Is it teething?
Have you ever heard the story of Catherine O'Leary's Cow?
Back in 1871, the Chicago Tribune reported that the cause of the great Chicago Fire was a cow, Catherine O’Leary’s cow to be precise, kicking over a lantern in the barn while it was being milked.
Unfortunately, the Tribune admitted later on that it had completely fabricated the story, but that didn’t stop people from blaming Catherine and her cow from being widely blamed for one of the greatest disasters in US history.
What’s this got to do with teething, you ask?
Nothing really, except that they’re both victims of some unnecessary scapegoating.
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? Yep, mostly blamed on teething.
Now, all of those things are potentially 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 do everything in our power to alleviate 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 your baby has been sleeping great 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 Mommy to come nurse them back to sleep, so you give in and decide you’ll get back to working to help baby sleep all night 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! there’s probably a tooth coming in!
So... just a couple of things to bear in mind before you give up on your sleep routine due to incoming choppers.
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 created an association that will bring his favorite person into the room, and she’ll be helping him get back to sleep.
Second, teething symptoms are not nearly as uncomfortable as parents typically imagine they are. We hear about teeth “breaking” or “erupting” through the gums, which conjures up some cringe-worthy images, but nature is not nearly so heartless in this instance. Baby’s gums move out of the way to allow for incoming teeth.
Long story short, according to many experts, teething doesn’t cause a significant amount of pain.
So, once again, I’m not suggesting that you should ignore the teething thing altogether. Just bear in mind that new teeth are not the villain they’re often made out to be. And remember, baby’s going to be a lot happier while going through the process if he’s getting full nights of uninterrupted sleep.
The same thing goes for his parents.
If you’re not sure if it’s teething or you’ve gotten yourself into a bit of a sticky situation and don’t know how to fix it, I’m happy to chat with you. Contact me today and we’ll schedule a free, 15 minute call to chat.
I’m here to make a confession. Yes, I’m a sleep coach but I too have rough nights of sleep.
It doesn’t happen often but I know how you feel. It’s 3am and you’re staring at the clock. You have a few hours before you have to get up for work and you’re worried how you’ll get through the day on so little sleep. You feel like your nights are on repeat…falling asleep but not staying asleep. Or you’re the opposite…you lay in bed and can’t seem to fall asleep no matter what you do.
So what can you do to make your nights more restful? Do these 4 things to help you drift off to sleep faster and feel more rested in the morning.
A few months ago, I was contacted by a mom of a 1-year old boy from Maryland was keeping his parents
awake all night. She told me that every night; she had to CLIMB into her son’s crib at bedtime to cuddle
with him until he fell asleep, then would slowly climb her way out of the crib, hoping he wouldn’t wake
up. This had been going on for months and she was exhausted.
A few days later, I was contacted her friend, who had a 2 year old little boy, telling me that her son was
keeping she and her husband up all night; he wasn’t staying in his crib and the whole family was
suffering because of his nighttime crib jumping. She’d heard from her friend about working with me and
decided she needed my help as well.
Both moms thought they’d tried everything and just wanted to get some sleep.
Their goals were the same…they needed sleep and so did their little ones.
We started out by talking about the boys’ sleep environment and how inviting their rooms were for
sleep. We made sure each room was as dark as possible, using blackout curtains. We made sure each
crib was safe and lowered as far to the floor as each would go to prevent falls. We also made sure to use
white noise machines to help drown out the noise from the rest of the house.
Since each boy had a different situation and amount of sleep needed, each had his own custom sleep
plan for the parents to follow. The parents got to choose which method they wanted, based on their
parenting style, to help their son sleep through the night and get on a good nap schedule.
During each family’s consultation, we talked about things that were going well with their current
situation and areas, such as naptimes and length, that needed to be improvement. We talked about
bedtime routines, when to put the boys to bed, how to handle getting the boys to sleep and how to
handle night wakings. We streamlined each boys’ bedtime routine to around 30 minutes and how to
keep bedtimes early (about 7:30/8pm). Finally we made sure each boy was getting a good nap during
the day and at the right time to balance out their day so they weren’t tired at bedtime.
Within 1 week, much to the surprise of both moms (and the Dads), both boys were putting themselves
to sleep, sleeping through the night and were no longer giving their parents nighttime shenanigans. I
was there to support them throughout the entire process and I’m happy to report that both boys are
still sleeping like angels, months later.
If you’re ready to stop the nighttime shenanigans and get your baby or child sleeping through the night,
schedule a free call with me today to learn how you can get your child sleeping, just like these moms
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