As a sleep specialist, I hear this a lot….. my baby is not sleeping because he is teething. Well, teething can be the reason, but it’s not ALWAYS the reason. Usually when a baby is teething, there are more tears involved and the baby is in general not feeling well. Because mum is feeling sorry for the baby she starts to rock or pat him or give an extra bottle of milk overnight, give the dummy more often or whatever, it doesn’t matter. Once the teething is over, the baby started to like the extra attention (which is very normal) and he will demand it until he gets it and there the vicious cycle start and you don’t know how to stop it.
When a baby is teething, what you need to do is the following:
- Give the baby a pain killer (like baby Panadol) BEFORE bed. If you don’t give the pain killer and the baby is really teething, he will wake up during the night in pain, you’re going to give the pain killer in any way, now he had broken sleep. Give the pain killer before bed and he is covered for the night.
- Teething gel (Like SM33) helps numbing the gums.
- I’m a great believer in the amber necklace. The amber stone is a natural pain reliever. Both my babies wore them and I never knew when they were teething. I know a lot of mums are scared of strangling. The string is very weak, it will break before your baby gets hurt.
- When your baby cries overnight, just wait a few minutes (5 min) to see if he can’t resettle himself back to sleep. If he doesn’t, attend to him.
- Don’t start rocking or patting your baby if you didn’t do it before. You’re going to keep doing it even if the baby is not teething anymore because he loves it!
- Don’t give bottles overnight after 6 months. Babies don’t need overnight feeding after 6 months they need SLEEP!.. and teething certainly doesn’t make them more thirsty overnight.
- Don’t start co-sleeping. The baby doesn’t need to be co-slept now. He is sleeping better in his cot. If you start co-sleeping, it will take you 2 weeks to get him out again.
If you want to know if your baby is really teething, there are a few ways to check:
- Runny stools
- Hands keep going to the mouth
- You can run your finger along the front edges of the gums. You will feel swollen ridges of pre-teething gums
70% of babies get their teeth according to this guideline:
6 months: Lower central incisors
7 months: Upper central incisors
7.5 months: Lower Lateral incisors
9 months: Upper Lateral incisors
12 months: Lower First Molars
14 months: Upper First Molars
16 months: Lower Canines
18 months: Upper Canines
20 months: Lower second Molars
24 months: Upper second Molars
Good Luck!! Teething can be very challenging!