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Restoring Sleep Routine after Baby’s been unwell

NBB Question from Simone: My 10 month old slept with me for a few nights when she was sick. Now she doesn’t sleep in her cot as well. She just keeps waking and crying and standing up and won’t settle herself anymore like she used to. Any tips on how to get her going to bed again in her cot?

It’s hard when babies are unwell because they need you more, so we naturally hold and cuddle them more. Once baby is well again, adjusting back to less cuddling and support can be tricky.

If you think about how babies brains work, they learn through repetition of caregiving that meets their needs. In view of that, try putting your baby girl into her cot at each sleep time. Make sure there is quiet time before each sleep that includes a cuddle, rocking and soothing.

When she is relaxed (and awake) pop her into her cot, then EVERY time you do that, repeat a pattern of shhing, perhaps some mattress patting, or head stroking, and if your cot allows, squat or kneel down beside the cot to show your baby you are there, but not necessarily cuddling all the time. This won’t settle your baby to sleep immediately, but you will be creating a predictable pattern which will be the building blocks for calming for independent sleep.

If your little girl is not settling, only offer comforting for 20-30 seconds, then offer a cuddle until calm, then back in the cot and try again, with that same predictable comforting. The idea is that your baby will start to feel this is not as bad as you leaving the room and will begin to respond by calming.

When baby is calm, that is your cue to leave your baby to see how she manages. If she cries, then just go back in to her, kneel low down beside her cot so she is more inclined to come down to the mattress level, rather than you laying her down each time as well.

If you would like more information visit www.helenstevens.com.au for further resources on sleep and settling that do not include doing prolonged or extended crying episodes.

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