Is your usually sweet and happy baby suddenly cranky, drooling everywhere and having trouble sleeping? If so, teething may be to blame. Teething is one milestone that is no fun for baby or mom and dad. Unfortunately, it is also one that can repeatedly cause problems since
babies typically begin teething around 6 months and don’t usually have a full set of 20 teeth until around 3 years of age. If you’re in the throes of teething or think you may be soon, read on to learn the common signs of teething, as well as tips for soothing your baby and helping her
rest more comfortably.
Teething can sometimes be tricky to identify since many of the signs and symptoms overlap with other common childhood issues such as ear infections and the common cold. Key signs of teething to be on the lookout for include:
• Difficulty sleeping
• Refusing to eat
• Chewing/biting on things
• Rubbing face and ears
Once you’ve determined that your baby is indeed teething, follow these four steps for making her more comfortable at naptime and bedtime (and hopefully helping you catch more zzzs too!).
Give baby cold foods before bedtime.
If baby is old enough to have solid foods, you may consider giving her age-appropriate cold foods prior to sleep times. This might include yogurt or cold fruits or vegetables. The temperature of the food will help to slightly numb the baby’s gums and provide some relief from the pain of teething. This will (hopefully) translate to a more restful night of sleep.
Use frozen teethers prior to bedtime.
Similar to giving baby cold foods prior to rest times, frozen teethers are another great option for calming babies. The teether will satisfy her need for biting and chewing on something, and the temperature will numb the gums so that she can rest more peacefully.
Create a calm environment for sleep.
This one may seem obvious, but sometimes parenting a teething baby (or any baby, for that matter!) can be difficult and frustrating, and we let it show. Try to stay calm and soothing, especially as you are putting the baby down to sleep. This will give her the comfort and reassurance she needs. Be sure that baby has any age-appropriate comfort objects, as this can also make the process of putting her down to sleep a bit easier. Keep the nursery dark and comfortable temperature and consider using white noise or other sound machines, if you don’t already.
Stay consistent with feeding and sleep routines.
Most importantly, it is critical to stay consistent with any routines baby is used for eating and sleeping. Don’t let this phase of teething convince you to change up your routine or do things you normally wouldn’t (for example, bringing the baby into sleep in your bedroom). While it isn’t a fun one, teething is just a phase and it will pass. Once it does, you don’t want to be stuck with a new bedtime habit you’re not comfortable with.
When all else fails, just remember that teething doesn’t last forever, and your baby WILL sleep through the night again soon enough. So, find a binge-worthy show, stock up on books from the library or pour yourself a glass of wine. You will make it through too.