How to Help a Teething Baby Sleep

Advertising Disclosure
Child, Parenting

How to Help a Teething Baby Sleep

No matter the time of day, a fussy baby who’s teething can be hard to calm. But at least during the day, you expect to be awake. So, what can you do to soothe your little one and get them back to dreamland at night, so the both of you can enjoy some shut-eye? Here are some tips.


Teething is an inevitable part of your baby’s development — and it can be a nerve-wracking time for parents as their little ones struggle through cutting those first few teeth.

When Teething Starts

Usually babies begin teething somewhere between 4 and 7 months of age. But some children may begin teething earlier or later than this window.

How to Know if Teething is Keeping Your Baby from Sleeping

You can tell if your baby’s nighttime restlessness is due to teething because they’ll be exhibiting other common teething symptoms. Along with difficulty sleeping, these symptoms usually include:

  • irritability/fussiness
  • excessive drooling
  • chewing

7 Ways to Help a Teething Baby Sleep

1. A Gum Massage

Your baby’s gums are irritated and sore, which can explain the nighttime fussiness. So when they wake up crying, try offering them a cooling gum massage with a durable teething ring.

With teething toys, make sure that they’re solid plastic rather than gel-filled, and store them in your fridge or freezer. Inspect the teething ring after every use to ensure that there aren’t any broken pieces that could pose a choking hazard.

2. A Cooling Treat

Sore gums can really benefit from a cooling sensation. One option is to soak a washcloth in water and then place it in the freezer for 30-60 minutes. Another option is to freeze breast milk and place in a freezer teething toy for a cool treat. The great thing is that there are so many options these days! 

3. Apply Some Pressure

Be sure to wash your hands before placing your fingers in your baby’s mouth for this remedy. 

Use your fingers to apply pressure on your baby’s gums. Sometimes simply rubbing the gums  can be enough to give your baby relief from teething pain. 

4. Wipe and Repeat

Most people don’t associate drooling with discomfort. But letting your baby sit around with a wet face all day can cause rashes, which adds to the discomfort later at night. 

Try to keep your baby as dry as possible during the day in order to avoid a sleepless night. This is a good time to invest in durable bibs that don’t let drool soak through to the clothes beneath them.

5. A Little White Noise

Sometimes a bit of a distraction can also help alleviate discomfort for your little one. Keep in mind this doesn’t work for every baby, but it’s worth a try adding a white noise machine to your baby nursery. Some white noise machines can also serve as a night light or even be controlled remotely. 

6. Consider Medicine

This tip should be more of a last resort as opposed to your first soothing technique. But sometimes, if your baby is struggling to sleep, some over-the-counter medicine might be the trick you need.

Talk with your baby’s pediatrician first before you give it to your baby so you can confirm the proper dosage. But baby acetaminophen (Tylenol) given roughly 30 minutes before bedtime can help to block mouth pain and help your little one drift off to sleep.

Do avoid teething tablets and topical numbing medications designed to be used on a baby’s gums.

Often, numbing gels don’t provide sustaining relief because your baby is drooling so much that the medication is washed away.

7. Maintain Bedtime Routine

This might sound like a tall order, but teething — much like many other periods in your baby’s life — is a temporary situation. No matter how tempting it might be to let teething disrupt your baby’s regular bedtime routine, don’t do it.

As much as possible, stick to the routine you’ve already established and try to keep your little one as comfortable as possible so that they can fall asleep.


The Takeaway

Teething is one of those baby milestones that most parents have a love-hate relationship with. On the one hand, it’s exciting to see your little one grow and develop. But on the flip side, those first few teeth are usually when teething symptoms are at their worst and nighttime sleep is most disrupted.

Fortunately, there are things you can do to ease the discomfort and make sleep possible for both you and baby. 

Good luck!