Is your baby teething? Let’s talk about how to soothe a teething baby, both at night and throughout the day.
Ugh. Teething. I swear it’s the devil. For. Real.
Dealing with a teething baby is one of the worst parts of parenting. Right up there next to potty training, seriously. It’s an uncomfortable time.
Actually teething is probably worse than potty training. Because at least with potty training you go through it ONCE and then you have the reward of being DIAPER FREE.
Babies get a LOT of teeth. And each time it’s painful. And not fun for anyone, Mom included.
So, yes, teething is THE worst part of parenting. Period. Nothing comes close.The reality is, teething is just something you have to get through. I hope these tips help you (and your baby) survive teething and make the process easier to handle… but no amount of tips or tricks or products will make teething any less of a difficult time. So just grin and bear it (get it, grin like with your teeth).
Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links.
When do baby’s teeth start coming in?
Teething can start at various ages. Some babies are born with their milk teeth, other babies don’t get them until they’re over one year of age. But according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, most babies start teething around six months of age and have their first full set of teeth by 30 months, or about 2 and a half years of age.
Signs of Teething
There are some telltale signs that your baby may be entering the teething stage:
- Fussiness and Irritability
- Eating Issues (often refusing to eat solid foods, but sometimes wanting to eat for comfort)
- Biting (especially with nursing)
- Sleep Issues (including waking up in the middle of the night)
- Pulling Ears
- Ear Infections
- Excessive Chewing (wanting everything in their mouth!)
- Rash (usually around the mouth but some of my kids even get a light rash elsewhere too)
- Low-Grade Fever (people say it’s not related but ALL MY KIDS get a low-grade fever with teething. If your baby starts running a high fever, with a high temperature of over 100.4 F, it’s probably unrelated.)
- Runny Nose
- Loose Stools (another one that “they” swear isn’t related but it happened with my kids consistently!)
Household Tips for Easing Teething Pain
Some babies struggle with teething more than others. Some act normal and just fine and bam! There is a new tooth peeking through baby’s gums!
Others have teething symptoms for weeks or months before finally getting that tooth.
It truly varies by each baby and the way they handle that first tooth is a good indicator of how other new teeth will affect them (and you!)
Here are top tips to help your baby with their teething pain:
- Clean finger: Put pressure on the gums, even just running your finger along the gums may be a pain reliever.
- Frozen washcloth: wet a washcloth with cold water and freeze it. This is comforting for baby’s sore gums and free! Chewing a cold washcloth is a great way to help alleviate the pain.
- Wet washcloths: in a pinch, even a washcloth run under cold water can help sooth baby’s mouth.
- Sleep comfort: Break the “rules” a bit when it comes to sleep. Offer comfort when baby wakes and help them ease back into sleep.
- Adjust sleep schedule: Some babies need extra sleep when teething, adjust the schedule to allow the extra sleep as needed.
- Comfort object: Have a comfort object for your baby that they LOVE and allow them to have lots of snuggles with their special friend!
- Cold food: can be a wonderful relief for babies who are eating solids. Frozen peas are a great one!
- Warm bath: a lukewarm bath can help soothe a teething baby, especially if they experience a low-grade fever like my kids did
- Take a break: I know this isn’t helpful for the baby exactly, but a teething baby can really push your patience levels…ask for help and get out of the house so you can stay sane!
Products to Help Relieve Teething Pain
I’m a big fan of baby products that help make life easier.
Teething relief items? Load. Me. Up.
I’ve had FOUR kids go through teething and I have many favorite teething products!
- RaZ-Berry Silicone Teether: This is my FAVORITE. I keep these in ALL of my diaper bags!
- Baby Banana Infant Training Toothbrush and Teether: I also keep this in my diaper bag. My 18 month old LOVES it. I love that it’s also helping to brush the teeth at the same time as offering teething relief.
- Cooling Teething Ring: These are great to keep in the fridge to offer instant cooling relief!
- Sophie the Giraffe: A super popular baby toy that is also great as a teething toy (although annoying with the constant squeaking!)
- Amber Teething Necklace: Personally I haven’t ever used one and just don’t feel super comfortable about them but I know many, many people SWEAR by them!
- Teething Necklace for Mommy: I’ve seen these as well and think there are many cute designs of them, but personally I just don’t want my children to think it’s okay to chew on Mommy’s jewelry 😉
Be sure to do your research and make sure that whatever you use isn’t a choking hazard for baby!
Over The Counter Relief Options for Teething Baby
There are countless over the counter products aimed at helping to reduce the pain that comes with teething.
Many people have opinions when it comes to the best way to relieve teething pain.
Some are against numbing agents. Some swear by them.
Some love amber teething necklaces. Some say they are a placebo.
It’s truly a personal choice and up to YOU as the parent to decide what works best for you!
Here are over the counter teething relief options and my thoughts on each:
- Infant Tylenol: Tylenol is safer for babies under 6 months old and your pediatrician can give you the appropriate dosage amounts based on the weight of your baby.
- Infant IBProphen: Typically I have found this works better for pain relief for my kids, but you have to be VERY careful about how frequently you give it (be sure to follow instructions for proper dosage).
- Teething Tablets: I’ve always been a fan of Hyland’s Teething Tablets and find they are very effective in relieving teething pain. I know there have been recalls over the years on this product and I believe the issues have been sorted out with the new products on the market today!
- Infant Orajel: teething gel is controversial regarding the numbing of the gums but I use it sparingly and right before sleep times and it can be helpful in allowing baby to relax. And now it comes in a single-use little q-tip form so application is a breeze!
- Punkin Butt Oil: I had a friend recommend this to me and I’m all about trying ANYTHING when it comes to teething! It helped!
- Essential Oils: Everyone has their favorite brand but each one offers an option that can relieve teething…ask your favorite oily mama (or the millions on Facebook) and I’m sure she can recommend one!
Again, do your research and make sure the products you choose are safe for baby! The American Dental Association and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration both warn against using any teething products with benzocaine in them, which is extremely harmful to babies!
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How Teething Impacts Baby’s Sleep
As you can see, each baby is different in how they respond to the teething process. This is also true when it comes to how teething may or may not impact baby’s sleep.
When their first teeth erupt babies may struggle to sleep. The pain may prevent your baby from being able to get comfortable or fall asleep. They may wake early from naps or stop sleeping through the night due to the pain.
Much like having a gassy baby, the sleep disturbances that come with having a teething baby can wreck havoc on a solid sleep schedule.
However, though lack of sleep does happen, often the opposite is true of teething babies. Often the pain from having teeth erupt through the baby gums cause them to require more sleep.
A teething baby may show signs of sleepiness way earlier than nap time. They may oversleep and not want to wake up at feeding time. A teething baby may just truly require additional sleep in order to get through the pain they are experiencing.
It is important to be flexible with the baby’s schedule during times of teething. Just like with a wonder week a baby may need extra comfort, extra cuddles, and a more flexible sleep schedule until that tooth is in and they are back to themselves.
If your teething baby is sleeping more during the day and waking in the night it is okay to go in and soothe a teething baby at night. Always start as you mean to go on with having baby begin the night in their crib with their white noise and dark room and then, if baby wakes, go in and offer comfort.
Pick the baby up and just hold him or her close to your chest for a few minutes and then lay baby back down. Often when a baby is waking due to teething pain he or she just needs a reminder that Mommy or Daddy are here and that it’s all going to be okay.
If the night wakings continue due to the teething pain then offer pain relief. If my baby’s wake due to teething pain one night then I go ahead and offer pain relief as part of their bedtime routine for a few nights in a row. Help your teething baby sleep by being ahead of the pain with pain reliever medicine or tablet or one of the other methods for soothing sore gums associated with tooth eruptions.
The important thing to keep in mind is that teething is just a season and soon the tooth will be in, the pain will stop, and baby will go back to sleeping through the night. It is very important to try to stick as closely to the consistent routine and schedule as possible, even during these times of sleep regressions.
You don’t want to create a bad sleep habit or break the hard work you’ve put in with establishing a solid sleep routine for your baby! Stay as consistent as possible with sleep training while also helping baby get through the tough teething moments. Soon, the sleepless night will end and YOU and baby will be sleeping soundly again!
The wonderful day comes where your baby’s first tooth FINALLY COMES! Praise the LORD! Teething is OVER!
But then, good news…they get the second tooth. And the third.
And if you’re SUPER lucky they get several teeth erupting at ONE TIME.
Load up on the chocolate sister. Find a binge-worthy show.
Figure out what helps you stay SANE because teething is no joke and when it finally ends…then they start losing them and needing braces which is a whole other level of fun!