Teething gets blamed for just about every ailment imaginable when it comes to babies. Baby’s got a fever? Probably because she’s teething. Baby’s crying more than normal? I bet it’s sore gums from those teeth coming in. Baby’s got runny poop for a couple of days? I’ve heard that diarrhoea can be caused by teething.
How teething affects sleep
Now, all of those things very well could be the result of a tooth coming in, that’s true. But most parents are too quick to blame teething for any and all deviations from the norm as soon as they notice that first tooth appearing below the gum-line.
And this is especially true when it comes to sleep.
As parents, we’re predisposed to preventing discomfort in our babies, and that’s a good thing, obviously. But the natural reaction when baby starts crying in the night is to go in and do whatever we can to soothe them, which can lead to baby being unable to get to sleep without that comfort.
So let’s say you’ve been sleep training for a couple of weeks, everything’s going well, and then suddenly, you start to see a regression. Baby is suddenly waking up crying two or three times a night. Naturally, you’re going to look for a reason why they’re slipping back into old habits. And if there’s a tooth coming in, that provides a quick and easy answer.
And, of course, it’s not fair to leave baby to cry if they’re actually in pain and not just looking for mum to come nurse them back to sleep. So you give in and decide you’ll get back to sleep training once this whole teething thing is over with.
Cut to a year later, and baby is still getting rocked or soothed to sleep every time they wake up, because hey! I think there’s a tooth coming in!
Stay consistent with your sleep training
So… just a couple of things to bear in mind before you give up on your sleep training routine due to incoming chompers.
First of all, teething symptoms last for around eight days, so if you’re looking at two weeks of baby crying through the night, it’s either due to some other ailment, or baby has once again learned that crying when he wakes up will bring his favourite person into the room, and she or he will be helping him get back to sleep.