As you know, a teething baby is hard work at bedtime. The pain tends to wake them more often, their ears can ache when laid down, nappy rash can make turning over uncomfortable and you will certainly know about it if a tooth decides to cut in the early hours! It’s tough. I am experiencing it all over again and it is just as bad the second time around. However, what I can help with is getting them off to sleep to start with. I’m not saying it’s going to work for all babies, I’m not saying it’s going to happen each and every night but what it should do is help both of you to relax in the run-up to bedtime, it should help your baby to cope better with that teething pain and it should hopefully help to keep your routine and settle them more easily.
This is my perfect bedtime routine for your teething baby:
A warm bath is perfect at bedtime for a couple of reasons. It distracts them from their pain and discomfort and it really helps their whole body to relax ready for bed. If your baby is suffering from nappy or dribble rash or possibly eczema due to teething just use warm water to wash them, bubbles or soap will only irritate their skin further.
This may sound like I am stating the obvious but when a baby is already upset from teething they need to have some extra TLC and taking a little more time to dab them dry, checking every roll and fold, being extra careful on those sore areas, it all helps to reduce some of their stress.
Cuddles just work every time, don’t they? In between each stage, I would just take a bit of time to reassure them with kisses and hugs.
Most babies love music and if you set the right tone you will see them relax so much faster. When I was having trouble with Jake sleeping we solved this by playing specially composed music designed to help a baby drift soundly off to sleep. It worked wonders for him at bedtime. You can read all about it and find the link to the music here.
Baby massage is a lovely way for you to bond with your little one and to ease their pain. If you have completed a class you will most probably be shown how to help their gums by massaging their faces but even if you haven’t, you will still be helping them to chill before bed just by touching them, tickling their backs, stroking their head and ears and so on.
Treat Nappy Rash
Nappy rash is often seen during teething due to the acidity in the urine. Some babies can really suffer in this area so keeping them clean, dry and protected is the best way to tackle any soreness. I usually dry my baby by dabbing gently after the bath and then leave him for a while with nappy free time. This just seems to allow everything to settle down and then you can reassess the problem. Now, I am really not a fan of heavy creams such as Sudocrem. I don’t like leaving these just sitting on the skin and I found that with my first baby, it would just cause more mess, it never actually treated the problem and I spent more time wiping him which in turn caused more problems. I absolutely love 3 products from Beeutiful which are not only natural and chemical-free but they are also light, soak into the skin beautifully and work within 2 days! Baby Balm for babies under the age of 3 months, Botty Balm which is for use over 3 months and B-Balm which does actually have to state for use over 3 years as by law tea tree cannot be advised due to lack of research but I have been using at my own discretion and it has worked wonders on both my children (which you can read about here). Both B-Balm and Botty Balm are award-winning!
Ok, so this is obvious before bed but getting the right nappy will also help with your baby’s comfort. Did you know that disposable nappies are made from plastic and contain chemicals? Which means that those delicate bottoms are not only being overheated but they may also be further irritated. I recently made the swap to reusable nappies and I am so glad I have. They are more breathable, they are gentle on their skin, they are more comfortable to wear and I have seen less nappy rash, in fact, he has only been slightly red and this has only been on the days when he has been excessively dribbling. At night he is wearing a two-part system from TotsBots called a Bamboozle. The nappy fully absorbs all of the urine and the wrap sits over the top to waterproof it. It lasts the entire night and he doesn’t wake in any discomfort.
When you are feeling a bit run down and yucky you always feel that little bit better when you put on nice clean bed wear, don’t you? That fresh smell, the cosiness, will all help your baby to feel more settled.
Medicine will need time to work before bed so I always give myself 20-30 minutes to allow them to work. Timings can be tricky when you are tired and you have a grisly baby but if you can get this into your routine before that say 7pm bed, you will find that last stretch so much easier. On those really bad teething days I will always give Nurofen and teething granules. I prefer Nurofen as it is anti-inflammatory and as their gums are usually quite inflamed from those rumbling teeth I feel it tackles the issue much better than Calpol does. However, it does mean that it also gives me the option to give Calpol if he wakes in the night as you can alternate these medicines as long as they are two hours apart and as long as you haven’t gone over the recommended dosage for that 24 hours during the day.
You need to be brushing your baby’s teeth as soon as their first one pops through. You can even brush or rub gummy babies as doing this will also have the same effect. Brushing will remove any bacteria build-up from the day and will prevent any further issues with teething. The last thing you want is an infection, early plaque or decay when they are already in so much pain. If you are having trouble with teeth brushing I not only have a blog post full of tips I also have a teeth brushing chart for you to download.
Once all this is done you can apply your favourite teething gel or liquid. We love Anbesol gel as it is thicker than other gels and I find this sticks to the gum and is easier to apply.
Not everyone will agree but I swear by Amber and I saw amazing results when I used one on Jake when his molars were coming through so I have started sooner with William and he has been wearing one from the first signs of teething. I believe that it reduces dribbling and calms him a little more.
If you breastfeed this is a great way to comfort your teething baby. The warmth from your body, your smell, the warm milk and the fact that breastmilk contains its own analgesic properties means that you will often have your baby fast asleep in no time. Whether you bottle feed or breastfeed I would recommend doing this part in your baby’s room, with the lights down low or off, with a lamp on. At this point, you are setting the scene and letting your baby know that it is bedtime.
If your baby doesn’t go off with milk or can’t due to pain you will need to comfort them with cuddles and rocking, possibly singing and shushing. Rocking may take a while but if everything from above has been done and the medicine has had time to kick in you may find it is easier than other nights.
Make Bed Comfortable
Once they are fully settled and fast asleep in your arms the transfer to the cot needs to happen and we all know how tough that can be! One false move and they will be wide awake screaming at you in a second. You need to make sure that the bed is already made up, is as comfortable as it can be, have their favourite blanket or maybe something that smells of you? One item that I loved with my first child was the reflux cushion. This is a sloped cushion which is designed to help alleviate pain and discomfort from colic or reflux but I discovered it would also help with ear pain from teething! I placed it under the sheet in Jake’s cot and because it is sloped he felt as though he was still in my arms and because he wasn’t completely flat he suffered less with the earache. It is safe to use at night and is breathable, it was one of those items that I was really glad I bought as it has come in handy so many times.
So, you may have tiptoed away from their bedroom and given yourself a mental high five but I think we all know deep down that at some point they are going to wake. My top tip is to be prepared. Have your medicines at the ready, have your milk set-up ready to grab (or boob alert and awake!), be prepared for it and do what you need to do in order to get some sleep and by this I mean more rocking, more singing, more shushing, possibly co-sleeping or even taking them out in the car to settle them.
Good luck, I really that hope some of my teething bedtime tips help you this week and if you need more teething advice please do check out my book Your Teething Baby, from one parent to another.
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