Managing the Teething and Sleep Habits of Your Baby

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There are countless pleasures a new bundle of joy brings to parents' lives. A lack of sleep isn't one of them. Most parents-to-be understand what's ahead: long, sleepless nights that leave you dragging the next day. When those long nights arrive, it can be easy to get caught up in your own tired haze and you may fail to realize there's a reason your little one isn't sleeping well. Teething is one potential cause of your newborn not sleeping at night. As you'll come to understand, teething and sleep don't mix well.

Teething Signs and Symptoms

If your baby suddenly struggles with sleeping through the night, they could be teething. Besides sleepless nights, there are other clues that will let you know for sure.

  • Cranky: As their teeth continue to cut through the gumline, your baby could go through stretches of irritability due to the pain.
  • Drooling: If your baby's mouth is working overtime producing saliva, a tooth might not be that far behind.
  • Facial rash: A by-product of excess drooling can be a rash on your baby's face or chin. A gentle moisturizer may alleviate some of their discomfort.
  • Decreased appetite: Your baby might be hesitant to eat since the sucking action, whether from nursing or a bottle, can create some oral discomfort.
  • Swollen gums: Gums can become inflamed and sensitive as teeth begin the eruption process.

Teething and Sleep Remedies

Teething doesn't have to be a sentence of sleepless nights followed by exhausting days. If you can get your baby to sleep by alleviating the pain, then that clears the path for you to get some valuable shut-eye. The Baby Sleep Site has a few ideas as to how to accomplish the feat.

Start with one of the most common methods; teether devices. Most of them come in some form of a toy or ring. And many of them are designed to be refrigerated or frozen. The cold sensation can ease your baby's gum pain and allow them to get some valuable sleep. You don't have to use a store-bought teether, though. A cold facecloth will work just as well.

There's also the medicinal route. Ibuprofen and Tylenol can lessen a baby's discomfort. Be sure to consult your child's pediatrician first before resorting to a pain reliever.

Short term measures such as cuddling your baby or rocking them to sleep can also be effective. The fear some parents have with that approach is a regression in the sleep training process. In reality, a couple of nights of bending the rules to help them sleep shouldn't undo the progress you've made in sleep training. Implementing those solutions for weeks on end, though, will probably set your baby back. And that will cost you both sleep in the long run.

One remedy to avoid, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), is the use of homeopathic teething tablets and gels. These products have been known to cause serious health conditions in children including seizures, lethargy, difficulty breathing and difficulty urinating.

When your little ones are old enough, teach them how to brush with the Colgate My First Toothbrush. The toothbrush head is specially sized for small children whose teeth are still developing. And, it's designed with extra soft bristles for gentle, yet effective cleaning.

Ideally, the oral care habits you instill in your children will last into adulthood. That includes brushing at least two times each day. Don't forget to floss after brushing so you can eliminate particles that stick in those hard-to-reach spots. Rinsing with mouthwash is also an effective complement to brushing. Lastly, don't forget to schedule regular checkups with your dentist. They are an authority on whether or not you and your children have healthy mouths.

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Here are some east ways to take care of your baby’s teeth and gums:

  • Before teeth have erupted, clean your baby’s gums and the teeth by rubbing a clean, damp washcloth along the baby's upper and lower gums

  • When your baby has teeth, start brushing your baby’s at least two to three times a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush and water

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As soon as baby teeth erupt it’s important to start taking care of them. Try toothpaste formulated specially for your little ones.