Sleep regression is a typical annoyance that creeps in when your baby starts teething. Teething pain tends to peak at night-time when there is no distraction and babies become more restless and cranky. Babies who used to sleep through the night will start waking up more often and cry for constant attention. I know! It hurts to see your baby suffer in pain. There are some tips that you can do throughout the day or just before you put your baby to bed to help promote sleep.
1. Be extra snugly:
It is only natural to get irritated when you have a baby that is crying 24 by 7. I felt helpless not knowing what to do with my super annoyed baby.
Teething symptoms can cause very uncomfortable pain to our little ones. Imagine sharp little teeth cutting the gums and coming out. Ouch! Hurts, right? That?s how our babies are feeling. Hurt and helpless! And the only way they can let you know that they are in pain is by crying and wanting our attention.
Understanding what they are going through makes us more compassionate to their needs, and lets us focus on ways to make them feel comfortable.
Like any other sickness and pain, our babies need our comfort throughout the teething stage.
- If you are breastfeeding, don?t be afraid to nurse them back to sleep (countless times.
- Cuddling and rocking them will make them drift back to sleep easier. Have a glider in your nursery that you can quickly hop onto and rock your baby back to sleep.
- Lots and lots of skin to skin contact will make them feel secure and comfortable.
- Baby-wearing can be a great resort to keep your child closer to you while getting some work done. Shortly before your baby’s bedtime, put them in a carrier and go about doing your chores. Chances are your baby drifted off to sleep while you were busy moving around.
2.Be flexible with your routine:
Don?t try to force your night time routine on your baby when he is teething. At the same time, do not forego your routine altogether. Confused? I mean, don?t be afraid to mix it up when your baby wouldn?t sit still or show any interest in your routine.
Book reading is favorite part of my daughter’s night-time routine. But when the teething pain hits an all-time high, she cares nothing about the book and would scream if I sit still. I will either rock her on our glider and read the book or forego reading and maybe sing a song.
- Breastfeeding on demand during the night – Babies nurse not only for hunger but also for comfort. Your baby might need to nurse frequently during the night to minimize teething pain. Don’t worry too much that you will “spoil” your child by nursing him often.
- Co-sleeping – I attribute the all sleep that I got during teething phase to co-sleeping. It makes breastfeeding during night so much easier. Not having to wake up from the bed to comfort my baby is a huge relief for me.
3. Infant Massage:
It goes without saying that infant massages have significant benefits – increases circulation, enhances the immune system, etc. But, did you know that massaging over specific ‘pressure points’ help with teething pain and promote sleep?
Try massaging these pressure point for a few seconds for 20 minutes per day. These massages can be done throughout the day as per your wish. Choose the best time that works for you and your baby – after a bath, during a diaper change or while nursing, and see the difference for yourself.
- LI2 – This is called as the Large Intestine 2 point. This point is found on outside of baby’s index finger where the finger meets the hand. Massaging over this point relieves a toothache and swollen gums.
- Liv4- Large Intestine 4 – This point is found between the index finger and thumb. Massage over the fleshy bump which is found when you close your index finger and thumb together. (Source)
- GV24.5- This “sleep” button is located between the eyebrows where the nose meets the head. (Source)
3. Cold Finger Food:
Best way to combat any pain is by food. 100% natural and safe. Depending on the age of your baby you can choose to offer pureed or finger foods. Teething babies don’t eat well, and hungry babies wake up at night. So fill up those tiny tummies throughout the day.
- Carrots are great for teething. They are easy to hold and hard to press against their gums. Some babies like to chew them raw but some like soft carrots. You can try both and see what works for your baby. I would pan fry carrots/ apples slices in butter with a few cloves and my son loved it.
- Cucumber and Celery is also a great option. Both are rich in anti-oxidants. Celery is believed to relieve teething pain due to its analgesic properties.
- Cheese sticks are rich in calcium and Probiotics which help to maintain bacterial growth in the gut. Teething can cause tummy upsets. Some babies can also have loose diarrhea while teething. You can serve cold yogurt which is also a great alternative.
If your baby is not interested in finger foods, Applesauce, yogurt, smoothies, chicken broth can help.
- Frozen breast milk. Many moms make breast-milk popsicles. If you don?t have the Popsicle maker, then just fill breast-milk in an ice tray and freeze them. Remove a cube, wrap it around in a clean washcloth, secure it by a knot and give it to the baby to chew on it. You can even crush the ice and make it more like a slushy. Or, dip a clean washcloth in breastmilk, refrigerate it and hand it to the baby to chew to his fullest.
4. Massaging the gums:
Applying pressure over the gums can be very pain relieving for your little one. The best and the easiest way to do this is to use your clean finger and gently run it over their gums. I offer ‘gum massage’ when we are reading a book. It kept my babies diverted from the teething pain.
Of course, you cannot sit all the time with your baby and let them gnaw on your fingers. You can give your child
- A clean washcloth (chilled the better).
- A clean silver spoon. Throw the spoon in the refrigerator and hand it over to your babe. Do not give plastics spoons that can break easily. Give either a silver spoon or a wooden one.
- A sippy cup filled with cold water.
- A Wooden teether. Sophie, the giraffe, was a very popular teether, until recently that some moms found mold inside of it. I recommend using a wooden teether, or the ones that are naturally anti-bacterial and are easy to clean.
5. A warm bath or some Fresh air:
My go-to whenever my kids are cranky! In summer, I would wear my girl in the carrier and take her for a walk. Wrapped closely around my chest and fresh air always does miracles, and she will doze off to dreamland.
In winter, when going out wasn?t so much fun. I would give her a warm bath just before bed. A Warm bath is oh! so relaxing, and she will doze off to sleep.
Things that can be done but with caution:
Many moms have used these methods, and most of the time these are safe. But there are pros and cons to the methods listed below and should be followed with caution. I recommend you consult your doctor/ pediatrician before making any decisions.
1. Amber necklaces:
I used Amber necklaces with my daughter, and they worked pretty well for us. Although, I made sure to read the instructions and never let my daughter sleep with it. I didn’t even put it on her neck because I was too scared of strangulation. Instead, I tied it around her foot and made her wear footless pj’s. There are choking and strangulation hazard when you don’t follow the instruction or fail to be watchful.
2. Essential oils:
I was surprised to see how many blog posts recommend applying Clove essential oil over the gums as a teething relief. Did you know that many Essentials oils are not safe to be used on children under two and Clove oil is one of them? (Source).
I feel more comfortable adding them naturally to food. Cook apples, peaches with few cloves and butter to get the benefits to your baby most naturally and safely. One thing that worked like a charm when my daughter was screaming with pain is this homemade oil. You can make this oil is three steps!
- Warm 1 tablespoon organic coconut oil
- Add powdered cloves (4-5)
- Add 1 garlic clove (minced)
Filter and apply this oil all over your baby’s jawline, back of the head and ears. Sure, your baby will smell garlic-ky, but the garlic and clove combo is AMAZING for teething pain!
German chamomile hydrosol is a great safe alternative. You can apply it directly on your baby’s gums or dip it in a washcloth and give it to your child.
If I had to use Tylenol every time my children had teething pain, we would have gone through tons of bottles. Frequent medication is not advisable for children in general. Keep this as a final resort and always stick to instructions.
3. Numbing gels:
Teething gels like Baby Orajel are available to purchase online or over the counter. When applied over the gums these cause a numbing effect that reduces pain. Please note that FDA advice not to use these gels on your baby, because they contain Benzocaine, which can cause Methemoglobinemia – a rare condition that restricts oxygen flow to the blood which can even cause death in a few cases (Source).
4. Teething tablets:
Homeopathic tablets have been a go-to for many parents when baby experience teething discomfort. Hyland’s teething tablets are one of the famous options that parents swear by its effectiveness. FDA also warned against using teething tablets as they contain belladonna and has recalled these tablets many times (Source).
Teething can be a torturous phase for you and your baby. But just like every other phase, this too shall pass. Try one or a combination of the natural remedies and give your baby a lot of attention.
I hope your little one feels better soon. Is your baby teething? Have your tried any of these methods? Let us know what worked for you in the comments below.