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03rd May 2017

Teething and sleep…5 key things that really WILL make it easier


Argh! You’ve just managed to get your baby into a sleep routine when Mother Nature intervenes – it’s teething time.

Symptoms range from drooling (causing a rash around the mouth) to swollen gums; a sore bum (extra saliva passing through the tummy leads to loose bowels) and general crankiness.

It’s usually the 24-72 period just before the tip of the tooth erupts through the gum that’s most painful and causes night time upheaval.

Here’s how to manage it…

1) Make sure to keep cool:

Rosy cheeks – at both ends! – are a classic sign, so make sure baby is cool enough with lightweight blankets. Be liberal with nappy cream to soothe red bottoms. Provide a barrier against night-time soreness around the mouth with Vaseline, or a pharmacist-approved cream if baby’s developed a drool rash. Chilled fruits and teething rings also provide relief for sore gums, or baby can gnaw on a cold flannel to ease the pressure.

2) Know the correct dosage:

Medication, like Calpol (paracetamol) or Neurofen (ibuprofen) must only be used in the correct dose; and is dependent on the baby’s age and weight. Babies cannot have aspirin as it is unsafe and associated with Reye’s Syndrome. As the teething process goes on for a while, you shouldn’t rely on medication for pain relief every night- you don’t want to over-medicate your little one.

3) Use teething gels wisely:

Teething gels like Bonjela can be used over a certain age, and some must be used sparingly as they can numb the baby’s tongue. They may even numb nipples if you’re breastfeeding, so avoid use prior to a feed.

4) Consider your options:

Some mums swear by homeopathic options such as Nelsons Teetha granules, also available in sachets. It’s a good idea to chat to your pharmacist if they have young children themselves, or have useful feedback from other parents. Amber necklaces; natural remedies, etc. work for some babies, and you’ll soon discover what works for you.

5) Look at diet:

Some mums say that the likes of white foods such as refined sugar and flour, potatoes, and even dairy (if your small one has an allergy or intolerance) can cause inflammation. So focus on fresh fruits and veg, fish, healthy fats such as coconut, avocado, and real butter, as well as whole eggs.

Finally, try not to undo any progress you’ve made on sleep training. Sure; there’ll be nights when all the ‘rules’ go out the window, but you can create coping strategies to help you and baby get a decent night’s kip.

Those first pearly whites will soon come through and as molars usually don’t appear until baby gets a bit older, you’ll get some respite. Even the most painful tooth eruption will only last a night or two. It does get better!