Sleep survival and the winter bugs!

How to reduce sleep regressions and get the sleep needs for your little when they're poorly.

The countdown is officially on!

Are you organised? Are you excited?

I would say I’m maybe almost organised…. Excited, however, is an understatement.

I love this time of year, with the cold fresh days – as long as I’m wrapped up.  The only thing is, we all end up with colds or bugs.

When our little ones – and us, get poorly, our sleep is the first thing to be affected. Our bodies begin to fight off any infections before we even know we’re sick.  

If your little ones start to have trouble sleeping, keep an eye on them – they may be coming down with something.  My little one for 2 or 3 nights decided she didn’t want to go to bed – lo and behold, a sickness bug arrived shortly after.

If your little one does get sick, these tips will help them get on the path to recovery:

Routine and consistency – yes I know you’ve heard me say it before!

When our little ones are sick, their routine and schedules pretty much get thrown out the window.  That’s okay, we need to let them sleep as much as they can, especially if their sleep is broken from being up half the night coughing, feeling sick or having trouble breathing with a blocked nose. Letting your little one rest will help their immune system fight the infection,  and help to get them the age-appropriate sleep they need. Something as simple as bringing nap time and/or bedtime forward to help prevent them from getting overtired can make a big difference.

If you can keep to their routine, you are doing awesome!

If your little one is up more during the night, try and keep the environment conducive to sleep – dim lights and settle and comfort them quietly.  This will help to re-establish their routine when they get better.

Once your little one starts to feel a bit better – when they want to play and they’re eating better and almost ready to go back to nursery or school – start getting them back into their routine.  The quicker they get back to a routine the less likely they are of having a sleep regression.  

If they’ve been sick for a while you will maybe need to reintroduce their routine. If you used any sleep training methods, you might need to implement them again.  Since it isn’t new it won’t take as long. 

When/if you reintroduce a routine or sleep training, be consistent!

Not only can our babies and toddlers sleep be disrupted from sickness, their appetite can disappear.

Often it can be a struggle to get them to eat as they just don’t feel like it.  

There are lots of old wives tales for what we should eat – I always remember my gran bringing the good old fashioned chicken soup.

If you can get your little one to eat, some options might be:

  • Chicken soup or broth
  • Beans and toast
  • Toast and banana
  • Some fruits eg oranges, blueberries, strawberries and kiwi
  • Porridge oats
  • Eggs

As they provide the following benefits: 

magnesium – helps promote better sleep, transports other minerals around the body, helps to reduce stress hormones and helps maintain fluid balance;

Iron – helps to promote the immune system, regulates body temperature and restores sleep;

Vitamin C – helps to absorb your iron and boosts your immune system;

Zinc – again helps the immune system and reduces inflammation.

As long as you can keep your little one hydrated then it’s a start

We need a lot of patience when our little ones are sick. It can be so stressful – you’re trying to get things organised for the holidays, working, as well as all of the normal daily chores. On top of that, you have a little one who is feeling miserable and isn’t sleeping well – so chances are you’re exhausted. As parents, we always have so much to do that we fight through when we get sick.  Realistically all we want to do is cuddle up, get comfy, warm and rest. Our little ones are exactly the same. Depending on their ages, they might not understand what’s going on.

Be patient, when you get stressed they will mirror your emotions.

And most importantly of all – lots and lots of cuddles!  All I want is cuddles when I’m poorly, my little one is the same.  So get comfy and cuddle up on the sofa with some great Christmas movies!

If you do have any concerns with your little one, trust your gut and see your GP.

If your little one is poorly, I hope they get better soon!

Merry Christmas!

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