Are you wondering whether your baby is crying at night because of teething? Infants usually start teething from the age of three months and there are some key telltale signs that this is the cause of their fussiness and inability to sleep at night.
With the pain and discomfort of new baby teeth emerging in very sensitive gums, it’s completely normal that your little one will cry out in pain — taking away from their (and your) ability to get some well-needed rest.
Luckily, this is only a temporary phase and we’ve got a whole list of potential remedies and soothing techniques that can make this period much easier to handle!
How To Identify Whether Your Baby Is Teething
Firstly, start by actually confirming that your baby crying at night is because of their new teeth starting to come through. Crying and restlessness can be caused by so many different things other than teething and it's always important to rule out other causes before you start implementing teething-related solutions.
Key signs of teething are:
- Heavy dribbling
- Red and swollen gums
- Red, flushed cheeks or face
- Rubbing their ears or side of the face, next to their erupting tooth
- Gum-rubbing, biting or sucking
- Not feeding as well
A study by the Cleveland Clinic that recording the timing of baby tooth eruptions, body temperatures, and other symptoms found that biting, drooling, gum-rubbing, irritability, and sucking tended to be more common up to four days before a tooth appeared, lasting up to three days afterwards.
Additional symptoms were identified such as common sleep awakenings, decreased appetite for solid foods, facial rashes, and slightly elevated temperatures.
Top 4 Remedies To Soothe Babies Who Are Teething
As your baby’s teeth start to emerge, the gum around them may become inflamed, swollen, and sore. And all of us are aware of the unique kind of pain and discomfort that comes with toothaches and injuries that impact the gum and teeth area.
At this time, your baby's mouth will generally be much more sensitive and they might reject your breast or bottle. You won’t be able to stop them from teething, but you can employ a few tactics for soothing them so they’re more likely to feed and sleep.
Give them a Gum Massage
As your baby’s gums become sore and irritated, it can be helpful to massage them gently with your fingers. This can take away some of the pressure and reduce fussiness. Just make sure that your fingers are clean and you don’t have any loose jewelry on your hands that could fall off and cause choking. Dipping your fingers in cool water can also help with the soothing process.
Use a Teether
Teethers are a unique kind of baby accessory that, at a certain time in your baby’s life, can be a lifesaver. Some are solid plastic while others are gel-filled and squidgy. However, because babies suck on teethers for long periods of time, the presence of any potentially harmful chemicals on the surface is obviously concerning.
It’s always important to double-check that these items are child-safe. Also, avoid teething jewelry such as necklaces and bracelets made from amber or wood. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns against them because they pose a choking risk.
We have a great selection of Trendy Teethers at Sleeping Baby, specially designed for this difficult period in your baby’s life. Take a look at our full collection for an effective and stylish way to soothe teething problems. And for added comfort, store your teethers in the fridge to keep them nice and cold.
Teethers are a unique kind of baby accessory that, at a certain time in your baby’s life, can be a lifesaver.
Baby Pain Medicine
While pain medication should typically be a last resort for babies, your pediatrician might recommend some over-the-counter medicine if your baby is crying at night while teething. There are specific brands and products that come recommended for young infants, and some that are not as suitable for babies, so always check with your pharmacist and doctor before you give your child anything.
Something cold and soothing can be useful when your child is teething. There are a few ways to introduce this cooling sensation, ranging from dipping your fingers in cold water before rubbing your child’s gums to applying pressure with a soft cloth that has been soaked in cold water.
You can try with ice-cold water or a cloth that is kept in the freezer, but check to make sure whether this is too cold for your baby first before implementing it regularly.
What About Numbing Gels?
There are a few numbing gels on the market targeted at infants who are teething. While some may be completely safe and effective, it’s worth noting that the FDA and the American Academy of Pediatrics warn against the use of topical teething gels containing lidocaine or benzocaine because they can cause local reactions and rare but serious side effects.
Also, the fact that your baby is drooling excessively might make it hard for the gel to have an effect on the gum, causing them to spit out or ingest most of the liquid. Again, a doctor is the best person to recommend a certain product for your child.
4 Indirect Methods for Soothing A Baby Crying At Night While Teething
A few indirect methods can sometimes make all the difference in your overall strategy for handling a baby crying at night due to teething pains.
Choose Comfortable Clothes that Promote Sleep
Dressing your little one in comfortable attire plays a huge role in reducing their discomfort and encouraging them to get some well-needed rest when they’re suffering from various issues like teething. Itchy fabrics, tight sleeves, annoying clips, and more can stop your baby from truly relaxing.
Our Zipadee-Zip’s are specially designed to offer the ultimate comfort and coziness without restricting your baby’s movement. So if your baby is learning to roll over and stretch their limbs for the first time, this could be a great option to offer your child the level of comfort they need to switch off from their teething pains.
Create a Calming Atmosphere and Relaxing Bedtime Routine
Just because your baby is crying at night while teething it doesn’t mean you should completely give up on their evening routine and general daily structure. Often, it is these things that can really help your little one to get the rest they need despite feeling frustration and discomfort when teething.
There are a number of activities you can perform at night to help your child feel sleepy and relaxed enough to nod off and forget about the pain for a while. These include:
- Transition gradually to the right sleeping environment (low lighting and free of distractions)
- A relaxing bath and skincare routine
- A soothing massage
- Proper clothing for sleep
- Put your baby into the crib while they’re still drowsy (not asleep)
- Introduce a dream feed
Introduce Distracting Noises and Sounds
Sometimes all you need is a bit of distraction to help redirect your baby’s attention away from their pain. Some babies love to be sung to, while others will enjoy the sound of white noise. If you want to give this a go, simply search for white noise playlists on YouTube using terms like ‘sound of rainfall’ or ‘waves soundtrack’.
Sometimes all you need is a bit of distraction to help redirect your baby’s attention away from their teething pains.
More Hugs and Kisses
Sometimes your baby will just need some extra care and attention when they’re teething. Rather than trying to fix a problem that will eventually fix itself, consider whether your little one just needs more hugs and kisses to make the time a little less challenging for them.
Best Practices For Teething Babies
As we mentioned, do what you can to keep your baby’s existing bedtime routine in place even when they’re suffering from illnesses or ailments like teething. Helping your child get the sleep they need is a priority and losing bedtime structure can, unfortunately, result in a more than annoying sleep regression where you’ll need to retrain your baby.
So, even if it’s hard, stick to your routine and promote good bedtime sleeping practices even if your baby is crying at night and fussing more than usual. Teething is only a temporary phase and eventually it will phase out.
Also, try to maintain consistent wiping and cleaning while your baby is drooling more than usual. The last thing you want is a teething rash on their face that adds to their overall discomfort.
Stay Calm - It Will Pass!
There's no set date for when your baby will start or stop teething. If your baby is crying at night while teething, it may be the start of a long period of fussiness and discomfort or a very brief period of distress. Every child is different and all you can do is try your best to reduce their discomfort and soothe their pain.
If your little one’s teeth take longer to come out, this is also no reason to worry. The symptoms of teething may start much sooner than expected before you eventually see their first tooth coming through. And hopefully, after the first couple have emerged, the impact of the rest will be less severe.