If I had a penny, just a penny, for every time a parent tells me that teething is causing their baby’s sleep troubles, I would be one rich lady!! Or how about when they tell me that their baby has been teething for weeks, months, heck ever since their baby was born. GEEZ . . . Really?
Realistically, there is no way teething is causing your baby to fight bedtime and be up all night for weeks and months on end. The fact of the matter is that teething is not even painful for many babies. Some babies find it annoying or no more than an itch. While sure, others do feel some discomfort. For those that feel discomfort this typically only occurs the 3-4 days before the tooth erupts and maybe the 2-3 days after it pokes through. Not weeks, definitely not months! The emergence of a tooth simply does not take that long!
In fact, some studies prove the short duration of teething symptoms. There is science behind the fact that teething is not the excruciatingly painful experience that many of us believe it to be, maybe a discomfort or an itch at most.
Although many of you sound VERY convincing, I hate to break it to you, but your 18-month-old baby has NOT been teething since 3 months old! And the real reason your baby has been a fussy, cranky, and tired terror is likely because his sleep habits are poor.
Let’s explore this some more. So why on earth would a baby that appears to be teething be so miserable and constantly up all night if he’s not, in fact, teething?
Well, chances are your baby has poor sleep habits. He is most likely using props to sleep, waking up, and depending on mommy to put him back to sleep. He’s up all night, so, in turn, he is fussy, cranky, and doesn’t enjoy doing what a well-rested child would enjoy doing, like playing, exploring, and practicing milestones.
Not only that, a tired baby will have multiple meltdowns over the smallest of things, and anything out of the norm LIKE TEETHING will completely set him off! A tired baby will not handle something like teething very well, just like an adult that is exhausted and a curveball is thrown their way. If you are well-rested, happy, and getting the sleep you need, you will feel like you can handle anything. If you are tired and run down, something like a backache or headache will now feel 10 times worse than it really is.
This is EXACTLY what happens with a teething baby. If your baby is getting the sleep he needs, chances are the emergence of teeth won’t even bother him. But because he’s tired, the teething feels way worse than it is.
It’s very easy to blame teeth every time your baby is cranky, fussy, up all night, or just being a jerk for no apparent reason! If your baby were getting the sleep he needs, you would see a totally different baby. And even if he were teething, you probably wouldn’t even know when a new tooth would pop through!
So what do you do? Teach your baby good sleep habits! Help him learn independent sleep skills, so he is not so reliant on you and can sleep through the night without your help. Once you fix your baby’s sleep habits, he will be able to breeze through things like teething and illness, and you will feel silly you ever blamed those darn teeth for so long!