When you are a young parent, you will see your baby going through some wonderful changes. Some of these will be happy moments, while others will lead to everyone having sleepless nights. Teething is one such issue, and is considered one of the biggest milestones in your baby’s growing journey.
During the first few years of your child’s growth, you will see new teeth growing every day. While this is very exciting, there will be nights of crying, and pain. This is very difficult both for the child and the parents. So, how can you help your baby during this time?
Let us take a detailed look at how teething can affect your child.
Also read: How to Put a Baby to Sleep in 40 Seconds
Does Teething Affect Babies Sleep?
During the teething stage your baby will experience discomfort not only in their gums but also in their face and ears. Teething baby sleep can cause issues such as sleep regression that leads to more waking up at night. During this stage, your baby can be quite fussy and might cry for no reason at all. This teething process can also lead to changes in your baby’s sleeping pattern.
One of the biggest changes this will have on your child is the baby sleep cycle. When teething your child is bound to feel uncomfortable. They tend to be clingier and will want your constant attention. They may also develop a slight fever from the pain. But not to worry, these are some common symptoms when it comes to teething.
How Different Stages of Teething Affect Babies Sleep?
When teething starts your baby will go through multiple stages. But this can be different for each child. As per research, the first teeth your baby will get are lower central incisors (the bottom front teeth), then the upper front teeth and so on.
Stage 1: (0-6 months) – Your little one will start the teething process at 6 months of age. In this stage, they will start growing central incisors. These are frequently referred to as “milk teeth”.
Stage 2: (6-8 months) – The central incisors appear entirely. During this stage, your baby’s sleep will be disturbed. They will be irritable and will want to chew or start biting.
Stage 3: (10-14 months) – In this stage, the lateral incisors and first molars will start appearing. During this time, your baby will show signs of discomfort and cry. They might refuse to eat, have a slight fever and will increase their chewing.
Stage 4: (16-22 months) – During this period, the canines or cuspids will start appearing. Babies at this stage will be used to the pain, but in some cases, if the teeth overlap, they may cry during the night.
Stage 5: (25-33 months) – In this stage, the second molars will start growing. This is typically a painful stage because the teeth will now push against the front ones.
Keep in mind that the teething pain is not constant. There will be down periods where your baby is not crying or teething. Those are the moments where you can solve your child’s sleep problems for a while and get some downtime yourself.
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Signs of Baby Teething (Baby teething symptoms)
1. Increased drooling
When your baby starts teething, it stimulates more drool. If not kept clean, it can cause of rashes around the cheeks, mouth, chin, and neck. Keep these body areas completely dry and clean. You can also apply a barrier cream to help with the sore skin.
2. Swollen and tender gums
One of the first signs of teething is swollen gums. If you find their gums swelling, then dip your finger in cold water or use teething gel and try rubbing the gums to help reduce the swelling. This will not only give your child some comfort but will also reduce the swelling.
3. Irritability and fussiness
When a baby’s tooth is erupting through the gums, it can be quite uncomfortable. This can make your baby highly irritable. You can soothe your baby by cuddling with them and by spending extra time to alleviate the pain.
4. Biting and chewing on objects
When your baby starts teething, you will see them try to chew more on things. The best thing that works as a pain reliever is freezing a teething toy or baby food popsicle. This will help alleviate the pain and will also reduce any swelling.
5. Changes in appetite and sleep disturbance patterns
When anyone is in pain, they will not be able to sleep. The same is the case for babies. When teething, your baby’s sleep pattern and appetite will change. They will feed less and will sleep in irregular patterns. It is best to let your child sleep when the pain is less. You can also make popsicles from baby food to give them the nutrition they need.
6. Crying and whining
Babies can only communicate through crying or whining. And during baby teething, they show their discomfort by crying. If you feel that your baby is crying too much, then it might be best to consult your child’s pediatrician.
7. Refusal to eat or drink
When teething, your child may not want to eat or drink much. This is because they might be feeling pain when they bite down. You can help soothe this by rubbing your finger on their gums or giving them a cold teething toy.
8. Pulling on ears or rubbing face
Pain in the gums can travel to the ears or the cheeks. So, infants will keep rubbing those areas. You can help your child by massaging their gums for a minute or two to help reduce the pain. But, in some cases, pulling or rubbing of the ear can be caused by an ear infection. It is best to contact your pediatrician about this.
Studies on Baby Teething and Sleep
Multiple studies have been conducted to understand the relationship between baby sleep and teething. Most have showcased that emerging teeth can disrupt the sleeping habits of children. In a study of over 125 parents and 475 new tooth eruptions, one of the biggest complaints that parents had was sleeplessness.
According to a study by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the pain a baby feels from teething is enough to wake them up from their sleep.
Home Remedies for Teething Baby (Baby teething relief) at Night
1. Sleeping Position
Put a folded towel or a small pillow under the baby’s bed mattress to raise the level of the baby’s head at bedtime. Better drainage of gum fluid could reduce some of the discomfort associated with teething. If you want to protect your baby from SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome), have them sleep on their back. It is better to know the sleeping position for baby with stuffy nose & congestion. Infants and toddlers can learn good sleep habits through sleep training.
Your baby’s gums are swollen and sensitive, which may account for their overnight crying. If they wake up in pain, try soothing them with a teething ring massage. Always keep baby teething toys in the fridge or freezer, and select solid plastic toys over those filled with gel.
3. Fresh and refreshing clothes
If you want your infant to sleep well during the night, dress them in pajamas made from soft, breathable cotton. Fabrics that wick away sweat can help reduce perspiration and baby’s discomfort, especially during bedtime.
4. Teething toys
You may or may not want to let your baby nibble at your fingers if they cut their first teeth. Be sure to precisely wash your hands prior to letting them play. To further soothe their sore gums, run your fingers under cold water.
5. Walk outside
A teething baby may be relieved of the pain if you take them outside for a while. Try taking them for a stroll in a park or even in your backyard to make them forget about the pain.
6. Proper Hydration
A teething baby can often lead to crying and drooling, which can cause dehydration. Make sure your baby drinks enough liquids to help them feel better faster.
When to Call Your Pediatrician?
If your child is younger than three months you should call their pediatrician immediately if their rectal temperature is 100.4 or higher. Younger infants are more susceptible to the effects of fever and illness from acute teething, so you should not wait to contact your doctor.
Call your pediatrician if your older child has a fever and other symptoms such as a stiff neck, severe headache or sore throat, rash, frequent vomiting or diarrhea, or signs of dehydration. If your child has had a fever for over three days, you should discuss bringing them in for an examination with their doctor.
If your child is showing no signs of the above but you are still worried about them, then you should contact a doctor immediately, especially if it involves pediatric dentistry.
Baby Teething and Sleep FAQs
1. Why do babies wake up more during teething?
Your baby’s gums are swollen and sensitive, which may account for their overnight crying. If they wake up in pain, try soothing them with a teething ring massage. You could also talk to a sleep consultant to understand how to deal with the problem.
2. Tips for helping babies sleep during teething
- A relaxing nighttime ritual.
- It would help if you got your infant a teething ring.
- Provide your infant with a nutritious snack.
- Turn on some ambient noise or calming music.
- Apply a little pressure/massage to the gums.
3. Can teething affect a baby’s overall sleep patterns?
While it is true that every infant is different, on average, we find that teething only disrupts baby sleep for about 3-7 days while a tooth comes in. The source of your baby’s sleep association is probably not why it has persisted for weeks or months.
4. Can teething affect a baby’s daytime naps?
Daytime naps may be shorter than usual, you can reduce daytime with napping or may be skipped altogether if your teething baby is experiencing discomfort during the day. This, in turn, can make it harder to fall asleep at night because you’ll be too tired.
5. Can teething make a baby tired?
If you think about it, can teething cause sleepiness? Popular research suggests that some children sleep more than usual for their parents during intense teething bouts. They claim your infant may feel under the weather since teething can mimic the symptoms of a cold.
In the first year of life, babies develop rapidly. The emergence of baby teeth is merely the latest of many such landmarks. While it is natural to worry if your kid is acting out of the ordinary, remember that this is just a phase and that your baby will emerge from it with a lovely smile.