Teething & Sleep
Teething gets such a bad rap and is often a “catch-all” for most common baby concerns.
Extra fussy? Teething.
Chewing on hands? Teething.
Extra night wakes? Yep, teething gets blamed for this a LOT!
It can be so stressful as parents to see our babies fussy, in pain, or otherwise uncomfortable. It feels safe to blame teething, because that makes it feel normal, and temporary. It’s a really easy answer to concerns that might otherwise give us lots of anxiety.
When does teething start and how long does it last?
Usually around 6 months, though the timing can vary so much! Some babies get their first tooth as early as 4 months, and some keep their cute little gum smile until after their first birthday! Once it starts, teething comes and goes for the better part of the next two years or so. Often teeth come in twos, every four months or so.
Teething pain and symptoms associated with tooth eruption usually last around 24-72 hours. That’s right, three days at most!
What are common teething symptoms?
According to Mayo Clinic, classic signs of teething include:
- Excessive drooling
- Chewing on objects
- Irritability or crankiness
- Sore or tender gums
- Slight increase in temperature — but no fever
The American Academy of Pediatrics offers a similar evidence based list, and even asserts that teething does not hurt enough to disrupt sleep!
It’s so important to note that symptoms commonly blamed on teething such as diarrhea, fever, or prolonged discomfort are not common teething symptoms. If your child is experiencing significant discomfort, please see your pediatrician!
What about teething and sleep?
Many parents will tell you, anecdotally, that teething can cause some disruption. I vaguely remember a couple of extra night wakes when my son was cutting canines and molars. Coincidence? Maybe!
The truth is that well-rested babies, with a super solid foundation of healthy sleep, will handle teething better and you may not even notice they’re teething!
If your baby is uncomfortable during the day, your little one will be uncomfortable at night. Talk to your pediatrician about offering Baby Tylenol or Baby Motrin at bedtime to alleviate any discomfort.
If your baby experiences night wakes, respond with comfort and reassurance but try to maintain your expectation of independent sleep.
What can I do for teething during the day?
There are also many other simple remedies you can offer during awake time:
- Teething toys – pop them in the fridge first to cool for added comfort
- Offer baby a clean, cold wash cloth to chew on, dipped in breastmilk or formula if you’d like
- Massage baby’s gums with a clean finger
- Offer lots of snuggles, holding, or babywearing – extra closeness helps so much!
If it’s been more than a few nights and you still haven’t seen a tooth poke through, it’s time to explore other causes for night wakes.
Has “teething” totally wrecked your nights? Schedule a free Introductory Call to learn more about how the Bella Luna team can help!
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