Teething takes up a huge portion of a child’s life and many people worry about their teething baby’s sleep. Some babies start teething as early as 4-6 months old up and can continue up until they are over 3 years of age. Of course, every baby is different when it comes to exactly when they get their first teeth. My oldest got his first teeth at 7 months old and my youngest son at 11 months old.
What do we know about the first teeth?
The first teeth that normally come through are the 2 bottom teeth, then about 4 or 5 weeks later the 4 upper front ones. About a month after that you can normally expect the bottom lateral incisors (the ones on either side of the 2 front ones).
How do babies react to teething?
Every baby reacts differently to teething – some babies you can tell easily that a new tooth is on the way, whereas others will wake up with a new tooth without a parent noticing any changes to their behavior or other symptoms. Some possible reactions to teething can be:
• Excessive drooling
• Ear rubbing
• Refusal to eat
• Biting (on objects or parents).
Research suggests though, that as a general rule teething doesn’t tend to disrupt sleep too much, except when pushing through the gums. So you can expect that your baby may have trouble sleeping for a day or two as you start to see the tooth is about to pop through, but once it is out they should be fine again. So, if you find your baby unsettled sleep-wise for coming up to a week, it is likely that teething isn’t the culprit. Another thing to consider is your baby’s daytime behavior. If they are coping well in the waking hours, but struggle at sleep times, then teething isn’t likely the answer. A baby struggle with teething is likely to struggle at all times, not just sleep time.
How do you help a teething baby?
- You’ll probably hear all sorts of different advice from parents about what helped their baby from teething gels, homeopathic remedies, to amber necklaces. The tried and true methods that I tend to suggest however are:
- Give baby teething objects to chew on. You can buy ones that you stick in the freezer/refrigerator along with ones that you can use as-is.
- Cold cloths you can let them chew on or rub on their gums. You can put them in the freezer if you like but I don’t suggest freezing until hard.
- At peak pain times, consider Tylenol/Ibuprofen but do check with your pediatrician first.
- Teething gels can help but do check with your pediatrician as well as at times some get recalled due to safety risks.
- Provide hard foods your baby can gum. What you choose will depend on your baby’s age and how safe they are with them.
Good luck with your baby’s teething! I hope they cope well without too much disruption. If you find your baby’s sleep derails for longer than a week around teething time, do reach out because it is possible that teething is no longer the reason and something else is going on that needs to be identified and addressed.