It is possible to create new habits/associations during a period of sickness – particularly if your child is sick for a long period of time. Here are some tips to help keep things on track as much as possible:
Consistency: Try to keep things as consistent as possible, particularly how and where your child goes to sleep.
Hydration: If you have eliminated night feeds, try not to go back to giving a night feed during times of illness - offer a sippy cup of water to keep them hydrated. If you are concerned about fluid intake and want to give a milk feed overnight, you could provide a dream feed around 11pm, as this won’t re-create a feeding and sleep association.
Sleep Associations: Try not to re-establish a previous sleep association. For example, bringing your child in to your bed. Instead camp out in their room on a spare bed/mattress etc. if you need to monitor them during the night.
Naps: When a child is sick, they are likely to sleep more during the day – try to keep naps loosely in place. Put them to bed early rather than very long naps. If naps are difficult to achieve (eg if they are in pain), use motion to help your child to sleep (e.g. buggy/car/carrier) to prevent your child becoming overtired at bedtime.
Once your child starts to feel better, it is time to revert back to the way things were before they got sick. If your child does not easily transition back, you may need to support them in those first few nights and gradually do less and less as the nights go on.