Shea has had a cold for about a week now. It seems to have gone from the snotty stuff to a full-blown hacking cough through the night. I’ve been laying in bed, listening to her cough and cough, thinking, poor baby...wondering what I should do.
Does she need water? Snuggles? To work through it? I DON’T KNOW!
What I do know is that sleep trained children and surviving a cold can get tricky. We started sleep training around 3-4 months and for us, it has been a wonderful thing. At a young age (3 months-ish), Shea was put down for bed sleepy, but not asleep, after being nursed. But at this age, babies still get up several times a night to eat, and so sleep training was really more about the routine of getting to bed and getting back to sleep, not necessarily sleeping through the night (though that was a bonus!). Sometimes, there was crying, but over time it became less and less. Rarely did Shea cry when put down at night, and as the months passed by, her night feedings disappeared.
At 16 months (tomorrow), Shea has been sleeping through the night for many, many months. No middle of the night feedings and if there’s fussing or crying, we let her figure it out. Rarely do we intervene because typically, that means she won’t be going back down. Sleep training has definitely taught her that when we enter her room, sleep time is over. On occasion, she may be up for the day at 4:30 or 5am. I know she’s up-up when she’s sitting or standing in her crib. If she’s laying down crying, I let her work through it. Her typical sleep schedule is 7/7:15pm to 6:15/6:30am and more often than not, there’s not a peep from her during that time. I will also make mention that we often leave her in her crib for up to half and hour, while she plays or talks to herself. I want to instill independence and patience.
Sleep is something new parents love to talk about, and I was/am no exception. When you’re DESPERATE for sleep in consecutive, restful hours, it’s almost a topic of obsession. More than breastfeeding or any other topic, I read about sleep. I particularly loved Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child and followed nearly every last piece of age-appropriate advice.
I think sleep training gave all members of our family what they needed – sleep, sanity, and independence. And it certainly comes in handy when others can step in for the bedtime routine, whether it be a grandparent or a babysitter. Shea seems to handle her bedtime routine well with any adult, so long as her routine is honored.
Rewind to last night when at 3am, Shea’s coughing was non-stop. Do I go in and risk her being up for the day? Do I ignore, even though it feels wrong and I can’t sleep through it anyway? Do I send in Mark? I let her cough until 4am when her coughing escalated even further and she was sitting up in her crib crying. I tried rocking her, but it was clear she wanted to lay down. Against my “better judgement” to put her back in her crib, we both went to lay down in the guest room. I rubbed her back and ran my fingers through her hair. Her breathing got slow and deep with complete relaxation. I slowed my rubs and strokes and she protested. I started back up. Eventually, we both drifted off into much needed sleep and her coughing ceased. She got up for the day at 6:30am.
It’s hard for me to know sometimes when to bend my bedtime rules….when to soften and be that nurturing touch, and when to hold firm to the sleep framework we’ve instilled over the past year. But, when my little is sick, it seems like the “right” time to give that extra love and attention. Even in the middle of the night. I just always cross my fingers that she doesn’t come to expect that response the next time. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. But after returning to the routine, perhaps with a bit of protest, we get back on track.
Now, let’s get this girl better over the weekend…for everyone’s sake! 😉
I would give anything for my daughter to sleep through! At 16.5 months we’ve never had a full nights sleep. Is the book you recommend worth giving a go?
Aww 🙁 So hard. I think the book may be helpful, but maybe more helpful would be something more age-appropriate. If you knew what type of sleep training you wanted to try, you could get a book specific to that methodology. Or maybe there are age-appropriate books? I’m not sure! The book I referenced does talk mostly about 3-12 months. Good luck!!
just couldn’t leave your website before telling you that we really enjoyed the quality information you offer to your visitors… Will be back often to check up on new posts.
I love that you are already teaching Shea to be independent – something I did with Hannah from a tiny age too – being a single mom then, I knew that I wouldn’t always be with her – and now nearly 24, my brother tells me that Hannah is the most independent person he knows 😀
I had this happen at our house last night too – We did eat, play, sleep (Baby Wise) with Lena since she was born and it paid of wonderfully for us. If she ever wakes up hysterical in the middle of the night I know she’s not well. I then go in and see if I can rub her, etc or otherwise turn to the rocking chair. Last night she was hysterical and after 3 attempts at rocking it was a no-go. She cried every time I laid her back down (which I’m not sure she has ever done?). I gave her some Tylenol (vaccines), rocked and then laid her back down. She fussed off/on for about an hour but I too go by the ‘she’s laying down and not sitting/standing’ thought process. It’s so hard to listen to them and know they aren’t feeling their best… Just have to go with the mommy instinct!
I hope you’ve had more restful nights since! 🙂
I just want to say I love this approach and it sounds really similar to what we’ve done with our three kids (7, 5 and 2). It’s a controversial topic, but I think a combination of sleep training (different than complete cry it out) with using your nurturing instincts is the right balance. Your little girl is so cute! I hope she’s feeling better.
I say, treat your child how you want to be treated, when I’m sick and coughing at night I would appreciate someone taking care of me and making me feel better. When our children are little they have a hard time regulating their body temperature, so when they are sick and or have a fever, laying on us makes them feel better.
This is an excellent post and I would recommend you to enjoy some coupons for this cute post..