Oh Baby - We're Teething
Your baby's such an amazing sleeper! But suddenly started waking up several times a night and crying. Do you suspect that teething is the culprit? How do you know if this is really the case, and what can you do to help your baby feel better and sleep better?
The process of teething is a common reason that toddlers have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. Think back to last time you had a toothache, headache, sore arm, or stiff neck. Any of these discomforts can disrupt your ability to sleep, just as teething can disturb a child's rest.
Toddlers can't always tell us what the problem is. They simply feel uncomfortable but don't understand why, so they cry or fuss. Often this behaviour starts long before you see a tooth pop out, so it can be hard to tell whether teething is contributing to your child’s sleep issues.
You can't compare one child's teething experience to another's. Some children have no visual indication of a tooth coming until a pearly white pops through. Others have swollen gums that are purple, red, white, or bumpy. They chew incessantly, wine constantly and wake frequently at night. Some children have more difficulty with eyeteeth and molars than they had with earlier teeth, this is because of the location and size difference.
A number of typical symptoms accompanied the teething process:
- Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
- Runny nose
- Rash around the mouth or on the chin
- Red cheeks
- Biting, mouthing, and chewing on anything
- Rejecting the breast or bottle
- An increased need to suck
- Swollen, discoloured gums
- Softer than usual bowel movements
- Evidence of pain all the way up to the jaw or ear.
Some parents report that a slight fever, diarrhea, vomiting, or diaper rash a company teething.... but these symptoms also may signal an infection or virus, they should always be reported to your healthcare provider.
How to help your child to feel better
If you suspect that your child is teething, here are some things you can do to help relieve her discomfort so that she can relax enough to sleep.
- Give her a clean, cold, wet, wash cloth to chew on
- Let her chew on a teething ring that is either room temperature, or chilled in the refrigerator, but never frozen as it may cause cracking
- If your child uses a pacifier, try chilling it and see how he likes that
- Frequently and gently pat his chin dry
- Offer a cup of cold water
- Rub his gums with a clean, wet finger
- Use a soft toothbrush specifically made for baby
- Make a frozen treats from apple juice, breast milk, or yogurt
- Fill a small paper cup, a shape sorter toy peace, or an ice cube tray, and use a small plastic spoons for a stick
- Dab petroleum jelly or a gentle salve on your babies chin or neck in the drool area
- Breast-feed often, for comfort as well as nutrition
- Avoid teething biscuits, as these are really designed for younger, toothless babies. Order babies or toddlers with teeth can bite of pieces that become choking hazards. For the same reason don't offer hard foods like carrot sticks or apple slices unless under direct and constant supervision.
Over-the-Counter Pain Relief
The pain relief products for teething that are available over-the-counter can be quite potent. Put a dab on your lip and you'll notice a tingly/numbing feeling. The ointments can also numb your child's tongue and lips, and they wash out of the mouth quickly, so they don't bring lasting relief. Therefore, use these sparingly and only with an OK from your healthcare professional, who can also tell you about homeopathic teething tablets, acetaminophen and ibuprofen.