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Teething and Sleep

Updated: Sep 20, 2021

Teething and Sleep

Worried that teething is going to cause sleep issues?

Not sure how to handle over night wakings if your baby is in pain with new teeth popping through?

Lots of parents start sleep training and have fantastic results only to hit a few bumps in the road at a later time.

Teething is NOT the main cause of sleep problems. But if your baby is not a good sleeper anyway, then it can make your baby's sleeping worse, and is often blamed as being the culprit for poor sleep.

If you baby is sleeping through the night and then starts to teeth, it can be hit and miss as to whether teething pain will effect your baby. Some teeth may be more troublesome than others, but usually those babies that sleep well PRIOR to teething will breeze through it better.

Its safe to say, if your baby appears really grumpy and in pain through the day with teething pain, then it could genuinely be teething pain at night too, so you should expect it, and be preventative.

You can usually tell by the cry, that it is a more genuine pain.

Typically, pain cries are higher pitched, but overnight as you staggered into the room all blurry eyed - they sometimes all sound the same.

Check for other signs before defaulting to helping your baby go back to sleep or going back to bed.

Huge bright red cheeks which are hot to the touch

A snotty nose (clear not green).

Look in the mouth - can you see a purple lump and a little white head ?

Whimpering or have a hard time letting you touch their gums?

Are they upset no matter what you do?

Continues to cry and throw themselves around not matter what you do?

When the pain is genuine you can't ignore it.

It's your job is to treat the pain at the root cause (no pun intended). What I mean by this is, rocking your little one back to sleep won’t stop the tooth coming in, nor will it take the pain away.

Some meds and cold wash cloth would help.

Here are the most common signs of teething

Drooling - sometimes accompanied with a rash on the chin

Clear runny nose

Hot red cheeks (not to be confused with a fever - having a fever is NOT a sign of teething but a sign of an infection)

Diaper rash

Increase in bowel movements (looser stools)

Increase or Decrease in breast / bottle feeding

Decreased interest in solids

Discolored swollen gum where the tooth is coming through

Biting on things (anything that fits in their mouth)

Possets more watery than milky

Here are some tips on how to deal with teething pain at night

Put lanolin on your baby's chin to help with the rash

Use soft tissue for your baby's nose so that it doesn't get sore

Check your baby's temperature to rule out fever - if your baby has a fever SEEK medical advice.

Use extra barrier cream on your babies bum and let air get to it

Offer the breast / bottle if it provides comfort but if you have done sleep training, NOT to sleep

Don't force your baby to eat solids if they are refusing - it will pass once the tooth has cut

Use a teething gel if given the go ahead by your doctor or pharmacist on your babies swollen gum

Administer some pain relief if given the go ahead by your doctor before bed and every X amount of hours over night as suggested ( Tylenol is every 4 hrs for example)

Offer a cold wet wash cloth for your baby to chew on

Teething Advice

Teething pain peaks as the tooth is just cutting the gum. Once it is through the teething pain will greatly subside.

The area that is causing discomfort is usually swollen and can be purple in color and look inflamed.

Of course, if your baby is in pain you need to offer them comfort during this time and do what you can to help them deal with the pain, DO NOT treat teething like a sleep problem.

The extra attention should then stop once the tooth is in and their daytime behaviour supports that they are no longer suffering.

You may find that your baby is still waking up at night and crying so at this point you may have to do some reassurance and check visits to make sure that they are okay but keep your visits minimal and low key. Although you may be tempted to bring them into bed with you, try to just get up with them and sit on the couch, dark quiet environment, offer some medicine and love. Of course you will feel shattered the next day If your night has been disrupted, Poor old Mum - has to carry on as normal regardless of what the night brings and remember........

Deal with the pain first, deal with the sleep second.

Need help or have questions? Contact Dawn


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