4 symptoms of teething that can affect your baby’s sleep – and what you can do about them
Like all baby milestones, the time at which teething occurs varies dramatically, depending on the baby. For some babies, teeth can appear as early as 3 months or later than their first birthday. However for the majority, teething starts around 6 months with the bottom middle teeth (the lower central incisors) being the first to emerge.
Ironically, for many parents, the start of teething may occur shortly after they have managed to establish a sleep routine with their little one. So what are some of the symptoms of teething that affect a baby’s sleep – and what can you do to lessen the effects?
1. Swollen or red gums: Freezing a Gro-comforter can help as babies love to chew on the knotted corners, and the cold fabric can have a numbing effect on sore gums. (Don’t forget to use a freezer bag when the Gro-comforter is inside your freezer).
2. Increase in nappy rash: A sore bottom can disturb a baby’s sleep, so keep an eye (or nose) on nappies, and use a barrier cream to alleviate any soreness.
3. Going off their food: Try offering chilled foods like yogurt or purees, or increase your baby’s fluids to prevent dehydration – especially as many babies dribble far more when teething.
4. Being more fretful and fussy during the night: Keep your baby comfortable by checking their temperature. The Lullaby Trust suggests that you ‘Feel the baby’s tummy or the back of their neck (your baby’s hands and feet will usually be cooler, which is normal). If your baby’s skin is hot or sweaty, remove one or more layers of bedclothes.’ If you need further guidance on room temperatures and Grobag togs, see our What to Wear guide.
If you have a bedtime routine, try and keep to it if possible, but there is nothing wrong with trying to soothe your baby, or offering them comfort. Although it may feel exhausting at the time, just remember that an emerging tooth is a temporary situation – at least until the next one comes through!