once a week) so that bacteria doesn’t build up and get into their system.

Push fluids throughout the day

The more liquids your child can drink, the faster the bug can get out of their system.  My girls love sipping on warm bone broth or warm tea because it makes them feel grown up (this is only for babies over 6 months who are already eating solids).


Let them rest

Give your baby or child ample opportunity to rest.  If they fall asleep in the stroller on their morning walk before nap time, let them sleep.  Naps can go longer on days that they’re sick, and you can let them sleep in if that is what their body naturally wants.

Offer extra snuggles

Being sick is no fun, and most children simply want to be in their parents’ arms when they are feeling sick.  Don’t worry about creating a new bad habit if your child wants to fall asleep in your arms while they are sick.  It is more important to meet their physical and emotional needs when they are ill, then trying to force independent sleep on them.

When you have a child that is used to sleeping through the night (or sleeping an X amount of stretch), and they suddenly wake up before that stretch, you should do a wellness check and make sure that everything is okay.  When they are feeling sick, you may need to spend some time at 1:00am giving them a drink of water, fever-reducing medicine, or even a cool washcloth. Keep the lights dim and if your toddler asks you to stay while they fall asleep, there’s no harm in doing so.  Consider this an “off night” that is not their normal, and as soon as they are feeling better, your routines and rhythms can go back to normal.