Updated: Mar 15
We tend to put so much blame on rough sleep being due to teething. When I had my first baby as soon as he turned 3-4 months and hands started to go near his mouth and the drooling began, we thought he was teething. Nana would say “oh look, he’s teething – he is chomping on everything and dribbling away!”
Then there was some extra clinginess = must be teething…
Grizzly in the afternoon = must be teething…
Woke early from a nap = totally teething…
Grumpy baby = teething…
Fussy eating = teething…
But nope… he didn’t get his first tooth until 8.5 months!! Around 3-5 months our little ones also become orally fixated so everything gets shoved in the mouth, that’s how they explore. I’m a bit embarrassed to admit how many times I reached for the Pamol as a new mum. I constantly had a teething ring stash, brought the fancy teething necklace, and used bonjela. The reality was, because he obviously couldn’t tell me what was wrong my diagnosis was to often blame teething! It feels like it’s the easy culprit when we can’t explain what’s going on for our little ones.
The truth about teething
Often when sleep issues are resolved and you have a good sleeper then teething symptoms miraculously disappear. Seriously! Many babies aren’t bothered by teething but I know for some they are bothered when the tooth erupts – this typically is as it emerges through the surface and only lasts 2-3 days. However, we cannot blame months of restless sleep on teething!
I hear time and time again how client who were previously ‘poor teethers’ have popped a new tooth yet still slept through! Mums are amazed at the little fuss surrounding a tooth now that there previously rough sleeper has learnt self settling skills.
How long does it last? Our little ones have teeth emerging from 5 months right up until 33 months. That’s a lot of years they are teething for! The pain associated with teething generally only lasts for 24-72 hours prior to the tooth erupting through the gum. Once the tooth has broken through the gum, most of the pain is gone.
What are some of the signs and symptoms that your little one may be teething? - tender and swollen gums – (often you can take a peek and see a little white blob beneath their gums)
- fussiness – they may seem quite irritable
- putting things in their mouths and chomping down hard
- decreased appetite
- drooling – teething stimulates your little one’s gums producing more saliva
What are NOT signs of teething?
· Congestion or cold like symptoms
I’m here to tell you teething doesn’t make your baby sick! I wish I had known this in my many nights spent diagnosing what was going on with my babies! If your baby is showing the above signs, visit your GP as its likely not teething related.
How can we help our little one’s when they are teething?
Chew toys can really help provide relief
Dip a facecloth into water and pop it in the freezer (not till frozen, just till cool and let them suck on this)
Apply some pressure to their swollen gums
Pain relief – again see GP advice here
Don’t use teething beads – these are a big choking hazard!
Consistency is still important with your teething baby – try to keep up your normal routine and same approach to night wake ups. If they are struggling with pain, do what it takes to soothe, provide comfort and be responsive. A few nights won’t derail your awesome little sleeper. If you have been blaming teething for months, reach out. Teething is not likely the reason you are struggling in the sleep department for months on end… good sleep is possible!
If you are finding yourself up all night having to assist your little one back to sleep and have blamed months of poor sleep on teething, reach out and we can have your little one just love sleep in no time. You can check out my packages here.