Sleep Difficulty and Teething

If it isn’t one thing, it’s another. You’ll find that’s true for as long as you have children, even after they’ve grown. Your first taste of it will probably be when, just a few short weeks after baby has learned how to sleep through most of the night, she starts getting her first teeth in.

Teething usually starts when baby is somewhere around four months old. Ironically that’s just about the time baby can sleep for more than four hours at a time without waking up hungry.

For many parents, the first couple of teeth (usually the lower middle teeth) can be somewhat of a teaser. The first couple of teeth, because they are sharper, don’t cause baby quite as much discomfort as later teeth do, so babies usually don’t fuss quite as much with the first couple teeth.

Once the other teeth start coming in, be ready to spend some nights soothing the baby again. On a positive note, most babies won’t wake up every night like they did from birth to four months old. When they do wake up, however, they will be uncomfortable from the changes which they have no way of understanding, and will need lots of love and soothing.

Some parents find that the little tricks they learned to help baby fall back to sleep up until now just don’t work so well with a teething baby. Be prepared for this. After the first couple teeth, you’ll have no trouble recognizing the signs that baby is cutting a tooth. Here are some signs that indicate baby might be cutting her first tooth:

  • Problems sleeping
  • Slight fever
  • Cold symptoms, such as runny nose and coughing
  • Gnawing or biting
  • Drooling
  • Chin Rash (from the drooling, usually)
  • Pulling or rubbing cheeks or ears

If you suspect your baby is teething, and you’re having trouble soothing her and getting her to fall back asleep, there are some things you can try. Basically anything that puts counter pressure on the incoming tooth or chills the gums will offer baby some relief. Here are some things you can try:

  • Teething rings or toys. If you chill them in the refrigerator, so much the better.
  • Pacifiers. Again, try chilling one in the fridge or freezer for a little while before giving it to baby.
  • Bottle of cold water
  • Baby Orajel
  • Baby Tylenol

Different babies respond differently, so don’t be afraid to try different things to find out what gives your baby the most relief. She will be going through this several times between now and when she gets the last of her baby teeth (somewhere between two and three years old). Remember she will also need lots of cuddling, rocking, and attention in general while she’s cutting her teeth, too.

What Baby Needs from a Blanket

For the first few months of her life, your baby will sleep more than fourteen hours every day. That means she is going to be spending a lot of time wrapped in or covered by her blankets. Chances are that you received a short ton of home made and store bought blankets at baby showers. But, which ones are best for your baby?

 

There are several things you should look for in a blanket. Here are some of the most important things to look for in baby blankets:

 

  1. Baby’s blanket should be made out of hypoallergenic material. There are several different kinds of hypoallergenic materials available.

 

  1. Baby’s blanket should be made of a breathable material. Cotton is an excellent example of a breathable material. Some synthetics are more breathable than others. The best way to tell if a material is breathable or not is to hold the blanket up next to a fan. If you can feel the breeze through the blanket, the material is breathable.

 

  1. Baby’s blanket should be appropriate for the season. You will want to use a heavier blanket in the winter time than you would during the summer time. In general, babies need one more layer of clothing or covers than we need as adults.

 

  1. There should be no fringes, ribbons, or loose strings on baby’s blanket. Baby can get tangled in anything that is loose, which can make baby uncomfortable and even present a choking hazard. If you do have ribbons on the blanket, make sure they are firmly attached and don’t dangle off the edges of the blanket.

 

  1. Make sure that the blanket is attractive. It may not sound important, but you will probably be spending a lot of time with your baby’s blankets, especially once she starts developing attachments to her favorite blankets. Some babies maintain attachments with their blankets until they are school aged. So, you’ll want to make sure you think the blankets are cute and that you won’t mind having them around for a while.

 

If you have blankets that don’t meet basic safety standards, such as blankets with long ribbons, you can generally save them for when baby is a bit older. Many of the things which present safety issues with babies don’t present nearly as much of a safety issue when your child has grown a bit.

 

 

Transitioning Baby into Dreamland

Making the transition from being awake to being asleep is a hard transition for a baby to make at first. Your baby’s natural inclination is to just sort of go and go until she passes out. Part of your job as a parent is being able to help transition your baby to sleep.

Here are several methods you can use to try to help your baby make that change from being awake and active to being restful and asleep:

  • Feeding. One of the most common ways to put a baby to sleep is with feeding. Nestle your baby close to your body, and breastfeed or bottle feed him as he falls asleep. Move your baby from a warm bath to warm arms to a warm breast or bottle to a warm bed.
  • Fathering. Another way to help your baby transition is for the father to nestle your baby’s head against the front of his neck, gently resting his chin on the top of the baby’s head. The deep vibrations of a male voice, combined with gentle rocking, will help your baby make the transition to dreamland.
  • Wearing down. Some babies are just extremely active. They get so excited and full of energy during the day that they have trouble slowing down at night. You can help your baby wear down by putting him in a sling and bringing him with you around the house for about half an hour before it’s time for bed. When he’s asleep, ease him out of the baby sling into his bed.
  • Swinging. Wind-up swings have been around for decades, and today’s wind-up swings are more friendly than ever. Many even operate on their own power so that you don’t even have to crank it. In some cases, the gentle moving of the seat will help your baby transition to sleep even better than your arms, because the swing is more perfectly rhythmic and, ultimately, less stimulating.
  • Driving. Some babies can’t stay awake in a car seat no matter what. If your baby is one of those, put her in her carseat and driver her around until she falls asleep. Make sure to take her out with a clean diaper and pajamas. You can let her sleep in her carseat until her first waking in the night, after which you can transition her to her bed.

Why Isn’t Baby Sleeping?

If you’re a new parent, it can be extremely frustrating trying to get your baby to fall asleep. Sometimes it seems that, no matter how hard you try or what you do, your baby just doesn’t want to get any rest. Not only does a sleepless baby become a fussy baby, it can also lead to a fussy mom or dad.

Figuring out why your baby won’t sleep is the first step in getting a little shut-eye for both of you. Below you will find some of the most common reasons a baby won’t sleep. While some of these are obvious, they are worth listing. After all, when it’s 3 AM and you haven’t slept more than two hours at a time all week, sometimes the obvious answer eludes you.

Here, then, are some common reasons your baby won’t sleep:

  1. She’s uncomfortable. An uncomfortable baby is an awake baby. There are a number of things that can make your baby uncomfortable. For example, she could have a wet diaper. She could be too warm, or she could be too cold. As far as that goes, the mattress in her crib might even be a bit lumpy. Check for signs of physical discomfort to see if that’s what’s keeping your baby awake.
  2. He’s hungry. Your baby won’t sleep if his belly is rumbling. That’s usually the reason that  a baby wakes up in the middle of the night, of course: to feed. Be watchful here. Sometimes a baby will unintentionally refuse a bottle or breast at first, so it’s often worth trying a second time.
  3. She’s ill. If your baby’s tummy is a little bit sour, or if she has an ear infection, chances are she’s not going to sleep all that well. Check her temperature, and watch for signs like her pulling on her ear. If she’s ill, you need to start trying to figure out what the problem is and whether or not she needs to see a doctor.
  4. He’s overstimulated. If your little one has had a busy day, he may just be working things out. He may need to cry a bit in order to deal with all of the flurry of sensory input. If your baby won’t sleep, it may just be that he’s very awake from all the activity and needs some time to wind down.
  5. She’s colicky. If your baby cries persistently, it can be a sign of colic. Often, a colicky baby won’t sleep. Talk to your health care provider, and look into treatments for colic.

How Gas Interferes with Baby Sleep

One of the most common reasons that some babies seem to be fussy is gas. They get a bubble stuck somewhere in their system and it’s just uncomfortable. They fuss and they fidget until, finally after much prodding, they have a little burp. In some cases, gas can even keep your baby from sleeping.

In fact, the idea that gas can keep your baby from sleeping is so commonly held that, in some countries today, the most common treatment for a colicky baby is simethicone. Simethicone is, very simply, a medicine that is designed to make your baby pass gas.

Simethicone works quite well for some babies. In some instances, a baby’s system just needs a little bit of help getting that bubble up. A few drops of simethicone and the gas that kept your baby from sleeping will go away uneventfully.

Unfortunately, we’re really only talking about a small percentage of babies who can’t sleep that are helped by simethicone.

Fortunately, there are other substances that may help with gas that’s keeping your baby from sleeping. Sodium Bicarbonate, which is the main ingredient in baking soda, can help. This chemical will act to counteract the pH of your baby’s stomach acid, and help to relive gas. Of course, make sure you understand first that sodium bicarbonate isn’t regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, and talk to your baby’s doctor before using it. Never give a baby baking soda out of the box. Instead, there are a number of gripe water products that contain small amounts of sodium bicarbonate that may be able t help.

There are a number of different herbal extracts and essential oils that you may find in gripe water, too, that can calm the gas that’s keeping your baby from sleeping. Here again, these are not regulated and you should talk to your baby’s doctor before using them. Some parents have had limited success with gripe water containing some of these kinds of elements.