7 Tips if Your Sick Baby Won’t Sleep


How To Help Your Sick Baby Sleep

If your baby is sick, chances are they’re having a hard time sleeping as well. It’s hard enough to make sure your baby is comfortable while they’re sick, and figuring out ways to help them sleep can be a hassle all on its own. Combining the two may leave you feeling overwhelmed and exhausted yourself. You might find that the things you normally do aren’t working. And now, you’re missing out on the sleep that you need. That’s not healthy for you or your baby.

Fortunately, there are a few things that you can help if your sick baby won’t sleep. There’s no harm in doing a little research to see if there’s anything that will help make your baby comfortable. Here are six tips that will have your baby resting peacefully.

1. Make Sure Your Baby Gets Plenty of Liquids

If your sick baby won’t sleep, it could be because they’re dehydrated. Dehydration is a common symptom that results after an illness or a fever. In extreme cases, if not taken care of, dehydration can lead to more serious problems. Try to increase the number of fluids that you give your baby. This will not only hydrate them, but it’ll ease their discomfort.

Of course, a sick baby won’t sleep if they’re not relaxed. Making sure that your child is well-hydrated will:

  • Relieve any discomfort
  • Re-hydrate them
  • Give their body the nutrients that it’s lacking

Commonly, your baby might not be as cooperative during feeding times while they’re feeling this way. To counter this, consider giving them smaller amounts of food more frequently. This way, you’ll combat any future tantrums that maybe had while trying to feed your baby.

2. Give Your Baby Plenty of Time to Rest

It’s imperative that your baby is getting a substantial amount of sleep while they’re sick. Sleep is a great medicine to help your baby relax and heal. Although getting them to sleep may be a challenge, there are measures that you can take to help you out.

A sick baby won’t sleep in an environment where there’s a lot of commotion and things going on. You’ll want to try to avoid any situations that may be a bit too exciting for your baby at the time. In doing this, you’ll also keep them safe from any other germs that they could get while you’re out. Also, you can lay your baby down for more nap times and allow them to sleep longer than they normally would. There’s nothing wrong with an additional 30 minutes here or there.

On the contrary, while increasing the amount of sleep your baby gets is important, you should still stick to the designated bedtimes that you have set in place for your child. This bit of consistency will ensure that your sick baby who won’t sleep is well-rested and will even allow you some moments of peace to get some z’s in.

3. Clear out Congestion

A sick baby won’t sleep if they can’t breathe. It can be especially hard for babies who sleep better with a pacifier. A baby who can’t breathe through their nose will have a difficult time using their binky. This can cause them to be fussy and upset throughout the night, resulting in a lack of sleep.

If you find that your baby’s nose is a bit congested, you can get over-the-counter nose/saline drops to relieve some of the pressure. You can’t give your baby everything, but there are natural nasal sprays that you can use that will help ease some of your baby’s discomfort. Before you try an over-the-counter medicine, reach out to your child’s pediatrician to make sure that what you’re giving them is safe and will actually help.

Sometimes, nasal sprays won’t clear the congestion as well as you hoped. If this happens, consider using a nasal syringe to clear out some of the mucus. The syringe is a sure-fire way to clear your baby’s nasal passages and help them breathe more easily. With this new-found comfort, your baby will fall into a peaceful sleep.

4. Use a Humidifier

A humidifier is useful if your baby has a cough or congestion in their chest. A sick baby won’t sleep if there’s pressure in their chest. Humidifiers keep the air moist and ease congestion. However, they can be a bit pricey. As an alternative, running a hot shower will create steam that’ll break up the mucus and help relieve your baby’s cough. If you do invest in a humidifier, it’s advised that you get one that has a cool-mist option. Warm humidifiers can your baby at risk for accidental burns. That being said, if you use a shower as an alternative method, make sure that you’re doing so carefully and that the room isn’t too hot for your baby.

5. Give Your Baby a Warm Bath

If your sick baby won’t sleep, give them a bath. Giving your baby a warm bath has several benefits that’ll help your baby sleep.

  • Warm water baths will help you regulate your baby’s body temperature and break their fever.
  • Do you remember the last time you had a warm bath? It was relaxing and helped soothe some of the stress from that day. It’s the same thing with your baby. A warm bath will calm them and relax them enough to make putting them to sleep an easy job.
  • Being sick causes a variety of aches and pains throughout the body. A sick baby won’t sleep if they’re in pain, and a warm bath can help to alleviate some of this discomfort. You might want to try doing this a few times before going to prescription medication.

6. A Little Love Goes a Long Way

When a baby gets sick, it doesn’t know what’s going with its body. Your sick baby who won’t sleep may be scared and upset because they’re not sure how to make themselves feel better. All they know is that they’re uncomfortable, and a sick baby won’t sleep if they’re agitated on top of everything else. Most of the time, the best thing to fight off your baby’s sickness is lots and lots of love. Try giving your baby a little extra attention. This could mean:

  • Talking with them more and reassuring them that everything is going to be okay
  • Sitting with them in a silent place where the two of you can play quietly together
  • Wrapping them up in a bundle so that they’re warm and snug in a soft blanket
  • Reading or singing to them softly so that they feel secure and sleepy enough to fall into a tranquil sleep.

Whether your child can understand you or not doesn’t matter. Just the sound of your voice will help put your baby at ease and give them a sense of peace.

7. A Word of Caution

  • Before you give your baby any medication, consult your pediatrician first. Pain relief meds such as Tylenol and Ibuprofen are okay to give to your baby. These are good choices if your baby’s discomfort persists.
  • If your sick baby won’t sleep and they’re 6 months old or younger, don’t give them water, as their kidneys have not developed enough to properly handle it.
  • Although you may be tempted to, don’t make it a habit that your baby sleeps in your bed. As a parent, you’ll want nothing more than to be near them at all times while they’re sick. But, if you consistently let them sleep with you, you’ll find that once they’re feeling better, it’s hard to get them back into their bed. Instead, have a mattress that you can lay in their room for when they start to get fussy. That way, they’ll find peace in staying in their bed and you won’t have to break a hard cycle.
  • Take care of yourself. A sick baby that won’t sleep can affect your sleep schedule drastically. With a lack of sleep, you may find yourself stressed, tired, and irritable. Also, tending to your sick baby while you yourself are sleep-deprived can add on a whole round of challenges. It’s important that you’re taking the time to tend to your needs as well. Try to catch sleep while your baby naps, or call up a friend or family member and ask if they wouldn’t mind babysitting for a few hours while you got some rest. TLC is just as much for you as it is for your child.


Having a sick baby can be quite a challenge. A sick baby won’t sleep peacefully through the night without some difficulty, so you should be aware of what you can do to help them calmly get to sleep. Remember, make sure your child gets plenty of rest, fluids, and more rest! Follow these tips, and you’ll ensure that your baby sleeps as soundly through the night as they can.

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