Is your baby teething? Discover how to get a teething baby to sleep, the tips and products that help, and how to handle the sleep regression.
I can’t remember how many times my baby would fuss and I’d declare, “He must be teething”… only for no teeth to show.
Another fussy episode would pass, and again I’d say, “Okay, now he’s probably teething,” yet still no teeth would poke through. After a while, I got tired of blaming his fits on his teeth.
That is, until the fiasco when, for about half an hour or so, he was inconsolable.
Nothing that normally soothed him worked—not looking out the window, not swaying to music, not even his fire truck. (Which, to its credit, bought me about 30 seconds of calm before he erupted in screaming again.) A quick walk around the neighborhood finally calmed him down. I had never seen him that frantic.
And forget about sleep. He was extra clingy and fussy, including having a fever a couple of nights. He’d wake up every few hours and want my husband or me to comfort him. The pacifier seemed to help him sleep, but he’d get mad later at night because he couldn’t put it back in his mouth.
How to get a teething baby to sleep
No doubt, many babies struggle to fall and stay asleep when they’re teething. Perhaps sleep for you and your family has been more disrupted than usual. Your baby screams in the middle of sleep, and you spot four teeth cutting through all at once.
Being so tired and up all night is only making him sleep horribly during naps as well. Maybe he’s extra clingy and fussy, refusing to sleep alone. He hasn’t felt like himself lately since teething—in fact, he seems to have regressed, especially with sleep.
In short, it’s been a horrible few days, leaving you and your baby exhausted from it all.
Rest assured, friend, you’ll get through these next few sleepless nights. As always, the best place to direct your questions and concerns is with your pediatrician. Check with her before following anything you read online.
Then, below are the best solutions I and other moms found to be effective with helping a teething baby to sleep. Hopefully you’ll see those pearly whites soon enough and steer your baby to better sleep once again:
1. Cold teething rings
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Helping your teething baby sleep starts with keeping him comfortable while he’s awake. One simple trick is to offer a cold teething ring he can gnaw on to soothe and cool his tender gums.
I would place these teething rings in the freezer (keep it protected in a bag or towel) and offer it to my baby to play and chew on. This was especially handy when he fussed, as chewing on it helped ease the discomfort he felt.
Here are a few options to take a look at:
Comotomo Silicone Baby Teether
2. Nighttime Baby Orajel
Many moms swear by applying a soothing gel on their babies’ gums. Baby Orajel comes with two varieties—daytime and nighttime.
Whichever cooling gel you buy, stick to those that are non-medicated. The gel shouldn’t numb your baby’s gums, only give it a cooling sensation. And follow the directions on the box, including the appropriate age range—for instance, those for babies three months or older.
3. Pain relieving medicine
Check with your pediatrician to see if over-the-counter pain medicine can help relieve your baby’s pain and discomfort. Always choose the infant version of these medicines (not the adult versions). Follow all instructions correctly, including your pediatrician’s.
I also found that giving the medicine ideally around an hour before sleep helped it “kick in” right when my baby was about to sleep.
What to do when your baby is teething and won’t stop crying.
4. Wait a few minutes
As a new mom, I rushed to my baby’s side at the slightest sound of a whimper, thinking that’s what I was supposed to do. Instead, I only drove myself crazy and, more importantly, denied him the chance to soothe himself back to sleep.
If your baby happens to wake up in the middle of the night, give him a few minutes to settle. All babies experience discomfort, and teething comes in all levels of pain. If he sounds like he’s complaining over mild pain, giving him a few minutes could help him learn to better manage small-scale discomfort.
Even better: he just might put himself to sleep after those few minutes. Not only have you extended his sleep, but he has also learned how to do this in the future.
Free resource: If you’re struggling with putting him to sleep, you can teach him to self-soothe and sleep on his own. Whether you’ve tried to teach him to self-soothe in the past or are just now considering it, take a look at the 5 key mistakes to avoid. Join my newsletter and grab this resource below—at no cost to you.
5. Soothing tablets
Another option is to offer soothing tablets. You place one tablet at a time on a baby’s tongue, where it dissolves quickly. You can also dissolve the tablets in water and offer it as a drink.
6. Stuffed animal pacifier
One of the biggest challenges parents face during teething is the frustration of the lost pacifier. Their babies could actually sleep through the night with their pacifiers… that is, until they can’t find them in the middle of the night.
A simple trick? A combined stuffed animal and pacifier!
Many parents swear by the WubbaNub, a stuffed animal with an attached pacifier. You can imagine how much easier it is for your baby to find it in the middle of the night. It’s also much less likely to get lost, especially if he holds it in his arms.
Lion WubbaNub Soft Toy and Infant Pacifier
7. Take turns with your partner
When all else fails, create a plan with your partner to tag-team your baby’s teething wake-ups.
Perhaps you handle one night while he does the next, or you take the early evening shift and he the morning one. He could manage the morning rush with your other kids while you catch up on lost sleep with the baby.
And most important, remind each other that this is temporary. That after this stretch of teething, you can always “re-train” your baby back to his old sleeping habits and help him sleep well once again. But for now, relying on one another will be a huge source of support and help when you most need it.
What to do when your teething baby won’t sleep unless held.
Teething is never fun, for either parent or baby. But learning how to get a teething baby to sleep is possible, especially with the tips and tricks you learned.
Help your baby relieve discomfort with cold teething rings, soothing gels and tablets, and pain relief medicine. A stuffed animal pacifier combo can help him stay asleep longer. Give him a few minutes before rushing into the room right away—he just might soothe himself back to sleep.
And finally, tag team with your partner or other adult to get through these difficult nights. No matter how frustrating teething can be, remember that it’s not forever.
As much as I wanted to “blame” teething for just about every fit and cry, I also knew that it truly did cause some pain and discomfort. Thankfully, nothing that these tips and tricks—and a quick walk around the neighborhood—couldn’t solve.
Get more tips:
- 5 Reasons Your Baby Wakes Up Crying Hysterically
- Baby Refuses to Eat Solids? Simple Hacks for Easier Mealtimes
- 4 Effective Tricks to Handle a Baby Not Drinking Milk
- 11 Things Moms Do with the First Baby We Don’t Do with the Second
- How to Entertain a Baby
Don’t forget: Join my newsletter and grab the 5 mistakes that are keeping him from self-soothing below—at no cost to you:
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