This week my Christmas Sleep Survival blog is around coping with illness and the disruption it can cause with your little one’s sleep. It’s a topic that’s particularly relevant to me today! I’m currently writing this from bed as I feel so terrible and both my kids have come down with a nasty cold, only my husband to go and we’ve got a full house!

Accept the Disruption!

It is more than likely that their sleep will be disturbed when your little one is sick. So often, the first sign your little one is coming down with something is noticing typical sleep patterns going out of the window. This is particularly true with babies, who can’t tell us when they’re starting to feel unwell. So, if you notice a change in their sleep pattern, they’re waking up more or earlier or even sleeping longer, keep an eye on them. Often you’ll find in a couple of days their symptoms will start to appear, and you’ll know the reason!

When your little one is ill, it’s crucial that they get the sleep needed to allow their bodies to fight off the infection. In reality, this can be difficult to achieve with a cranky baby who can’t breathe properly when they’re lying in the cot. I think it’s best to accept that sleep routines and schedules will go out of the window when your little one is unwell. Just let them sleep as much as they want to, even if it means an extra nap or bringing forward their usual bedtime.  

If you’re in the middle of trying to make changes to their sleep, it’s best to leave it until your little one well again before picking up again.


It can be challenging to get your wee one to eat when they’re not feeling well. Often they lose their appetite when they’re ill. Try not to worry too much – offer plain foods such as toast and fruit. It’s essential to ensure that your little one doesn’t get dehydrated when unwell. If you’re breastfeeding, you may find that your child wants to feed more often, which is an excellent way of keeping their fluids up. If your little one is really off their food and drink and you’re worried about fluid intake, you could always try offering older babies and toddlers ice lollies – these are great at soothing sore throats and also a good way of keeping their fluids up.

Make Sure You Get Rest, Too

If your child is unwell and suffering from disrupted sleep, it inevitably means that you won’t be getting as much sleep as usual either. So, make sure that you rest as much as you can whenever you get a chance, particularly if you have difficult nights. Your wee one being ill is a perfect excuse for cosying up with lots of cuddles, so make the most of it while you can!


As soon as your child starts feeling better, it’s important to try and get back into your routine as soon as possible. Soon, all the sleepless nights and missed naps will be a distant memory!