Babies can begin teething from the age of three months and it can be a challenging time for both you and your little one. The pain and discomfort your child will feel, especially at night time, is sure to keep them up (and you!). However, there are a few things you can do to help your baby get a good night’s sleep around this time…
Tips to help a child sleep during teething
As a new mother, you will receive ample advice on parenting, which is bound to boggle your mind. Your baby will be in intense pain, due to which his sleeping schedule may get disrupted. Therefore, here are some useful tips to get your teething baby to sleep.
Give the Baby Something Cold to Chew On
Cold desensitises nerves and reduces pain. This is why, nowadays, more toy companies are creating rubber or gel-core-based teethers that can be refrigerated. Teethers are special toys, made to be chewed on by teething babies. The pressure on a baby’s teeth, caused by chewing, can provide relief from teething pain. The instinct to begin chewing to reduce the pain of teething is natural in humans and animals.
If you do not have any refrigerator-friendly teething toys, you can substitute it with a clean, frozen cloth, instead. Do not freeze teething toys, as that will make them hard and could hurt your baby’s teeth. Simply chill them before handing them to your baby. Also, always be present to supervise your baby when he is chewing something. Teething toys are designed to be chewed and not swallowed, so keep an eye on your baby.
Massage the Gums
Your baby might refuse to sleep alone when he starts teething. As you lay the baby on the bed, massage his/her gums with your finger. This will ease the pain and help put your baby to sleep. If he/she wakes up in the middle of the night, you can massage the gums again. As you massage your baby’s gums, you will be able to feel where the teeth are coming in. Focus on massaging these areas, in particular. Ensure that your fingers are clean before massaging your baby’s gums.
Give Chamomile Tea
Chamomile tea helps reduce inflammation, soothe stomach aches, boost immunity, promote relaxation, and induce sleep. Giving chamomile tea to a teething baby will provide relief from teething pain and even induce sleep. Chamomile tea can be given to a baby through a feeding bottle at room temperature or when mildly warm. You can even soak a clean rag in chamomile tea and freeze it before giving it to your baby to chew on.
However, it should be noted that chamomile tea should not be given to babies who are less than six months of age. You can give it to a baby who has crossed the half-year mark, but it is advisable to consult a doctor before opting for this remedy. Make sure that the chamomile tea is at a slightly cool temperature, but not very cold. Also, while massaging the gums, a clean finger can be dipped into chamomile tea before massage.
Feed the Baby Cold Food Before Bedtime
Cold soothes pain in the gums and a full stomach induces sleep. You can give your baby cold yoghurt or cold fruits and vegetables, such as grapes or boiled carrots. However, keep in mind to give him age-appropriate food, i.e. fruits or veggies that can be chewed properly. An option here would be to buy a mesh feeding bag. This is used to start young babies on solid foods safely, without the risk of swallowing too big a piece, and choking.
Create a Calm Environment
To make your baby sleep, it is important that you set a sleeping schedule. When babies have a set pattern of sleep, their bodies adjust accordingly. A bedtime routine automatically makes them sleepy as bedtime approaches, as it subconsciously signals that it is time to sleep when certain activities are performed in a set sequence, for a period of time.
It essentially works on the same principles of habit formation. The routine could include a warm bath, changing to pyjamas, reading a short story, singing to your baby, or rocking him in your arms until he falls asleep.
Breastfeeding calms your baby. As your baby begins teething, he might gnaw on your nipples and hurt you. To prevent this, massage your baby’s gums prior to feeding. Breastfeeding is an effective way to soothe your baby and put him to sleep.
Use Pain-killing Medication
This should be your last resort if you’ve tried the other methods, without any positive result. Pain-killers can help alleviate your baby’s pain and put him to sleep. Always consult your doctor before resorting to medication.
Do not buy over-the-counter pharmaceutical products for this. Painkillers such as Ibuprofen have special, diluted formulas made particularly for children and babies. Do not use adult painkillers. Also, consult your paediatrician before giving any medication to your little one.
Can teething make my baby fuss all night?
Parents attribute lots of symptoms to teething, but babies fuss for many reasons. About 20 teeth erupt in babies’ mouths between the ages of 6 months and 30 months. Thankfully, teething won’t keep your child in pain that entire time.
Teething does not cause major sickness or symptoms such as sleepless nights, fever, diarrhea or throwing up. If serious symptoms persist, call your pediatrician’s office. Drooling is also unlikely to be a sign of teething. All babies drool at 4 months of age and we rarely see the first tooth that soon, although it can happen. However, teething does cause minor symptoms like gum discomfort, gum swelling, and teething blisters (bloody, bluish blisters that form right before teeth erupt). Increased biting, mouthing, gum-rubbing, and irritability are other signs.
How long does it take for the first tooth to come out?
There is no exact answer as to how long it takes for the first tooth to cut through, however, estimates are that teething can occur over an 8-day period. Symptoms may begin to occur around 4 days before a tooth begins to erupt. However, this can vary from child to child and the tooth may take longer or shorter than this time to erupt. Sometimes babies can grow multiple teeth at once, so it may seem like teething is taking a lot longer.
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FirstCry Parenting. 2021. 7 Useful Tips on How to Get A Teething Baby to Sleep. [online] Available at: <https://parenting.firstcry.com/articles/7-tips-to-soothe-a-teething-baby-to-sleep/> [Accessed 20 July 2021].
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