Teething and Sleep

Oh, the joys of teething. Don’t we all just love it!

There are a lot of exciting milestones that we as parents look forward to; the first smile, first roll, first word… The first tooth, however, doesn’t have the same enthusiasm. Whether it’s your first child or you’re a trained veteran by now, I think we can all agree that teething is one of those things that many of us dread.

And what’s the worst part about teething? The fact that it can go on for ages and ages and ages, so much so that you begin to blame everything on teething.

  • Not eating – must be teething
  • Clingy – must be teething
  • Massive tantrums in aisle 5 at Coles – must be teething
  • Refusing sleep – must be teething

The pile of dishes in your sink- must be teething!

Okay, okay, so maybe we can’t blame teething for everything. At the end of the day, teething is inevitable and rather than cause any further anxiety, I want to help equip you with the knowledge and confidence to help yourself and bub get through this new developmental milestone. So, on that note, let’s start at the very beginning. It’s a very good place to start.

When does teething occur?

Teething in our little ones usually begins to take place between 4 and 7 months old. However, it’s important to note that this is just a guide and it’s not uncommon for some babies to start teething much later. If your child is of age and still hasn’t reached their teething milestone, it’s okay. Give it time, those little suckers will come through soon enough.

Signs of a teething baby?

Some babies can go through teething without experiencing any pain at all (lucky ducks). However, unfortunately for the majority teething can be quite an uncomfortable time for our little ones and ourselves.

The most common symptoms of a teething baby include:

  • Gum rubbing
  • Wakefulness
  • Dribbling
  • Red swollen gums
  • Irritability
  • Resisting solids
  • Restlessness
  • Flushed cheeks
  • Fever
  • Finger sucking
  • Trouble settling

How teething impacts our little ones

In all honesty, teething is not fun. Your little one’s teeth are beginning to move, bulging, and cutting through, causing inflamed, sensitive, and sore gums. It usually lasts a few days, day and night, before some relief is provided. However, the next movement will soon follow, and the cycle begins again. It’s easy to understand why our little ones become so cranky and restless during this transition and why you may find them resisting come sleep time.

What can you do to help your teething bub sleep?  

Gum Massages

Your little one’s gums are irritated and sore, hence the fussiness and distress. Gently massaging bub’s gums with your finger is a great way to help soothe their tender gums and offer some relief. Make sure to wash your hands first to ensure there are no nasties among them!

Teething toys 

Teething aids are a godsend! Teethers are toys that your little one can put in their mouth and chew on when new teeth are developing. Their chewing sensation is comforting to babies as they offer light pressure to their gums, offering instant relief.  Teething toys can be made from all different types of materials: rubber, silicon, plastic, or wood. Some are even designed to be cooled in the fridge to offer a nice cooling sensation. *Helpful hint: if you don’t have a teething toy on hand, a cold washcloth is a great alternative for bub to chew on!

Don’t forget about the drool

While it might not seem like a big deal, letting your little one sit around with a wet face can be quite uncomfortable for them and can sometimes cause a rash to form. Making their sleep even more uncomfortable. Excessive dribbling is very common for teething babies, it’s important to be a little bit more vigilant when it comes to drool patrol during this time.

Pain relieving medication

If you have tried all the tips above and are still finding it difficult to soothe your teething bub, come sleep time then it may be time to consider using pain relief medications. You can speak to your doctor or pharmacist about the appropriate one for your child.

Lots of cuddles

Sometimes all your little one needs is a bit of extra love from mum or dad. During this new development, I’m sure you will find that your little one is more needy than normal. Accept this with open arms by lavishing them with cuddles and devoting that extra special one-on-one time that they so desperately crave!

I know firsthand that this can be quite an anxious time for parents, but just remember at the end of the day you’ve got this! Take it day by day and don’t be so hard on yourself if things don’t always go to plan. Children are unpredictable and what works one day may not work the next. Be patient, trust your instincts and remember that I’m always here to help!

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