How to manage tooth growth and sleep?

Babies can start teething as young as a few months old, but it can take a while for the tooth to appear. Some babies never show signs of teething except by drooling and chewing on everything they find. Others are grumpy and difficult to live with when teething begins. Some babies will sleep throughout the day, while others will wake up several times a night. As with everything else, all babies are different and they will all have different pain tolerances. And I think it's our job as parents to be mindful, while making sure they get enough sleep.

Here are my tips for managing your baby's first milk teeth and sleep:

  • If the baby is very restless during the day when awake (i.e. not restless because sleepy), be sure to soothe him at bedtime. You can use teething tablets and a cold washcloth to numb the gums.
  • Since a baby teethes for about 2 years, you should come up with a plan for how you are going to handle it. You can't allow too much sleep deprivation because you may think it's a teething problem, but it's actually a sleep problem.
  • If you are breastfeeding, expect baby to nurse more often as he feels good on his gums. As always, you may need to set boundaries and be careful not to create an association between sleeping and breastfeeding for sleep.

Should sleep training be stopped while teething?

In general, my answer will be no. If you waited for all of your baby's baby teeth to come out before sleeping, you could be waiting over two years!

Some baby teeth come out at the age of a few months, but others only come out at the age of one year! Since you have no way of knowing, you need to do your best and make sure you are prioritizing your baby's sleep. That said, you may need to modify your plan a bit, as I suggested above, for the few days when the baby teeth are about to burst through the gums (you might notice them at the surface of the gums). If not, help him feel comfortable, but continue to be regular and help him learn to sleep better.

Do you have any tips or questions about teething and sleeping babies during this phase?

I hope this article has enlightened you on the subject. Feel free to share your experiences with us in the comments.

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