You have finally gotten your precious baby to sleep through the night and then teeth start to appear! How to soothe a teething baby at night is one of the most common questions new parents have. Veteran parents may tell you that a teething baby and sleep are 2 words you don’t often hear together.
However, this doesn’t always have to be the case. Our expert team has put together the best tips to help soothe a teething baby at night. We hope this will allow both you and your baby to enjoy some much needed sleep.
A Teething Baby And Sleep: What You Need to Know
A typical timeframe for most babies to start teething is around 6 months. Some early teethers will show signs of teeth erupting as soon as 2-3 months. By 2 years of age, babies should have all of their milk teeth.
As with all child development milestones, these numbers are purely a guide. Each child will grow individually. However, if there is no sign of teeth by 12-18 months of age, you should consult a pediatric dentist.
So why is sleep such a problem for a teething baby? Well, as the milk teeth start to push upwards they cause swelling of the gums. In fact, the signs of your baby teething may mimic that of a common cold.
Because the baby’s gums are swollen, he/she is in pain. Pain causes them to be unsettled and cranky. They will probably also have a temperature and runny nose. All of these will affect their ability to sleep and make it vital to soothe a teething baby at night. Additionally, fewer distractions at night can decrease your baby’s ability to cope with the pain.
To make teething a less painful process for both you and your baby, it’s best to be prepared for the inevitable.
What Are The Signs Of Teething In Babies
The first step is to know what to look out for. As your baby starts teething they will show these common signs.
- Tender or swollen gums.
- Resistance to feeding.
- Putting objects or fingers in their mouth.
They might also have:
- Low-grade fever of temperature 98-100 degree Fahrenheit.
- Rashes around the mouth.
- Increased biting.
- Ear pain or infection, a sign of which is the child constantly pulls their ears or cheek.
1. Develop Good Sleeping Habits
A good way to prevent problems with teething babies and sleep is to develop good sleeping habits early.
Get your child’s sleep pattern established so they are in bed early every day. This way, when your baby does start teething their routine will be disturbed early in the evening.
Early bedtime means that you can soothe a teething baby early in the night and settle them while you are still awake. For instance, if your child falls asleep at 6:00 pm, staying awake beyond this will have them tired falling asleep despite their pain.
2. A Teething Baby Needs Good Sleep Routines
Babies rely on routines. It is comforting to them. A warm bath, body massage and nursing followed by gentle rocking will calm and soothe your child to sleep.
Once teething starts, it is important to adhere to your bedtime routines. The familiarity of routines can distract the child from their pain and help soothe a teething baby at night.
3. Swollen Gums Disrupt A Teething Baby And Sleep
It’s important to address the issue of your child’s swollen gums. Soothing a baby’s swollen gums will settle a teething baby and sleep will come easily.
Use some of these tried and true methods.
- Apply light pressure to the gums. Wash your hands thoroughly and lightly massage your child’s gums. This is the simplest way to soothe a teething baby at night. However, watch out for some hefty bites!!
- Give chilled food. If your child is eating solids, give them chilled apples, carrots or cucumbers to chew on. The cold and pressure will relieve swelling and pain.
- Chilled washcloth. Give your child a chilled or frozen washcloth to chew on before bedtime. You can make knots on the washcloth to make it easier for your baby.
- Use teething toys. You may also use specific items designed to relieve the pain of teething. These include teething rings, pacifiers or a teething mitt. Use rubber or plastic teething toys as they apply a counter-pressure that can soothe painful gums. You could even use silicone teething toys, provided they are safe and compatible with your child.
Cold helps to numb swollen gums and gives some relief from the pain. Remember, only use these teething aids under your supervision.
4. Medicines May Soothe A Teething Baby At Night
If your child just won’t settle, or seems to be in a lot of pain, you may want to call your pediatrician. They may recommend using pain medication such as infant acetaminophen or infant ibuprofen. These are designed to reduce pain and can be very effective to soothe a teething baby at night..
If you decide to use medication, administer them at least 45 minutes before bedtime. This will ensure your teething baby some sleep and give much needed peace to you all.
There are also many natural alternatives for teething available on the market.
5. Give Them Extra Cuddles
Don’t forget to give extra cuddles to comfort and reassure your cranky baby. This is a trying time for you both and your child has no way to know what is happening.
Give them lots of hugs, sing a lullaby and rock them to sleep. Let them know that everything is alright and be there for them.
6. Extra Feeds Can Soothe A Teething Baby At Night
A recent study found that sucking was effective in reducing pain in newborns. Encourage your child to breastfeed, drink from a bottle or even suck on a pacifier as a way to reduce the pain.
Any of these will be effective in the middle of the night.
Precautions With A Teething Baby And Sleep
There are some pitfalls you should avoid while trying to soothe your teething baby at night.
- Frozen teething rings and toys: Be sure not to freeze your teething toys, as it can do more harm than good. Frozen rings are hard and cold and may hurt your child’s gums. Just chill them by placing them in the refrigerator.
- Teething necklaces: This is strictly a no-no. The US Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning against using these. There is a real possibility of the necklaces being a potential hazard for choking, strangulation, infection and injury to the mouth and gums.
- Topical gels: Avoid using gels with benzocaine or lidocaine as they are not safe for use in young children.
- Teething tablets: Tablets containing an ingredient called belladonna can cause breathing difficulties and seizures in babies.
If your baby is showing persistent signs of a high fever (100.4 degrees Fahrenheit), diarrhea and vomiting it is not necessarily due to the teething process. Consult your pediatrician immediately. There may be an underlying medical condition that requires treatment.
The most effective ways to soothe your teething baby at night are in the little details. Sticking to a bedtime routine, giving them a cold treat before bedtime, extra cuddles and kisses can go a long way. Using our easy tips can tackle the double trouble of teething babies and sleep.
Read more of our top parenting advice for babies.
With an educational background Alana loves the science behind child development. Her passion is the way in which children learn and grow. After an accident that ended her career as a teacher she has dedicated herself to studying child development. She has been learning styles to help influence teachers with the needs of different children. She hopes to one day have a big impact in this space and we are so lucky to have her as part of our writing team. Alana is mum to 3 young adults and loves being a big part in their life.