Teething can be painful for your baby as his first set of teeth starts to grow out from about six months of age to 2.5 years old. Your baby’s gum may be tender, swollen or sore and you may see some of the teething symptoms such as increased drooling, increased biting, decreased appetite, increased irritation or even a low grade fever.
If you have finally settled your baby into a bedtime routine and sleep hours are starting to get more regular, you may be thrown off as your baby may start to wake up a lot more at night.
Teething and Bedtime
During daytime, your baby is engaged with the world around him – as he starts to recognize faces, shapes, colors, learns cause and effect, uses his motor skills, he will likely be distracted from the teething discomfort. However, night time has minimal distractions and that is when your baby may be more aware of his teething pains. If left alone, the soreness in his gums, or even the increased amount of drool on his body can certainly wake him up. Here are 5 tips to help your baby sleep through the night!
#1 Stick to the same bedtime routine
It is best to stick to the same bedtime routine rather than randomly changing his nap time during the day or bedtime at night. Routine such as taking a bath, cuddling, reading a book to your baby or playing soft music should still continue as per normal. Also be sure that night time is calm and not too exciting!
#2 Chilled soft foods
A chilled teething toy may make your baby a little too excited for a night of peaceful sleep. Instead choose soft chilled foods like banana (if he has started on solids), or a chilled washcloth to soothe his gums. If your baby is eating less during the day, you may want to choose various types of chilled soft foods for an evening snack.
#3 Absorbent cloth
If your baby is drooling excessively, you may want to place an absorbent cloth (that is safe to chew on) under his chin to prevent discomfort from the wetness. Also moisturize your baby after bedtime, and apply a hypoallergenic moisturizer on his face and neck to add more protection from the irritation that may come with prolonged contact with the drool. Do not tie a teething ring around your baby’s neck, as there can be risk of strangulation, choking or certain parts of the teething ring being punctured in the middle of the night.
Check with your doctor on the pain relief medication that your baby can take. Also ask how long the pain relief is expected to last (usually 4 to 6 hours), or try it out a few nights and note the timing. You should time giving the pain relief medication before your baby usually wakes up crying and time with his milk feed so that your baby will not have to wake up again for his feeding. Always let your doctor know how much medication your baby has been taking as you want to be sure that it is not excessive.
#5 Calming measures
You may have to cuddle your baby more at night, change his diaper more frequently (due to more saliva swallowed) or help massage his gums before putting him back to bed. Make sure your fingers are clean or use a moistened gauze to massage his gums.
If your baby’s lack of sleep does not seem related to teething, or his crankiness, reduced appetite or low grade fever persists even after his teeth grows out, you should bring your baby to see the pediatrician and discuss if there could be other medical conditions.