Should I Let Sick Baby Sleep All Day?

Nothing can mess up a good sleep routine more than sickness! Well, it’s the time of the year when you will see your baby sniffle and snuggle. And even if it is not the weather, babies get sick quite often. Well, everybody does! And with sickness, there comes a disturbed sleep routine. At least that has been one of my major concerns while dealing with a sick baby. Thus, to ease that worry, let’s address some of the major concerns related to the sleep of a sick baby.

Should I let my sick baby sleep all day?

A sick baby will sleep longer than a healthy, perfectly well baby. However, this sleep would be more disturbed as compared to the peaceful ones before. Yet, you should not let the sick baby sleep all day. He needs to feed which otherwise will cause dehydration. It is, therefore, advisable to wake him up in between, after at least 3 hours, to feed him so that he recovers soon (Dumaplin, 2022). He needs the energy and the calories to feel better. He might dose off during the feed. A little tickle behind the nose might help wake him up. Even if he doesn’t, you can feed him in short intervals to keep filling his tummy.

How to maintain a sleep schedule when a baby is sick?

It might be difficult to maintain a sleep schedule when your baby is sick. Your baby, however, needs rest and loads of sleep to fight infection. In such a case, babies take care of themselves which is evident when they sleep longer.

When my baby was sick, I would always notice he would dose off more frequently and would nap longer. Instead of worrying about maintaining his schedule, I used to let him sleep so that he is well rested to heal faster.

In addition, babies when sick would also wake up more often. In such a scenario it would be difficult to maintain a strict sleep schedule. Instead of going hard on yourself and the baby, allow room for some flexibility. Remember everything won’t go as you plan!


How to sleep train when a baby is sick?

When a baby is sick, your foremost responsibility is to let the child feel comfortable. Let him completely heal before getting on the sleep training journey. You need to, however, assess your child’s condition to decipher the sleep train puzzle.

For instance, if your child has a mild cold, you would want to continue sleep training by not letting your ongoing efforts go in vain. In contrast, if you see him develop a troublesome illness, one in which he is too restless, cranky, and difficult to manage, pause sleep training.

Since sleep training is all about weaning off the sleep associations, in situations where the baby is severely ill, your entire focus should be on making him better. One thing to note here is that you can pause the sleep training but continue maintaining a sleep schedule if you can.

In severe situations where he is suffering because of teething pain or has a reluctant stomach bug, you might want to co-sleep. You might want to be there next to him to soothe him with a cuddle or an extra feed. Also remember, in such a situation, the child will wake up more often.

While facing such a situation, you should not be sad that your sleep training is not working. Instead, it simply means that not everything is in your control. Been there, done that! I have been in a similar situation several times and I would always recommend seeing what works best for you and your family.

Looking at this, you might ask, “will your efforts of sleep training go in vain?” No!

Hang in there. If your child was already succeeding on the road to learning sleep skills, they won’t disappear. Everything will fall into place once the baby feels better.


How can I help my baby sleep when he is sick?

My heart literally shatters into pieces every time I see my child sick. And I am sure you go through the same. As parents, we often try everything possible to soothe our sick baby. And the foremost thing that gets our attention is the baby’s sleep.

So even if you have perfectly achieved sleep training where your child is independent enough itself-soothe, rest back, because he would require extra assistance when he is sick (Torrisi, 2022).

Here is how you can help your baby sleep when he is sick:

  • You can offer help- probably more cuddles, and not let the baby cry. Do this without worrying to ruin your sleep training efforts!
  • You can provide more fluids to your baby either in the form of water or milk (depending upon his age). The sick baby might eat less during the day. You can therefore, increase feeding him at night.
  • You can do different things in line with his symptoms. For instance, for a baby with a cold or congestion, you can turn on the diffuser, try different sleep positions or simply clear up his nasal passage so that he can sleep better.
  • You can give medicine as per the recommendations of your practitioner/ pediatrician.

How much should a sick baby sleep?

As mentioned earlier, a sick child will generally sleep more to heal himself. However, parents often worry if their child suddenly starts to sleep more especially when he is not feeling well.

Well, rest assured, there is nothing to worry about if the sick baby’s nap extends more than the usual. However, you need to keep a close eye on his sleeping pattern. Sometimes too much sleep can indicate other underlying conditions that need medical attention. Apart from this, you should not forget that the baby needs to feed.

If he sleeps longer skipping his feed, he might end up dehydrated. This is unfavorable for a baby especially when he is going through an illness. For this reason, it is fair to wake him up after at least 3 hours to feed him even though the feeds can be short to align with his need to sleep to heal.

If in any situation you see that the baby is not getting up for very long, has a dry diaper for more than six hours, is not alert or has dry tears, you must consult a practitioner.

Can I sleep train when my baby gets better?

Yes, you can. Give it at least 24 to 48 hours after the baby has recovered from illness, and then go ahead with sleep training. Sometimes, babies can get accustomed to the new schedule. But make sure, your baby is all ready to resume sleep training. And if you were not previously practicing it, get going!

You might not be able to immediately get back your sleep, but hang in there! Take one step at a time and be slow. I know how cranky everybody at home gets. At one end, you have to deal with sick cranky babies. On the other, it is you, your spouse, and others at home equally sick, either of illness or the disturbed schedule (Kim, 2022).

Hang in there, it is a part of the recovery journey. Take it slow!

Your child who has just recovered would want you more. Your presence would create a difference. Don’t get worried because of the recent clinginess, it is natural. I mean, I do the same with my partner. The child, however, who is just a few months old, is justifiable to do similar, or even more!


Thus, babies falling sick might be the worst thing that can happen especially the way it impacts their sleep. Hang in there! Before you fret over the schedule and the process of sleep training, let the baby recover. Everything comes later.

I hope my advice was helpful enough to shun away your concerns related to sleep when the baby is sick. I know how baby sickness takes a toll on our well-being as a parent. It is always good to clear out confusion and it is essential to understand situations that are alarming enough to consult a practitioner.

If you have any questions, mention them in the comment section below and share the article to help other parents!


Dumpling, C., (2022). Baby sleep and sick season:

Kim, W., (2022). How to Get Your Baby Back to Sleep after Being Sick:

Torrissi, J., (2022). What to do when your baby is sick:

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