Teething babies and toddlers often have a more difficult time falling asleep and staying asleep for several reasons. Their gums are sore, they have excess saliva, often causing a facial rash that may also be sore. They often have runny noses, making it more difficult to breathe deeply for sleep. So, even babies who had been sleeping soundly for some time may start to wake up in the middle of the night again. Many parents have asked the question, “Why, just when my baby started being able to sleep through the night, did she have to start teething?”
As unfortunate as the timing may be, however, it’s all a normal part of the growing process. When our bodies go through changes, they are often painful. While there are no sure fire remedies to make sure that you won’t have to endure any more sleepless nights, here are a few things you can try with baby that might help her to sleep more soundly during teething:
- While she is awake, make sure to wipe the drool from her chin regularly. This may seem like a losing battle, but keeping the saliva off the chin could save her an irritating rash.
- If he does develop a rash, use one of several balms and salves available over the counter. Alternately, you can use a little petroleum jelly.
- Give baby acetaminophen for pain. Consult your pediatrician and the medicine label for appropriate dosages. It can be a good idea to arrange the times that you administer acetaminophen so that baby is getting a dose an hour or so before his normal sleeping times.
- Chill baby’s pacifier if she uses one, and offer it to her at sleep times. If your baby uses a pacifier, make sure to keep a couple extras in the refrigerator or on ice so that you have a fresh cold pacifier if baby wakes up. A good way to do this is to fill a drinking glass with ice and set the pacifier on top. The pacifier will float in the ice cold water, keeping it at a temperature just above freezing. (Avoid actually freezing pacifiers, as the plastic could crack.)
- Use one of the oral gels designed specially for babies. Ask your pediatrician which kind she recommends.
- Be ready to give baby lots of extra love, attention and understanding as she goes through a time that’s as tough for her as anyone else.