Today, we have a really special post from The Cradle Coach here to talk about toddler sleep changes during teething. The Cradle Coach is an incredible resource that helps babies get the sleep they need. They offer many services for parents including private consultations, workshops, and more. It is an honor to have them post here today on a topic that is so popular with parents. Every baby gets teeth, and most have some difficulty during this time. I know my little girl and many of my friends babies are going through tough times right now since our babies are getting molars. I am so glad Melissa is here to share some of her expertise to help all the mama’s and daddy’s out there.
Sunny Jones Photography
Teeth. What would we do without them? A lifetime of smoothies and mashed potatoes doesn’t seem that appealing, but when faced with a teething toddler you may change your mind. Most children will have at least a few days of pain, irritability and disrupted sleep before a tooth breaks to the surface. And by now you have figured out all the tricks that work best for your teething toddler to survive the day (frozen ice pops, gel-filled teethers, or a frozen washcloth), but what can you do during the night that will help your toddler to sleep?
If your toddler is experiencing frequent night wakings, homeopathic remedies can help calm serious crying. Painkillers like Infant Tylenol or Motrin will help reduce the pain so that both of you can get more sleep. I also love using essential oils to help reduce the pain naturally. Young Living Kid Scents essential oil collection works great for kids! By adding clove and peppermint mixed with a diffuser like coconut oil and rubbing it on your toddlers gums, you should see a HUGE improvement for their pain tolerance during the night.
Does teething mean you should stop sleep training or break all the rules you have established with your child’s sleep? Absolutely not. If you are waiting for teething to be completely over before starting or retraining your child to sleep throughout the night, you could be waiting a very long time. Children are generally teething on and off for the first three years of their lives, so parents should not stop sleep training, fall off the “sleep train” once they have started or, even worse yet, use teething as an excuse for a child’s poor sleep habits for weeks, months, or years on end. In other words, teething does not relentlessly affect a child’s sleep night after night. Parents may see the odd night when a little one struggles to initially fall asleep or cries out in her sleep but if teething is being blamed for why your child doesn’t sleep through the night and has been for weeks to months, it may be time to step in and start teaching your child how to sleep independently.
The best way to get your child’s sleep back on track is to do the same as you did when you initially started sleep training. You want to go back to night one. Helping as needed, but allowing your child to fall asleep on their own in their crib. During the night, you will want to wait for the urgent cry before going in to help them back to sleep. As the nights go on you will want to become less and less involved. If your child was was in pain for 3 or 4 days it will take around 1 or 2 days to get back on track. If they were out of sorts for 5 or 6 days, you can expect it to take 3 or 4 days to be back to good sleeping habits. This is why it’s important to work on getting back on track as sooner then later. The longer you leave it the harder it will be.
The good news is no toddler will be teething forever (even though it might feel like it). A toddler’s sleep and eating habits usually go right back to normal once the tooth has cut through, and often improve compared to what they were like before they were teething. So, don’t lose hope! It will get better. If you need help and support along the way, we are only a phone call away. Check out our website at www.thecradlecoach.com for more information.
Founder and Senior Sleep Consultant