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Do Babies Sleep More While Teething Or Are They More Wakeful?

 The first year of your tiny tot is very important and full of noticeable growth and other changes. One of the prominent changes in the first birthday year of your baby is the appearance of their pearly whites, which are their teeth!

These tiny teeth of your baby are already present beneath the gums in utero and waiting to make their appearance at the right time. When the teeth start to erupt in your child, it can cause various unpleasant symptoms in your little one.

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One question which every mother wonders about is do babies sleep more when undergoing teething? Or are they wakeful when teething? In this article we will discuss all about that.

A Timeline of Your Baby’s Teeth

According to The American Dental Association, there are about 20 teeth present under the under the gums of your baby at the time of birth.(1) All these teeth will erupt by the age of three; so, there is lot of happening in the relatively short period of time in your baby’s life.

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The teeth which your baby will have in the first year are:

  • The bottom central incisors usually erupt between the age of 6 and 10 months and these are the two teeth present in bottom and in the center in the mouth of your baby. The next teeth are the central incisors above which start to appear around the age of 8 to 12 months.
  • After this, the lateral incisors which erupt on both the sides of the central incisors in an opposite pattern, that is, the top first develop, then the bottom. This usually occurs at the age of about 9 to 13 months and about 10 to 16 months respectively. After this the first molars make their appearance with both the sets erupting between the ages of 13 and 19 months.
  • While this is the average timeline of your baby’s teeth, it is important to remember that the teeth of your baby will appear at their own unique set schedule. There are some babies who will start getting their teeth as soon as the initial couple of months of their life. Whereas, some babies will not have any teeth appearing till the end of their first-year mark. Different babies have different timeline is what is to be noted.
  • It is recommended to visit a pediatric dentist, as soon as the baby’s first teeth appears or at least by their first birthday.

Signs and Symptoms of Teething in Babies

There are many claims made by parents and child caregivers that teething in babies causes fever and diarrhea; however, there is no scientific evidence behind this. There are also other signs that indicate your baby may be teething and these are: drooling; swollen and painful gums; irritability; crankiness and chewing on anything solid.

There are some lucky babies who have no problems when undergoing the period of teething; whereas, other babies are miserable, irritable, in pain and crying. The symptoms of teething in the baby can also vary from one tooth to the other.

The Relationship Between Teething and Sleeping in Babies

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The majority of the available information regarding the sleep habits and teething show that the budding teeth disturb the sleep habits of the baby. A study done consisting of more than 125 sets of parents with their babies showed that the teething habits of their babies, which consisted of about 475 tooth eruptions, had one common complaint, which was wakefulness.(2)

The American Academy of Pediatrics also tells that the teething caused pain and this is why the baby is not able to sleep and wakes up from their sleep irritable.(3) Other than this, parents changing the bedtime routine of their baby due to this, makes the problem worse. It is advisable to maintain regular bedtime routine of the baby for better sleep and consistency and use at-home methods for keeping the baby comfortable.

Is It Possible That Babies Sleep More While Teething?

There are some parents who reported that their babies tend to sleep more during acute teething episodes.(4) According to them, teething mimics a bad cold and makes the baby not well and feels under the weather.

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There are no studies to support these claims and if you find that your baby is sleeping excessively, then it is better to consult your pediatrician to exclude other causes.

What are the Reasons for Your Baby Sleeping More Than Usual?

There are various reasons, which have absolutely nothing to do with teething and due to which your baby might be sleeping more than usual. According to KidsHealth, babies triple their birth weights in the initial year and grow an average of 10 inches.(5)

A study done in relation to growth and sleep showed that there was an increase number of napping sessions seen in babies who were going through growth spurts.(6) The more the sleep session was, the greater the growth in the baby.

Some illness can also mimic teething and to find out if your baby is suffering from cold or having a new tooth look into the following:

Fever: Teething often does not cause fever and if your baby’s temperature is more than 101˚F, then it can mean there is a bacterial or viral infection.

Runny Nose: The drool or the mucus from teething doesn’t pass out of the nose. So, if your child is suffering from runny nose, then consult the pediatrician regarding treatment for cold.

Ear-Pulling: The action of pulling the ears by the baby can be linked to teething. If your baby is grabbing or pulling their ear and is also being very fussy, then consult the pediatrician to check on the baby’s ears and teeth.

What are the Pain Relief Methods in Teething?

Some of at-home pain methods to relieve the pain of your baby so it can sleep better and be less irritable are:(3)

Cold: Giving the baby anything which is chilled, such as a teether, spoon or a washcloth helps in taking the edge off the pain in the baby. However, something which is totally frozen should be avoided as it causes more harm than benefit.

Pressure: Applying gentle pressure on the baby’s gums with clean hands or using moist gauze also helps. You can gently massage your baby’s gums at the sorest region in the gums to provide much needed relief.

Chewing: Giving older babies hard foods for chewing, such as carrot sticks and cool cucumbers also helps. To prevent the risk of choking, the parent needs to supervise or place the food in a mesh bag and give it to chew. Teething rings or teething biscuits can also be given to the baby.

Clean the Drool: It is important to wipe your baby’s drool to keep skin irritation at bay.

OTC Medicine: When nothing works, an over-the-counter medicine, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, can be given to your baby for pain relief.

When to Consult the Pediatrician

According to The American Dental Association, it is important to start caring for your baby’s teeth even before they emerge by wiping the gums clean using a cotton pad or washcloth.(7) When the teeth make their appearance, then brush them using a tiny bit of fluoride toothpaste twice a day.

If symptoms are worsening or if your baby is sleeping excessively, then contact your baby’s pediatrician to rule out other illness. The symptoms of teething are often worse in the four days before the emergence of the tooth and tend to last about three days after the eruption. So, if your baby’s tooth is already above the gum and still your baby is miserable, then it is better to consult doctor to find out if anything else is going on.

Conclusion

Without a doubt the first year of your baby is the most important and there are tremendous changes seen in this period of time. Teething is one of the important milestones, which your baby is going to experience in their life.

If your baby is irritable or fussy during the teething period, it is nothing to worry about and is absolutely normal. Have some patience and follow the above methods of pain relief for your baby and soon you will be blessed with a one in a million toothy smile from your baby, which will be worth all the pain you and your baby have experienced.

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