Teething can be a difficult time for both you and your child. It's heart-wrenching to see your little one uncomfortable and in pain, so you're searching for remedies. This can be an especially difficult time if everyone's sleep is being affected. Your child might wake up repeatedly during the night, and it can be overwhelming trying to soothe them back to sleep. Plan ahead with these top tips and get a little extra shut-eye for you and your little one.
1) Don't Let Them Get Overtired
Kiddos always get fussier when they're tired, so it's even more important during teething to keep them well-rested. Make sure your child gets their naps in during the day and goes to bed on time, avoiding any stimulating activities before bed.
2) Comfort Them Before Bed
Teething discomfort can be more intense at night because children are exhausted and have fewer distractions. Provide as much soothing comfort as you can during bedtime, whether it's breastfeeding or a bottle or a nice warm bath.
3) Rub Their Feet
Giving your little one a gentle foot massage is a comforting touch that can be just what they need to relax back into sleep during teething discomfort. Stroke from the heel to the ball of the foot using your thumb, then gently squeeze each toe.
4) Be Prepared with Cold Teethers
Having something cold to chew on soothes pain and desensitizes nerves. Whether it's a wet washcloth or a favorite teething toy, make sure you have your supplies clean and ready so you don't have to go hunting for them in the middle of the night. Two things to keep in mind: frozen items are too cold for children's mouths, so use the fridge instead; and never leave your little one at night with a washcloth or teether in their mouth unattended.
5) Massage Their Gums
Applying a little pressure to your child's gums will help ease pain and soothe them back to sleep. Wash your hands first with cold water for a cool temperature sensation in their mouth. Using your finger to massage the gums is convenient at night when you're both exhausted, and you'll be able to feel exactly where the teeth are coming in so you can focus on those areas.
6) Ask Your Pediatrician About Pain Relief
If the pain is not letting up, there's nothing wrong with trying pain medicine to help alleviate your little one’s discomfort enough to get some rest. Also, you may want to avoid over-the-counter teething gels containing benzocaine as they are no longer recommended. Be sure to chat with your pediatrician before starting any medication.
Question: Should I stop sleep training during teething?
Sleep disturbances like teething often pop up when families are trying to establish set bedtime routines. If possible, do everything you can to not let teething disrupt sleep training. There are always going to be issues, reasons or excuses that can throw you off course, so it's important to stick to your schedule and your routine. Of course it's okay to provide comfort when your child wakes during the night, just resist the urge to take them into bed with you or drastically change their sleep habits. You'll get through it!