Our guest blog by The Daddy Sleep Consultant – Chris McFadden is here to help!
Teething is pants! I just thought I’d start with that because it really is. In fact it’s pants for everyone! Not only is your baby in discomfort, it’s also hard for us parents as it’s so stressful seeing them upset and not knowing what to do for the best.
Before I was a Dad, I thought teething happened for a short period of time. I’d heard from parents about how hard teething could be but I assumed it came and went whilst a tooth was pushing through and that was that until the next one and the next one, eventually my son would have a string of pearly whites to be proud of. How wrong was I?!
There are some common signs that your little one is teething. Are they irritable or fussy? Are their little cheeks flushed and rosy? Are they drooling excessively and want to chew on EVERYTHING? If so, it’s likely they are teething. But if they show any signs of a rash or fever, or diarrhoea alongside these symptoms then it might be something else and you should contact your GP.
Teething can upset different elements of our baby’s day. Their poop can become looser, they can go off their food and it can impact their sleep – and it’s the latter that I am here to try and help you with. Below are some of my key strategies to help ensure sleep is not impacted by teething:
- Keep your bedtime and day routine as consistent as possible. There is research to suggest that when your little one has less sleep it actually reduces their pain threshold and their tolerance to teething. Even though they may be clingier, making sure they go down for their scheduled naps and at the appropriate bedtime will give them the best opportunity of rest and recovery.
- Gently rub their little gums. A small amount of pressure in a circular motion can soothe their sore mouth. They may start to gnaw your finger. Be careful if they already have some teeth in there… those little gnashers can be razor sharp!
- Hard food can also be a great way to sooth your little ones gums. Make sure what you are offering is age appropriate. One great product is Bickiepegs, 100% natural teething biscuits which I gave to my son right before day naps. He would chew down on them and it relieved his gums to help him before sleep.
- Try not to introduce sleep associations. Sleep associations are things we do to help our baby get to sleep or back to sleep. They can be anything such as rocking, patting or feeding specifically for comfort, not nourishment. The key to a baby sleeping through the night is their ability to self-soothe, so that they can fall to sleep and back asleep on their own in the night. Remember, your baby will teethe on and off for around 2-3 years and they should be able to sleep through the night from about 6 months onwards. Teething is unlikely to be the reason your baby can not sleep as well as expected.
- When it gets bad, give them additional support in the night. By this I mean when your baby has red, swollen gums with the tooth visible about to poke through. Extra comfort can really help your little one if they become upset in the night with their teeth. A big cuddle or some rocking to help your baby soothe is fine; just make sure you put them back into the cot content but awake to try and avoid those sleep associations I mention above.
Teething can cause hiccups to sleep but do not put off sleep training until it passes, as its not a barrier to sleep! A baby that has learnt the skill of self-comfort will sleep through most teething irritations.
More about me – The Daddy Sleep Consultant As a baby and toddler sleep consultant, my main aim is to get babies sleeping better and longer. I specialise in designing gentle sleep training programmes for your little ones. I work with families one on one and spend time getting to know you and making sure the sleep solution that we agree upon works for you. I give you unlimited support until you have achieved your sleep goals, which is often to get your baby sleeping through the night.I also have a series of age-specific online training courses with step-by-step sleep training programmes, day and bedtime routines, troubleshooting and much more. These courses are packed with videos so you feel like I’m with you every step of the way. For more information please visit www.thedaddysleepconsultant.com or visit me on my social media pages@thedaddysleepconsultant.