Getting a Baby Back Into a Sleep Routine After Being Sick

A sick baby typically means disrupted sleep, both for him and for you. As you cared for your baby to ease symptoms and provide comfort, it’s likely that he did not maintain his regular sleeping schedule at night and for naps. While challenging, you can reestablish his former sleep routine after he’s healthy again.

Stay Patient

After your baby has been sick, reestablishing her sleep routine will take some time. It may take between three and 14 days to get your child back into a better sleep routine, advises the Raising Children Network website. Remain patient with your child while you work to get her back into a more manageable sleep routine, as becoming impatient and frustrated with your baby is unlikely to lead to faster results. In fact, it could make the process take even longer because your actions could cause your child to feel insecure.

Perform a “Reset”

Performing a “reset” on your child might get his sleep routine back on track, suggests physician Marc Weissbluth, author of “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child.” Push your baby’s bedtime up substantially for four or five nights, placing him in bed for the night at the first signs of drowsiness -- perhaps as early as 5 p.m. Strive to keep your baby in bed in the mornings until 6 a.m. The increased sleep this routine will provide should ease any sleep deficits and help your child resume a better sleep schedule.

Sleep Environment

Create a sleep environment that makes sleep likely, advises pediatrician and author William Sears, with the Ask Dr. Sears website. Keep lights and sounds low and minimize activity to make her environment calming and relaxing. This peaceful environment should help your baby understand that it’s time for rest.

Reestablish Former Routine

Once you’ve resolved any lingering sleep deficits, it’s time to actively reestablish your baby’s former sleep routine by resuming his normal bedtime. Go back to the precise bedtime routine you used to put your baby to bed -- possibly a bath, putting on pajamas, one last meal or snack and a little bit of snuggling until he’s drowsy enough to place in his bed. Tuck your baby into bed just as you always did before and tell him goodnight. If he cries, revisit his bedroom every minute or two to reassure him and help him calm down for sleep. Continue this process until he finally falls asleep. If your baby wakes during the night, repeat the same process to get him to go back to sleep.