As parents, we are always looking for ways to help our babies sleep through the night. Teething can be a difficult time for both baby and parents, but there are some things that you can do to make it easier for everyone involved.
As many parents can attest, teething symptoms—including gum soreness, mouth rash, and drooling—can make babies extremely fussy.
This irritability usually gets worse during naps and bedtime, when babies don’t have their typical daytime distractions,
Teething is an inevitable part of your baby’s development — and it can be a nerve-wracking time for parents as their little ones struggle through cutting those first few teeth.
No matter the time of day, a fussy baby who’s teething can be hard to calm. But at least during the day, you expect to be awake.
So, what can you do to soothe your little one and get them back to dreamland at night so the both of you can enjoy some shut-eye? Our exclusive range of baby nursery products will help create the perfect baby nursery for your baby.
This post will provide some tips on how to help your baby sleep through the night while teething and how to relieve them from their discomfort.
When Teething Starts
Generally speaking, most babies begin teething somewhere between 4 and 7 months of age. But some children may start teething earlier or later than this window.
How to Tell If It’s a Teething Pain Causing Nighttime Trouble
Typically, you’ll know if your baby’s nighttime restlessness is due to teething because they’ll be exhibiting other common teething symptoms.
Along with difficulty sleeping, these symptoms usually include:
- Excessive drooling
- Diarrhea (all that excess saliva can make baby’s poop runnier than usual)
- Refusal to feed (nursing and eating can be uncomfortable for a baby with tender gums)
- Biting—in their hands, toys, or you (while you’re breastfeeding)
- Rashes around the mouth or chin from drool
- Rubbing or pulling of ears or cheeks
But if your baby is experiencing a rash (other than a drool rash), fever, or diarrhea, something different than teething may be the cause of their discomfort.
In that scenario, you should speak with your child’s pediatrician.
It Can Be a Challenging for Both You and Baby
Babies can begin teething from the age of three months, and it can be a challenging time for both you and your little one.
The pain and discomfort your child may feel can disrupt a regular bedtime routine, causing your baby (and you!) to lose some much-needed sleep.
But don’t worry, we’ve provided some helpful tips below to help you and your baby navigate teething and sleep!
Teething Remedies for Sleep
For pain relief, disregard the old wives’ tales about rubbing whiskey or another alcoholic beverage on your baby’s gums to soothe them—it could be dangerous.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also advises against using topical numbing creams and gels and homeopathic teething tablets because of potential adverse side effects.
Teething necklaces are also a no-go because they risk strangulation and choking. Instead, try one of these expert-approved teething solutions for nighttime and naptime.
Give a Gum Massage
Your baby’s gums are irritated and sore, which can explain the nighttime fussiness. So when they wake up crying, try offering them a cooling gum massage with a durable teething ring.
With teething toys, make sure that they’re solid plastic rather than gel-filled, and store them in your fridge or freezer.
Inspect the teething ring after every use to ensure that there aren’t any broken pieces that could pose a choking hazard.
Also, avoid teething with jewellery such as necklaces and bracelets made from amber, marble, silicone, or even wood. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns against them because they pose a choking risk.
Offer a Cooling Treat
Sore gums can benefit from a cooling sensation.
This trick is easy to use and doesn’t require any special equipment — just the foresight to keep a few washcloths prepped in the freezer, so you’re not scrambling at 2 a.m.
Take a clean washcloth, soak it in water, and place it in the freezer for at least 30 to 60 minutes.
While you should make sure that there aren’t any rips or strings, these washcloths can serve a dual purpose.
Along with instantly cooling your baby’s sore gums, your little one can also gnaw on them as long as they like.
Become Your Baby’s Chew Toy
Whether this is their first tooth or not, you might let your baby gum on your fingers.
Just make sure that your fingers are clean before you let them have fun. For added comfort, dip your fingers in cool water to help calm their gums.
Numb the Gums With Cold Items.
Cold items can numb your baby’s gums, which might alleviate some of the pain.
It is recommended to let your child chew on a wet, cold washcloth before bed (stick it in the freezer for 30 to 60 minutes beforehand).
Other parents give their babies cold food and drinks, such as slushy applesauce, frozen fruit, or chilled bagels.
Test Out Teething Rings.
Cold teething rings may also do the trick—just make sure they don’t have any puncture damage from your baby’s teeth since they could ingest the substance inside.
Put Some Pressure on Their Gums.
We also recommend applying light pressure to your baby’s gums; the counter sensation feels soothing.
Rub your finger along their gums as they’re winding down for bed. Make sure to wash your hands first!
Give Over-The-Counter Medications.
Ask your pediatrician or dentist whether you can give your child an appropriate dose of infant acetaminophen or infant ibuprofen.
These medications might be recommended for those older than six months, as long as you give the correct dose and administer it judiciously.
Avoid giving aspirin to children since it’s associated with a rare but serious condition called Reye’s syndrome.
Stick to a Consistent Routine
By the time your baby has turned six months old, you will probably have a good bedtime routine in place.
It is essential to maintain your established routine even if your baby is fussing because it will help prepare their body for sleep.
Check the Room Temperature
Teething can sometimes cause a mild temperature of fewer than 38 degrees, so ensure your baby’s room remains at an ideal temperature (between 16 and 20 degrees is recommended) because this will help them sleep. Looking for blankets for a baby cot? Look no further. My Baby Nursery has you covered.
If your baby has a high temperature or fever, this may be for a reason other than teething, so always consult with your GP or Health Visitor.
Even if none of these ideas work and your baby still wakes, leave them for a few minutes to encourage them to self-settle.
You might like to talk to them softly or sing a lullaby to help them fall back to sleep.
Wipe Away Excess Drool.
Is drooling causing uncomfortable rashes on your baby’s face? Wipe excess drool away regularly, change your baby’s clothes when needed, and moisturize their skin with baby-safe products.
Maintain Your Bedtime Routine.
Don’t interrupt your baby’s bedtime routine because of teething.
This can mess up your little one’s slumber even more, and the familiarity of a routine creates a better environment for self-coping.
Try a Little White Noise
Sometimes all you need is a bit of distraction to help redirect your baby’s attention elsewhere.
While this might not work for every baby, adding a white noise machine to your baby’s nursery can help them drift off to la-la land despite discomfort.
Some white noise machines also serve as nightlights or can be controlled remotely.
This tip should be more of a last resort as opposed to your first soothing technique.
But sometimes, if your baby is struggling to sleep, some over-the-counter medicine might be the trick you need.
Talk with your baby’s pediatrician first before you give it to your baby so you can confirm the proper dosage.
But baby acetaminophen (Tylenol) given roughly 30 minutes before bedtime can help to block mouth pain and help your little one drift off to sleep.
However, avoid teething tablets and topical numbing medications designed to be used on a baby’s gums.
Often, numbing gels don’t provide sustaining relief because your baby is drooling so much that the medication is washed away.
Teething tablets contain belladonna, and numbing gels contain benzocaine, both of which have been linked with dangerous side effects in babies, says the FDA.
Maintain Baby’s Regular Bedtime Routine
This might sound like a tall order, but teething — much like many other periods in your baby’s life — is a temporary situation.
No matter how tempting it might be to let teething disrupt your baby’s regular bedtime routine, don’t do it.
As much as possible, stick to the routine you’ve already established and try to keep your little ones as comfortable as possible so that they can fall asleep.
Keep it, Chill
Treat swollen gums with a cool washcloth or give your baby a chilled (not frozen) teething ring to provide relief.
Apply a Little Pressure
Massaging your baby’s gums with your finger or giving her hard foods (if your baby is eating solids) may feel soothing.
Use An-Over-The-Counter Remedy
If your baby is extremely fussy, you may want to call your pediatrician.
He or she may recommend children’s pain meds like acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
If using any type of pain relief on the advice of your pediatrician, give it to the baby about 45 minutes before bedtime, so they’re comfortable while falling asleep.
Consider Natural Remedies
Many moms swear by the naturally calming properties of chamomile tea for teething babies. For babies six months or older, 1 tsp of concentrated tea mixed with warm 30ml water can do the trick. (Chamomile tea can trigger allergic reactions in some babies. It’s always a safe bet to discuss with your pediatrician before introducing any type of oral remedy.)
Other moms diffuse essential oils in the nursery or try amber teething necklaces to help with teething pain.
When considering a natural remedy, be sure to do your research, and run it by your pediatrician—just to be sure.
Stay Calm and Carry On
Rest assured, you’re not the first parent to deal with this. And no matter how stressful it might seem, you’ll get through it! Try to maintain perspective, keep your little one comfortable, and give them extra cuddles.
How to Maintain Progress
Addressing teething pain before bedtime can help—but if your baby wakes at night in discomfort, try these nighttime tips to keep your baby’s sleep on track.
Put in the Paci
Many babies find a lot of relief using their pacifiers to suck and chew while teething.
You can even throw your handy dandy paci in the fridge to give your baby a cool treat.
Try a Teething Ring or Mitt
A chilled teething ring may do the trick—try giving this to your baby before picking her up, so she can continue learning to self-soothe.
Alternatively, teething mittens go right over your baby’s hands—great for younger babies who can’t hold onto rings or toys.
Just remember that your baby should be supervised while chewing on any teething rings, toys, or mitts.
Stick to Your Routine
When babies have a set pattern of sleep, their body adjusts to it, and they become sleepy as bedtime approaches.
Preceding sleep training during teething will make it harder for your baby to get to sleep.
Maintain a routine that includes: a warm bath, a massage, a feeding and soothing, gently weighted sleepwear.
Give Extra Comfort for Acute Teething
Acute teething is when your baby has red, swollen gums with the tooth visible clearly about to poke through the gum.
If you’re considering starting a new routine, it’s best to wait 2-3 days for the acute teething to pass, but if you’re just trying to make it through the night, providing a little extra comfort can go a long way.
Feed or rock your baby to help soothe them, but try to allow your baby to fall asleep independently ultimately.
Give Extra Cuddles
Remember that teething is a limited process, so that the phase will pass soon! Your baby will grow teeth for two years—so you don’t want to stop sleep training now!
Your best bet during these years is to help your baby learn to self-soothe, so she can fall back asleep on her own.
Provide Comfort Without Undoing Progress With Sleep Training
Figure out how you can provide comfort without creating new “bad” sleep habits or undoing sleep training progress.
For instance, if you want to reinforce the habit of sleeping in the crib, avoid bringing your baby into bed with you during bouts of teething pain – instead, hold your baby until she’s calm, but put her back down in her crib to fall back to sleep.
You will want to comfort your baby during teething pain, and when the pain is at its worst, you may need to have a night or two when you break all your “rules”, but try to avoid doing anything that you don’t want to do long-term.
One night of co-sleeping for comfort won’t hurt, but if you do it every night for two weeks, then you’ve most likely just created a brand-new expectation for your baby.
Could Nighttime Fussiness Be Something Else?
If your little one is not exhibiting other teething symptoms beyond restlessness, their disrupted sleep could be due to other factors.
Ear infections or colds are also known as sleep disruptors, so if you suspect your baby may be under the weather, call your pediatrician.
Reaching new milestones, like crawling or standing up, can also keep otherwise good sleepers up at night.
When Should Your Baby See a Dentist?
You should see a pediatric dentist by 12 months old, so they can show you how to clean your baby’s new teeth effectively and avoid cavities.
However, some people wait until they are 18 months to two years old. In some cases, the dentist will seal the molars, so we recommend seeing a dentist sooner rather than later.
It can help develop a good relationship from the beginning since many adults hate the dentist. Good oral hygiene helps your overall health.
The Bottom Line
Teething is one of those baby milestones that most parents have a love-hate relationship with. On the one hand, it’s exciting to see your little one grow and develop. But on the flip side, those first few teeth are usually when teething symptoms are at their worst, and nighttime sleep is most disrupted.
It can be frustrating to have your baby waking up after you thought you had the whole sleeping-through-the-night thing down pat, but try not to worry.
Sleep that’s disrupted by teething pain will get back on track once your baby’s teeth cut through their gums.
And if you notice a fever or rash, call your pediatrician — there may be something else going on.