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Does Teething Affect my Little Darlings’ Sleep?

I am sure that you have never heard this story but…..

In 1871, the Chicago Tribune reported that the cause of a huge fire was due to a cow that kicked over a lantern in the barn whilst it was being milked. They went ahead and names the cow as Catherine O’Leary’s cow.

The Tribune however admitted at a later date that the story was completely fabricated. However, by then the damage was done and Catherine and her cow were blamed for one of the largest fires in US history.

Ok, so what has this got to do with teething?

Well it hasn’t really, except that they’re both victims of scapegoating.

Teething is blamed for almost everything when it comes to our Little Darlings. Baby has a temperature? Oh they must be teething, Baby is crying more than normal? Oh they must be teething. Baby has an upset tummy? Oh they must be teething. You get the picture?

All of those things could be the result of teething, that is true. However, most parents are very fast to blame teething for any deviation from normal as soon as they start to notice the first tooth starting to appear.

There is no more situation that this is more true for than that of their babies sleep.

Now as parents we are naturally predisposed to preventing any level of discomfort for our babies. This is clearly a good thing. However, that natural reaction to go to them in the middle of the night when they are crying can lead a baby to be unable to go to sleep without that comfort.

Let’s imagine that you been sleep training for a few weeks and everything is going well. However, you suddenly start to see a regression. Your baby is now waking 2-3 times a night again and you are naturally going to look for a reason why things are going back to their old ways. If you notice that a tooth is coming through then that provides you with an easy reason for this regression.

Obviously, it’s not fair to leave baby crying if they are in pain so you decide to give in and provide lots of extra comfort. You do what you did previously in order to get them back to sleep and tell yourself that you will get back on track once the teething is over.

All of a sudden it is a year later, and your Little Darling is still being rocked, soothed or nursed to sleep every time they wake up, because teeth are constantly coming in the first few years unfortunately.

I would ask you to bear in mind a few things before you decide to give up on sleep training due to teething:

Firstly, teething symptoms usually last for around eight days. Therefore, if has been a few weeks of crying in the night then this is probably due to another illness or they have learned that crying in the night will bring in their favourite person who will help them go back to sleep.

Secondly, teething symptoms are nowhere near as uncomfortable as we parents imagine them to be. We see words like ‘breaking through’ and ‘erupting’ so of course of mind conjures up painful images. However, nature isn’t as cruel as we think and the babies gums will move out of the way to allow room for the incoming teeth.

There are now multiple experts that testify to the fact that teething does not cause the amount of pain we once thought.

I am not saying that you should ignore teething and the pain all together. I am simply saying that teething may not be the villain that we make it out to be.

My recommendation would be to push through the teething, offer medicine when needed and carry on with the sleep training.

You will all be happier when you are well rested!


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