Teething and Baby’s Sleep

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.