When your baby is teething, the household is often turned upside down. The once cheerful and bubbly baby is now fussy, drooling, and irritable.
This period of teething is a significant milestone in your baby’s life, but it can be quite challenging for parents, especially when it disrupts the baby’s sleep schedule.
For many parents, the questions that often arise include, “Do teething babies sleep less?” or “Does teething affect my baby’s sleep schedule?”
To help you navigate this teething phase with more understanding and less stress, we’ve compiled everything you need to know about the teething baby sleep schedule, sleep regression, remedies, and myths.
Teething and Baby Sleep: The Connection
Teething is a natural process that every baby goes through.
It can start as early as three months or as late as the first birthday, with the most common age being around six months.
The process continues until your baby has a complete set of 20 baby teeth, usually by the age of three.
During teething, your baby’s body is undergoing significant growth and development.
This is accompanied by pain, discomfort, and a host of other symptoms, such as excessive drooling, swollen gums, and a strong urge to chew on anything solid.
These symptoms can vary from one baby to another, with some babies experiencing mild symptoms, while others have a more challenging time.
But how does teething affect your baby’s sleep?
Well, the discomfort and pain from teething can disrupt your baby’s sleep patterns.
It can make it difficult for your baby to fall asleep or stay asleep. Some babies might even wake up more frequently at night due to discomfort.
However, there are also cases where a teething baby might sleep more than usual.
Do Teething Babies Sleep Less?
Generally, teething can disrupt a baby’s sleep. But does it necessarily mean that teething babies sleep less? Not always.
While many parents report that their babies sleep less during teething, some babies sleep more.
This might sound counterintuitive, given the discomfort and pain associated with teething, but it does happen.
Teething can sometimes cause low-grade fevers and symptoms similar to having a cold.
This can make your baby feel under the weather, and as a result, they might sleep more to recover and fight off the discomfort.
However, if your baby is sleeping excessively or if there are any drastic sleep changes, it’s a good idea to consult their pediatrician to rule out any potential medical issues.
Baby Teething Sleep Regression: A Temporary Phase
Teething can also lead to what is known as sleep regression.
This is when your baby, who previously had regular sleep patterns, suddenly starts waking up more during the night or has difficulty falling asleep.
It’s important to note that sleep regression during teething is a temporary phase.
Once the teeth have erupted, and the discomfort subsides, your baby’s sleep patterns should return to normal.
Teething Sleep Solutions: Providing Relief and Comfort
If your baby’s sleep is disrupted at night by teething, there are several ways you can provide relief and help them sleep better.
- Teething Rings or Teethers: These are designed to be chewed on and can provide relief for sore gums. You can also refrigerate them for added comfort.
- Cold Items: Anything cold can help soothe your baby’s gums. You can give your baby a cold washcloth, spoon, or chilled foods like yogurt.
- Pressure: Applying pressure to your baby’s gums can help ease the pain. You can do this by gently massaging their gums with your clean finger.
- Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers: If your baby’s discomfort is severe and other home remedies aren’t helping, you might consider giving them a pain reliever like acetaminophen (Tylenol), but only after consulting with your pediatrician.
Remember, it’s crucial to maintain your baby’s bedtime routine as much as possible, even during teething.
Consistency can help your baby sleep better and adjust to the changes happening in their body.
Baby Teething Sleep Aids: What to Avoid
While there are several effective remedies to help your teething baby sleep better, there are also things you should avoid.
For instance, avoid using any over-the-counter teething gels or tablets that contain benzocaine.
This ingredient can be harmful to your baby and cause a condition called methemoglobinemia, which reduces the level of oxygen in the blood.
Also, avoid using teething jewelry made from amber, silicone, or wood.
These items can pose a choking hazard and increase the risk of infection.
Teething Sleep Tips: Navigating the Teething Phase
Teething can be a challenging time for both babies and parents.
But with patience and understanding, you can help your baby navigate this phase with less stress and discomfort.
Here are some teething sleep tips to keep in mind:
- Maintain a Consistent Bedtime Routine: A routine can help your baby understand that it’s time to sleep, even if they’re uncomfortable from teething.
- Create a Comfortable Sleep Environment: Make sure your baby’s room is quiet, dark, and at a comfortable temperature.
- Offer Comfort: If your baby is fussy or uncomfortable, offer comfort by cuddling, singing, or reading a story.
- Be Patient: Remember that teething is a temporary phase. Your baby’s sleep patterns should return to normal once the teeth have erupted.
Baby Teething Sleep Remedies: Additional Tips
Aside from the usual remedies, there are other ways you can help your teething baby sleep better.
- Wiping Drool: Teething can cause excessive drooling, which can lead to skin irritation. Regularly wipe your baby’s face to keep them comfortable.
- Using a Humidifier: Dry air can further irritate your baby’s already sensitive gums. A humidifier can help keep the air in your baby’s room moist.
- Dressing Your Baby Comfortably: During teething, your baby might feel warmer than usual. Dress them in light, comfortable clothes to help them sleep better.
Teething Sleep Problems: When to Consult a Pediatrician
While teething is a normal part of your baby’s development, it’s important to consult a pediatrician if your baby shows signs of severe discomfort, vomiting, high fever, diarrhea, or if they’re sleeping excessively.
Remember, teething by itself doesn’t cause severe symptoms.
If your baby seems unusually unwell, it’s always a good idea to get a medical opinion.
Teething Sleep Training: Can It Help?
If your baby’s sleep is severely disrupted by teething, sleep training can be an option.
However, it’s important to note that sleep training during teething might be more challenging, as your baby might be more resistant due to discomfort.
It’s advisable to consult with a pediatrician or a sleep consultant before starting any sleep training program during teething.
Teething Sleep Myths
Several myths about teething and sleep can cause unnecessary worry for parents.
Here are a few common ones:
- Myth 1: Teething causes high fever and diarrhea.
Fact: While teething can cause a slight increase in your baby’s temperature, it doesn’t cause high fever or diarrhea.
- Myth 2: All babies sleep less during teething.
Fact: While many babies do sleep less during teething, some actually sleep more.
- Myth 3: Teething causes severe illness.
Fact: Teething doesn’t cause severe illness. If your baby seems unusually unwell, you should consult a pediatrician.
Wrapping it Up
Teething is a significant milestone in your baby’s life, but it can be a challenging time for both parents and babies.
Understanding how teething affects your baby’s sleep schedule can help you navigate this phase with less stress and more understanding.
Remember, every baby is unique, and the impact of teething on their sleep can vary.
Some babies might sleep less, while others might sleep more.
What’s important is to provide comfort, maintain a consistent bedtime routine, and consult a pediatrician if you notice any severe symptoms.
Teething is a temporary phase. With patience, understanding, and a dash of humor, you and your baby will come through this milestone with flying colors.
And before you know it, your little one will be flashing a beautiful, toothy grin!