How can I help my teething baby sleep?
That tiny pair of teeth is more than enough to take away your child’s precious sleep. All children will at some point have to pass through the teething phase. For many kids, they normally do so with a lot of cries and fuss. This process might look cute for the parents, but rest assured that it is extremely painful for your baby.
In many cases, the process often proves to be very intense for any guardian to manage without some professional help. While there are children who are able to cruise through the teething process without any discomfort or negligible torment, there are others who have to invest heavily in days filled with torment, uneasiness, and lack of sleep.
What is even more obvious is the fact that the agony and inconvenience associated with this phase mean that no one in that household will get to enjoy their slumber. The child may run a fever lasting for a few days, and may even go for a few nights without enjoying a proper nap. So, how can you make it easier for your teething baby to sleep more soundly?
Symptoms of Baby Teething
When an infant is undergoing this phase, they will normally exhibit a number of signs and symptoms of teething. They include:
- Cheek rubbing and ear pulling
- Teething rash
- Additional fussing (crying more than usual)
- Diarrhea (the extra saliva being swallowed by your child can make her poop more times than is usual)
- Increased night waking or sleepwalking
- Refusal to feed
How Does Teething Impact Sleep?
As the infants’ tooth starts to emerge, the gums surrounding the area where the teeth are emerging are likely to become sore, swollen, and inflamed. Many pediatricians believe that this is what causes the child to start experiencing pain.
At this time, the child’s mouth is also likely to become very sensitive. You may notice that the infant has started to reject her bottle or your breast when feeding her at night. If this happens, try not to worry as your child will definitely catch up on all the feeding times she missed out on when she starts to feel much better.
It is important to note that not all children are the same. There are some who will prefer to feed more frequently during this phase, although they will tend to feed for shorter durations. You may, therefore, come to find that your sleeping patterns will start to be interrupted when the child is in this stage of teeth development.
Tips You Can Use to Put a Teething Baby to Sleep
1. Recognize the Signs Early and Jump into Action
It helps if you are able to recognize the signs early on so that you can start responding accordingly. Being fussy, drooling, ear pulling, rashes, refusal to eat, and loose stools are all indications that your child has entered into the teeth development phase. To be sure, try and feel their gums using your small pinkie finger.
There could be other reasons why your child has suddenly become fussy and is crying all the time. This means that you must be observant. A condition such as an ear infection, skin allergy, and diarrhea can also cause the child to exhibit symptoms associated with teething. In case you are not sure of what is happening, be sure to consult a doctor.
2. Stick to Her Sleeping Schedule and Bedtime Routines
If you need to fix your child’s sleep schedule, please make it a priority while your child is teething. Kids are bound to pass such milestones in varying ways. Some will pass through this phase completely unscathed while others will not be so lucky and will wage an all-out wailing war due to the pain being experienced. In case the child becomes too irritable, consider comforting him or her with some additional attention.
This is that time when your infant may not even be able to nap unless you rock her to slumber. How do you proceed when this occurs? Try and hold your child for a longer duration as he will definitely need all the pampering he can get during this trying and painful period.
However, keep in mind that this stage is often very short, so it will be crucial to ensure that you stick to your regular bedtime routine. The sleep training process should not stop because of the teething phase.
3. Try to Breastfeed Your Child on a Frequent Basis
A mother’s breast will normally give the child additional comfort; this is comfort your child requires to overcome the pain that he or she is experiencing. In case the baby is unwell, you should try and offer them your breasts whenever an opportunity arises.
Cluster feeding usually comes in handy during such times. You can cluster feed your child before dinner to ensure that her sleep will not be interrupted for a longer duration of time. In case the little one has reduced the number of times she is feeding, you can increase your breastfeeding frequency.
Note that even though she may not appear to be interested in nursing, she will definitely be very hungry. Be sure to offer her your breasts as nighttime feeding has been seen to help improve the child’s napping patterns.
4. Try and Cool the Teethers
You can place a few teethers in the refrigerator for cooling purposes. Once cooled, try and offer them to your child one by one. Will this make any difference? A cold soft teether helps to soothe the child’s gums, and this, in turn, helps make your child more responsive to the breastfeeding process.
It will, however, be important to remember that the teethers should never be allowed to freeze. Try and supervise your child every time she places something in her mouth. Alternatively, you can consider giving your child some pain medication.
But before resorting to this, start by consulting your baby’s physician. You will also need to read the instructions on the pain medication and ensure that you follow all of them to the letter. When giving medicine, you are more likely to overdose your child instead of underdosing him or her.
5. Provide a Calm and Relaxing Sleep Environment
You can provide a teething child with a relaxing and calm napping environment by:
- Trying to minimize distractions that may be present in her room. You can achieve this by eliminating background sounds as well as dimming the lights in her bedroom.
- Provide your child with music designed to help babies fall asleep.
- Change her diapers during feeding time, and not when the baby is trying to fall asleep.
- Always make sure that the room temperature is checked every once in a while. Try and select the best clothing for the baby to use when napping. Many child experts recommend that you go with cotton as it is the best. The clothing items need to be soft enough to ensure that they will not cause any kind of friction.
6. Provide Comfort Without Undoing the Gains Made
This may prove a bit difficult, but it will be important for you to try and provide your child with comfort without coming up with new resting propensities. For instance, if you must fortify the propensity to sleep in her crib, refrain from carrying her there while she is experiencing discomfort associated with teething. Instead, you should hold her in your arms until she dozes off, then gently set her back in her den to continue resting.
Although you will need to comfort her when she is in pain, you should not overdo it. In many cases, a single night of co-resting will not undo the gains that have been made with her bedtime routines. The problem will arise when you repeat the co-resting process consistently for two weeks or about fourteen days. When this happens, the child will start to develop a new desire, which will end up setting you back by at least a few weeks.
Should You Use Teething Gels or Other Viable Alternatives?
The gels can help numb the gums a little. However, the gels’ effect tends to be temporary and the gel will every once in a while be moved by the child’s saliva or tongue. So far, there is not much evidence in place to prove that gels are in fact effective, even though many parents claim that they are quite helpful.
If you have to use a gel, make sure that you purchase one that has been specifically designed for babies. Also, ensure that you follow all the instructions that come with the gel. If the process starts before two months, you should check with your general practitioner or pharmacist before you start using the gels.
Viable alternatives for gels include herbal granules or homeopathic powders that are poured into the child’s mouth. If you have to try either of these solutions, make sure that the brand you intend to use does not contain any sugars.
Teething is a very exciting phase. It is a memorable milestone where the baby is very sensitive, hence the need to take as many precautions as possible. There are also instances where the discomfort continues for as long as one or two years. It is difficult to estimate when it will come to an end. The trick, therefore, is to learn to recognize its signs and know how to act to help ease the discomfort.