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Dealing with teething and sleeping

Updated: Aug 12, 2021

How cute is it when your baby’s first tooth arrives? But what about those sleep deprived nights that go along with it, they’re not as cute.


How cute is it when your baby’s first tooth arrives? But what about those sleep deprived nights that go along with it, they’re not as cute.


Your baby will usually start teething after around 4 months. What are the signs of a baby teething you may ask? The first sign is normally drooling, like Niagara Falls kind of drooling; this is closely followed by your baby constantly putting objects in their mouth. However, these signs normally go on for months until that tiny first tooth pops through. But your baby has been thrown off schedules and has had sleep interrupted from the pain, and we all know how sore a toothache can be.


What are the physical signs of a baby teething?

Along with the more noticeable signs of teething mentioned above there are some other physical signs; they can be:

· Pulling at their ears or cheeks

· Biting on their hand or you (during breastfeeding)

· Diarrhoea (caused by excess saliva)

· Rash around their mouth (caused by excess drooling)

· Rejecting feeds (caused by tender gums)

· Low grade fever.


How to help your teething baby?

There are ways to help your baby through the pain of teething, some suggestions are:

· Use a clean finger to gently apply pressure to your baby’s gum.

· A cooled washcloth or teething toy to provide relief.

· Use over the counter pain relief (follow guidelines on packaging).

· Give them a dummy to suck or chew on.


So how does teething affect your little one’s sleep?

When we sleep, we naturally have sleep cycles, in a baby these are normally 90 minutes. Typically, each sleep cycle learns to connect through without any wakening but due to pain and discomfort of teething your little one tends to wake between each cycle and can not relax enough to go back to sleep. Over the first 2 years they will have 16 teeth come through which can lead to weeks of pain and interrupted sleep for them.



How do I know if teething is affecting my little one’s sleep?

· They will tend to catnap, what was normally a 45-60 minute nap is now only 30 minutes.

· When it is bedtime, they will find it hard to settle and may need extra comfort.

· Regular night wakening’s, where a normally good sleeper is now up a couple of times a night.

· Early risings, this is considered any time before 6am.




Is it possible to sleep train a baby while teething?

Understandably, it is easier to sleep train a child when they are not in pain or over stimulated by learning new skills. Teething goes on for months, and it reaches a time when your little one, NEEDS TO SLEEP.


So how to make the impossible sleep training possible while teething. Well, the secret is…there is a time dentists refer to as acute teething which only last 1-2 days and is the most painful for your little one. It can be hard to tell when this is but as soon as that little tooth breaks the gum their pain will begin to fade. This is then the prime time to start sleep training.


Final Thoughts

Teething definitely affects your child’s sleep, it disrupts them because they are in pain. However, you could be waiting a long time to sleep train a poor sleeper and it is unlikely that teething is the main cause of poor sleep.




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