Teething and Sleep

Teething and Sleep


When our little ones aren’t sleeping well, there’s numerous reasons as to why this is happening. A big one we hear is teething!

Teething is actually not to blame for any long term sleep concerns, or even short term really!

Research and studies around teething and it’s effect on our little ones show that there’s little to no evidence that teething will cause sleep disruption.

Yes, admittedly your little one may seem to stir and cry out a few more times than usual in the night if they are currently cutting a tooth but the main issue lies in their ability to self-settle and fall back to sleep independently. Therefore, our focus should be on teaching them these skills rather than solely blaming teething for sleep issues.

Some parents may notice what they think might be teething but weeks go by and things don’t seem to improve. So it’s then that we need to ask…

  • Does time timing correlate with when their sleep cycles change? Around 4 months (also known as the ‘4 month regression

  • What have they been like during the day? Have they been irritable and off all day or have they been generally happy? Teething discomfort wouldn’t just appear at sleep time, it would be present all day

  • Is my baby between 6-8 months, and could they just be adjusting to eating solids and feeling a bit ‘weird’ when digesting foods for the first time, could they be learning to roll, learning to crawl, having immune system changes or possibly there’s a need for a change in your settling technique or a need for change in their routine. Eg Dropping from 3 naps to 2

If a baby is teething, how long is that teething process?

  • 4 Days before tooth emerges

  • The day of tooth emerging - There may be a possible slight rise in body temperature on this day but this is normal and not considered a ‘fever’ and shouldn’t last longer than 1 day. If it does, it may be the result of a viral illness or something else that should be checked by your GP.

  • 3 days after tooth emerges

What you may notice if bub is teething:

  • Rosy cheeks

  • Increased saliva, drooling and slight rash around the mouth because of this excess saliva

  • Wanting to bite and suck

  • Irritable

**Not every baby will show these signs and symptoms**

Symptoms that are not caused by teething: 

  • Fever

  • Diarrhoea 

  • Nappy rash. Some people believe the increase in saliva causes more acidic stools. This is not true as saliva is basically alkaline so producing more saliva does not increase acidity in our stomach and stools. 

Is your little one currently cutting a tooth? 

Can they self-settle and re-settle? If so, their sleep should not be impacted by these little teethy pegs coming through! 

If you find sleep disruptions have been going on well past the time that tooth pops through, it might be time to look at whats causing this. We can help, book a consult here. x 

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