If there is one thing guaranteed to disrupt a baby’s sleep, it’s teething. They all have to go through it unfortunately, and there’s absolutely nothing that we as parents can do to stop it. But there are plenty of things we can do to make it as easy as possible, with as little disruption to your schedule as possible too. Read on to find out my top sleep tips for teething babies.
It always helps to be ahead of the game, and if you can spot the early signs of teething you’ll be better equipped to help when they really start to push through and cause pain for your baby. The signs you need to be looking out for include:
- swollen gums
- baby tries to chew literally everything!
- face rubbing
- ear pulling
- loss of appetite
- sleep disruption
If you suspect your baby is teething, you can carefully check along the gums with a clean finger to see if you can feel a tooth on it’s way. Sometimes they can be hard to miss!
Sleep tips for teething babies
Let’s be honest here. Sleep is going to be disrupted for most babies while they teeth. I mean, we all remember how painful it can be when you have a toothache, or a wisdom tooth is coming through. And for babies, much of the crying and fussing during teething is related to pain, discomfort and sometimes fear. They don’t have the knowledge of what’s happening to them, and some children can find this quite scary. With this in mind, it’s important to keep your cool and continue with your gentle sleep training techniques- let your baby know that your’e there when you’re needed and provide comfort to soothe and calm whenever it’s required. You can also try these tips:
- Provide lots of opportunity for natural pain relief during the day. The reason why babies chomp, bite, chew and suck on literally anything they can get their hands on is because it provides relief from the pain of teething. Biting down can soothe the gums so a baby’s natural instinct is to do just that. So watch your fingers! But one thing that could help with sleep later on is making sure that your baby has plenty of safe objects to chew on during the day and at play time. There are SO MANY teething toy options out there, but you can also use things like a wet washcloth to provide relief. Popping whatever you’re using into the fridge or freezer can work really well too as the cold will provide added relief for sore gums.
- Speak to your doctor about pain relief medication. If you had a toothache you would take something for it, right? Many parents don’t like to give their babies medication if they can help it, and that’s understandable so it’s important to weigh up your options first. But a little paracetamol or ibuprofen might just provide the relief your baby needs to get a little sleep. Speak to your doctor and make sure that all care providers are up to date with the plan of action where medication is concerned.
- Stay consistent and stick with your gentle sleep training techniques. As already mentioned, now is the time to really make sure that you’re using the gentle sleep training techniques you’ve already learned. Some babies may have been sleeping for long chunks at night time and then teething hits and all of that seems to go out of the window. But remember that teething is a very short term thing, and any sleep disruption experience will not last. So if you stay consistent, let your baby know that you’re there whenever you’re needed, you will be helping your baby to understand that all is ok. By the time the teething pain is beginning to recede, your baby should be confident enough to want to sleep independently and you won’t have picked up any habits that then need to be broken. But having said that….
Don’t panic about creating ‘bad habits’
Lots of parents tell me that when their little ones are poorly or teething, bringing them into their bed to sleep helps everyone in the family get a little more rest during a difficult time. And if that arrangement works for you, then great! Be aware that you will need to transition your child back into their own bed once sleep has returned to normal, but if you are ok with this then go for it. I’m not about to tell you how to run your family so if bed sharing during teething works for you then don’t panic. Read this post on how to gently transition your child back to their own bed just in case!