If there is one thing that can really interfere with a baby sleep schedule, it’s teething. Find out how to care for your teething baby.
Parents will tell you that teething will be the main thing that disturbs your baby’s sleep; even those who were previously sleeping through the night will often wake up frequently when a new tooth is coming through.
Did you know that your baby’s teeth start to develop while she is still in the womb? The first tiny buds that will be teeth appear from as early as six weeks after conception. However, they don’t start to break through your baby’s gums until they are around four to six months old.
Signs and symptoms of teething
There are several signs that your baby’s teeth are starting to break through the gums;
- Red cheeks (sometimes just on one side)
- Dribbling more than usual
- Not sleeping well
- Nappy rash
- High temperature
Some of these symptoms can be mistaken for other health problems but what’s important is that you don’t ignore any of these signs; if you think your baby may be unwell, don’t put it down to ‘just teething’. If in any doubt, call your doctor.
Babies are likely to be clingy and will want to breastfeed more for comfort. This usually lasts around seven days until the tooth pops through.
Simple ways to help your teething baby to sleep
To help your baby get a good night’s sleep, there are few things you can do;
- Before a nap, put teething gel on the gums and offer some teething powder or granules.
- At night, offer ibuprofen solution – this works better and lasts longer than paracetamol.
- Give water in the night, as they will get thirsty due to dribbling.
- When they wake in the night, give them cuddles to reassure them and then try to settle them back down after giving more teething gel.
How long does teething go on for?
Each tooth takes a while to come through. Some pop through with seemingly little fuss while others can cause great pain and distress. They should all have appeared by your child’s third birthday but don’t worry if your child seems to be before or behind others her age; all babies are different.
How can I help my baby with the pain and discomfort of teething?
Every baby is different, so use a little trial and error to discover what helps. There are teething rings and toys available and some can be cooled in the fridge, which may help with the discomfort. Keep one in the fridge, one sterilising and one that baby is using. Cool fruit and vegetables or pieces of toast are also quite good after six months of age (make sure you always supervise your baby with food). Sugar-free teething gel and a painkilling liquid suitable for babies may also be used. Make sure you follow the instructions.
Teething problems – when to see the dentist
Sometimes one of your baby’s teeth doesn’t come through properly, leaving a blueish fluid-filled sac or a small, raised area. If this happens, do consult a paediatric dentist. If your baby sems unwell, do call your GP or Health Visitor for advice.
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