how much sleep does a baby need

Discover Effective Solutions: How to Soothe a Teething Baby Who Refuses to Sleep Unless Held

1. When do babies typically start teething?

Teething is a natural process in which a baby’s teeth begin to emerge through the gums. It usually starts around 6 months of age, but can vary from as early as 3 months to as late as 12 months. The timing can be influenced by genetic factors, so some babies may start teething earlier or later than others.

During the teething process, the baby’s primary (baby) teeth will gradually erupt through the gums. This usually occurs in a specific order, with the bottom front teeth (lower central incisors) appearing first, followed by the top front teeth (upper central incisors). The remaining teeth will then come in over time.

Common signs and symptoms of teething include:

  • Irritability and fussiness
  • Drooling
  • Gum swelling and sensitivity
  • Biting or chewing on objects
  • Disrupted sleep patterns
  • Loss of appetite or increased sucking on fingers or bottles


It’s important to note that not all babies experience these symptoms during teething, and some may have different signs altogether. Additionally, it’s always a good idea to consult with a pediatrician if you’re unsure whether your baby is teething or if their symptoms seem severe.

2. What are some common signs and symptoms of teething in infants?

The process of teething can cause discomfort for infants, leading to various signs and symptoms that indicate their emerging teeth. While every baby may experience teething differently, there are some common indicators to look out for:

Common signs and symptoms of teething include:

  • Irritability and fussiness: Babies may become more irritable or cranky than usual. They may cry more frequently and have difficulty settling down.
  • Drooling: Increased drooling is a common symptom of teething. You may notice your baby’s chin or clothing becoming wetter than usual.
  • Gum swelling and sensitivity: The gums around the emerging teeth may appear swollen, red, or tender. Babies may experience discomfort when pressure is applied to their gums.
  • Biting or chewing on objects: To relieve the pressure and discomfort on their gums, babies often chew on toys, fingers, or any objects they can find. This behavior helps alleviate some of the teething pain.
  • Disrupted sleep patterns: Teething can disrupt a baby’s sleep routine. They may have difficulty falling asleep or wake up more frequently during the night due to discomfort.
  • Loss of appetite or increased sucking on fingers or bottles: Some babies may exhibit a decrease in appetite during teething. Others might seek comfort by sucking on their fingers, thumbs, or bottles more frequently than usual.

It’s important to remember that not all babies will experience every symptom listed above, and some infants may show no signs of discomfort during teething. If you’re unsure whether your baby is teething or if their symptoms seem severe, it’s always best to consult with your pediatrician for guidance.

3. How does teething affect a baby’s sleep patterns?

Discomfort and pain

Teething can cause discomfort and pain for babies, which can disrupt their sleep patterns. The pressure from the emerging teeth can lead to sore gums, making it difficult for babies to fall asleep or stay asleep. This discomfort may be more pronounced during nighttime when there are fewer distractions and the baby is lying down.

Increased irritability

Teething can also make babies more irritable, which can further impact their sleep patterns. Babies may wake up more frequently during the night due to their discomfort, leading to fragmented sleep for both the baby and parents. This increased irritability can also make it harder for babies to settle down and fall back asleep after waking up.

Strategies to help improve sleep:

– Provide gentle gum massages using clean fingers or a soft teething toy.
– Offer chilled teething rings or washcloths for babies to chew on, as the coldness can help numb the gums.
– Use over-the-counter teething gels or medications recommended by a pediatrician.
– Create a soothing bedtime routine that includes calming activities such as reading books or playing soft music.
– Ensure the baby’s sleeping environment is comfortable and conducive to sleep, with appropriate room temperature and minimal noise.

Overall, understanding how teething affects a baby’s sleep patterns allows parents to implement strategies that can help alleviate discomfort and promote better sleep for both the baby and themselves.

4. Why might a teething baby refuse to sleep unless held?

Seeking comfort

Teething babies may refuse to sleep unless held because they seek comfort from their caregivers. The act of being held provides them with security and reassurance during this uncomfortable phase. Being close to their caregiver helps them feel safe and protected, which can help soothe their teething discomfort and make it easier for them to fall asleep.

Relief from pain

Holding a teething baby can also provide relief from the pain caused by emerging teeth. The pressure from being held can temporarily distract the baby from their sore gums, providing them with some respite from the discomfort. This relief may be particularly noticeable when the baby is lying down, as the pressure on their gums is reduced.

Alternatives to holding:

– Use a baby carrier or sling to keep the baby close while allowing parents to have their hands free.
– Invest in a safe and comfortable co-sleeper or bedside crib that allows easy access to the baby without having to hold them constantly.
– Try using a swaddle or sleep sack that provides a snug and secure feeling for the baby, mimicking the sensation of being held.
– Gradually transition the baby to sleeping independently by implementing gentle sleep training methods recommended by pediatricians.

Understanding why teething babies may refuse to sleep unless held can help parents find alternative ways to provide comfort and promote better sleep for both themselves and their little ones.

5. Are there any effective techniques or remedies to help soothe a teething baby’s discomfort?

Home Remedies

There are several home remedies that can help soothe a teething baby’s discomfort. One popular method is to give them something cold to chew on, such as a chilled teething ring or a clean, damp washcloth that has been placed in the freezer for a short time. The cold temperature can help numb the gums and provide relief. Another option is to gently massage the baby’s gums with a clean finger or a soft, wet cloth. This can help alleviate some of the pressure and discomfort caused by teething.

Additionally, offering your baby something safe to bite on can also provide relief. Silicone teethers or natural rubber toys specifically designed for teething babies are great options. These toys are soft and textured, providing gentle stimulation and soothing their sore gums.

Natural Remedies

Some parents prefer using natural remedies to soothe their teething babies. Chamomile tea is one such remedy that can be used by soaking a clean cloth in cooled chamomile tea and then allowing the baby to chew on it. Chamomile has calming properties and may help reduce inflammation in the gums.

Certain herbs like clove oil or clove powder can also be used topically on the gums to provide relief from pain and inflammation caused by teething. However, it is important to consult with a pediatrician before using any herbal remedies on infants.

6. How long does the teething phase usually last in babies?

The duration of the teething phase can vary from one baby to another, but it typically lasts for about two years. Most babies start teething around 6 months of age, although some may begin as early as 3 months or as late as 12 months. The first teeth to erupt are usually the lower front teeth, followed by the upper front teeth. As the baby grows, more teeth will continue to come in until they have a full set of primary teeth.

It is important to note that teething can be an ongoing process, with periods of increased discomfort and restlessness alternating with periods of relief. Some babies may experience more intense symptoms during certain stages of teething, such as when molars are coming in. However, once all the primary teeth have erupted, typically by around age 2 or 3, the teething phase comes to an end.

7. Can excessive crying during teething be a sign of something more serious?

While it is common for babies to experience some degree of discomfort and fussiness during teething, excessive crying can sometimes indicate a more serious issue. It is important for parents to pay attention to other symptoms that may accompany the excessive crying and consult with a healthcare professional if they have concerns.

In some cases, excessive crying during teething could be a sign of an ear infection or another underlying medical condition. Ear pain can often be mistaken for teething pain because both conditions can cause similar symptoms such as irritability and disrupted sleep. If a baby’s crying seems unusually intense or prolonged, especially if accompanied by fever or other signs of illness, it is advisable to seek medical advice.

Additionally, if a baby’s gums appear extremely swollen or red, or if there are any signs of infection such as pus or bleeding around the erupting tooth, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional for proper evaluation and treatment.

8. What are some safe alternatives to holding a teething baby to help them sleep better?

White Noise Machines

White noise machines can be a helpful tool for soothing a teething baby and promoting better sleep. The constant, gentle sound of white noise can create a calming environment that masks other noises and helps drown out any discomfort or restlessness caused by teething. Many white noise machines also offer various sounds, such as ocean waves or lullabies, which can further aid in relaxation and sleep.

Night Lights

Some babies may find comfort in having a night light in their room while they are teething. Night lights provide a soft, comforting glow that can help alleviate any anxiety or fear of the dark that may contribute to disrupted sleep. Additionally, having a dimly lit room can make it easier for parents to check on their baby without fully waking them up.

Baby Swings or Rockers

Using a baby swing or rocker can also provide relief for a teething baby and help them sleep better. The gentle motion mimics the rocking sensation they experienced in the womb, which can be soothing and comforting. However, it is important to ensure that the swing or rocker is used safely and according to the manufacturer’s guidelines.

9. Are there any specific foods or toys that can provide relief for a teething baby and promote better sleep?

There are certain foods and toys that can help provide relief for a teething baby and promote better sleep:

Cold Foods

  • Frozen fruit slices: Chilled fruit slices like bananas or watermelon can serve as both a tasty treat and a soothing solution for sore gums.
  • Cold yogurt: Offering cold yogurt to your baby not only provides relief but also serves as a nutritious snack.
  • Popsicles: Homemade popsicles made from pureed fruits or yogurt can be a refreshing and soothing option for teething babies.

Teething Toys

  • Silicone teethers: These soft, textured toys are designed to be chewed on and provide relief for sore gums.
  • Natural rubber toys: Made from natural materials, these toys are safe for babies to chew on and can help alleviate teething discomfort.
  • Cold washcloth: Dampen a clean washcloth and place it in the freezer for a short time. The cold cloth can provide relief when your baby chews on it.

10. Is it normal for a teething baby’s sleep patterns to change, even if they were previously good sleepers?

Yes, it is normal for a teething baby’s sleep patterns to change, even if they were previously good sleepers. The discomfort and pain associated with teething can disrupt their sleep routine and lead to more frequent night awakenings or difficulty falling asleep. The pressure on their gums may cause them to wake up during the night or have shorter periods of deep sleep.

In addition to physical discomfort, teething can also cause irritability and restlessness during the day, which may further impact their ability to settle down for naps or bedtime. It is important for parents to be patient and understanding during this phase, providing comfort and reassurance when needed.

To help manage the changes in sleep patterns during teething, establishing a consistent bedtime routine that includes soothing activities like gentle massage or reading books can be beneficial. Offering appropriate pain relief measures before bedtime, such as using chilled teethers or giving an approved infant pain reliever as recommended by a healthcare professional, may also help improve sleep quality for both the baby and the parents.

In conclusion, it is common for teething babies to experience discomfort and difficulty sleeping. However, this can be alleviated by providing them with comfort and reassurance through gentle holding.

Should you leave a teething baby to cry?

There is no harm in providing comfort to your baby when they are in pain. A few nights of disrupted sleep will not have a long-term impact on their sleep patterns. Once their tooth has fully emerged, you can resume your usual nighttime routine and their sleep will quickly return to normal.

Why won’t my baby settle at night when teething?

If your baby is experiencing teething pain and having trouble sleeping at night, you can try comforting them by gently massaging their gums or giving them something cool to chew on. These techniques can help alleviate the pain and make it easier for your baby to fall asleep.

Is it OK to give my baby Tylenol for teething every night?

It is acceptable to provide pain relief for teething. If your child’s teething pain is causing sleep disruptions, you can consider giving them Infant Tylenol or Infant Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) at bedtime, as long as they are over six months old. This can help alleviate the pain and provide reassurance to parents.

How long does teething crying last?

A: The duration of teething symptoms can vary for each baby, but typically it lasts for approximately a week. This includes a few days leading up to the tooth breaking through the gums and a few days after.

How long do sleepless teething nights last?

There are many different choices for managing sleep regressions, including homeopathic remedies, oils, bracelets, teethers, and ibuprofen for pain relief. These regressions typically last for 1-2 weeks, sometimes longer depending on how they are addressed, and often have a specific cause, such as crawling.

Does teething pain stop once tooth cuts?

Fortunately, the pain usually intensifies as the tooth emerges from the gums and then usually diminishes.

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