Teething is part of your baby’s growth and development. Are you wondering if babies sleep more when teething? Or do they sleep less? Is this only temporary and will their sleep normalize when they finish growing their teeth?
What is teething?
Teething, which is the migration of a child’s first teeth to the gum line, is an uncomfortable but not dangerous process. This can be difficult, but do not worry; your baby will soon eliminate them and be able to eat normally once again.
When does teething start?
Between four and seven months of age, a baby’s first tooth is generally discovered. There are six teeth in total, with two on top and two on the bottom at the front of the mouth, as well as two molars at the back near the throat. If your youngster hasn’t yet cut his or her first tooth by one year old, see your doctor about it.
Signs of Teething
The following are signs that your baby is teething:
- Excessive drooling
- Gums that are red or sensitive to the touch and/or painful
- Refusing to eat, particularly those that aren’t chewed much
- Inserting objects or fingers into the mouth
- Redness of skin near the ears or along the diaper area
Teething does not produce a fever or diarrhea, and the teeth are rarely visible. Because infants have no set eating pattern, teething might disrupt nursing.
Signs that your baby is having trouble breastfeeding because of teething include the following:
- He just doesn’t seem interested in nursing, or he’s having a decrease in interest in nursing at times when he usually nurses for longer and more frequently.
- Pulling away from the breast after starting to suckle or becoming fussy while nursing right after waking up from a nap
- Stopping for long periods between feeds (more than 2 hours) causes the mom’s milk supply to “dip” and the baby to want to breastfeed more often.
Moms don’t need to do anything special in response to teething, other than ensure that the infant can put his hand in his mouth as desired.
Do babies sleep more when teething?
Yes, do babies sleep more when teething because the developmental milestones of teething include overabundance or loss of appetite, and babies do eat less. It also makes them irritable and uncomfortable which will make them cry a lot that they lose enough energy to doze off easily. More importantly, do babies sleep more during their teething stage?
It is true your baby may need to take naps more often than usual but do not be too anxious about it. You can put him down for his nap and do not mind if he sleeps longer than usual. This might happen from time to time especially since he has been crying a lot because of discomfort from his teeth pushing out from underneath his gums.
In some cultures, it was actually believed that teething could cause sleep disturbances in babies, but there hasn’t been much scientific evidence to support the theory until recently. Some studies seem to indicate that while some infants do experience some sort of discomfort with teething, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are going to wake up during the night or become cranky and irritable.
A new research article published in Pediatrics may contribute some important information to this debate, however. The Pediatrics study actually suggests that babies do sleep more when they are teething! This may be due to the fact that their discomfort makes it harder for them to sleep anyway, or simply because parents do not respond as much at night. Maybe it’s a combination of these two things.
Researchers also suggest that parents do not have to do anything special when babies are cutting teeth in order to help them get through it with good sleeping habits intact. It is possible teething does affect sleep patterns in some infants, but less so than once thought. And if you do notice changes with your little one, just know that they’re likely temporary and will pass in time.
Home Remedy for Teething
Massaging the Gums
A very common way to ease the pain of teething is to massage your little one’s gums. Use a clean finger and rub in small circles around the swollen gum tissue. This will take away some of the pressure that can come with teeth growing in. You can also use a wet washcloth to rub their gums, but make sure it is not too cold.
A teether ring is a small rubber ring filled with frozen water. It’s perfect for little hands to hold and can provide hours of relief for your baby. Teething rings do not need to be replaced all that often. This is because they can keep their cool temperature for around 30 minutes or so. How much does it cost? You should expect teething rings to be fairly inexpensive. Let your child play with the toy as much as possible. Just make sure it’s age-appropriate—and replace it when it starts to warm up.
Feeding Solid Food
Offer your baby solid food as well as breast milk or formula. If they are not eating solids, they may be cranky because they are hungry. How long will it take? It usually takes a few days for babies to adjust to the new taste and texture of solid foods. So don’t worry if you notice them getting moodier than normal. Check out a related post, “Do babies eat less when teething?“
How should I care for my baby? Just make sure that their mouth is clear of any mucus after feedings. Then, stick to breastfeeding or feeding them formula until their teeth come in. Even if you are breastfeeding, start to offer your child age-appropriate foods because solid foods can help soothe irritated gums.
Consult their Pediatrician
When all else fails, talk to your child’s pediatrician. Ask about the pain relievers and medications that can be applied to their gums to help ease the pain. Don’t apply gels to the gums of your baby.
Is your baby cranky and irritable because of teething? Are you looking for ways to make him more comfortable during this difficult time? If so, please feel free to do some research on your own and do not hesitate to ask your doctor about concerns you have.
Remember that it’s common for babies to sleep a bit longer when they are cutting teeth because of discomfort, but also remember that everyone is different! Since the information gathered from the Pediatrics study was based on an average age group, do not take those results as fact across the board.
Talk to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns, and do your best to remain patient as your little one adjusts to life with her new teeth.