Surviving Teething Without Sleep Regression

One of the biggest worries for parents with young babies is how to protect their baby’s sleep when teething strikes. Teething is one of the most testing times during your baby’s first few years, and it can be totally unpredictable, making it tricky to prepare for.

Many parents think that their babies start teething when they are around 12 weeks, when they start to display two of the most common signs of teething – dribbling and chewing/sucking on anything they can pull into their mouths. Some babies will be teething at this point, and will go on to cut their first tooth within a few weeks… However, most first teeth don’t appear until babies are 5 to 8 months and some babies are still all gums at a year! Those signs that appear at 12 weeks are simply the saliva glands kicking in and producing lots more saliva, in preparation for teething as well as weaning. The chewing and sucking of all things in reach is just a little milestone in their development.

So how can you tell if the dribbling and chewing are the start of teething or just development?

  • Are they accompanied by red cheeks?
  • Has your baby become more unsettled than usual? Crying for no apparent reason? Wanting to be held more than usual but still not settling in your arms?
  • Has the smell of your baby’s poo become particularly vile?
  • Do they suddenly have nappy rash?
  • If your baby is on solid food, have they gone off some or most food?
  • If you’re breastfeeding, has your baby started biting you while feeding? Or chewing on the bottle while bottle-feeding?

If the answer is “yes” to some or all of these questions, you baby is probably teething.

There doesn’t seem to be a formula to work out when you will be troubled by the wretched things, but there are a few things that you can do to avoid feeling that your little one is living on a diet of Calpol and Neurofen, and to avoid having your precious sleep totally destroyed!!!

  1. Your instinct may be to cuddle away the pain and let your baby sleep on you or in your bed, but this will have a negative impact on sleep. Instead, give extra cuddles, but use pain killers and homeopathic remedies as well. The cuddles will help your baby deal with the pain while the medication kicks in, and then your baby should be able to sleep for a few hours. Try to get on top of the teething pain before you put your baby to bed so that you can at least have your evening.
  2. Don’t jump up the second your baby makes a noise in the night expecting every cry to turn into hours of howling. Teething often causes babies to be unsettled but they can still resettle if you give them a few minutes.
  3. If your baby has become fussy with feeding, be flexible with their routine, but don’t give up on it completely – without a routine, you won’t know if your baby is in pain, hungry, thirsty or tired. But if your baby isn’t taking as much milk or food at their regular times, you can always add top-ups to ensure they don’t get too hungry.
  4. Don’t give up on sleep training if you’re in the middle of it. You can carry on as long as you don’t leave your baby in pain! And if you do have a few bad nights, just go back a step or two in any training that you’re doing and you should be able to get back on track.

When your baby is teething, it is worth getting out the camomile teething granules and teething gel. Apply as per the instructions on their packets and see if they help. If they don’t, you can step it up to the Calpol and/or Neurofen. This should help to relieve the pain, however they won’t make your baby sleep unless they are tired because they are pain-killers, NOT a sedatives!

Most importantly, if sleep regresses, it can be always be fixed. It may fix itself or you may need to be proactive and help your baby back into good habits.

How A Single Parent Can Develop A Sleep Routine

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Having been a single parent for several years myself, when I was approached by Daniel Sherwin, author of DadSolo.com, to write a guest blog about single parents and sleep, I jumped at the idea. As many single parents know, their little ones’ sleep can be even more of an emotional battle once they are going it alone, and here, Daniel helps us understand why, and what can be done to help.

How a Single Parent Can Develop a Sleep Routine

Sleep plays a critical role in your child’s physical, emotional, and cognitive development. It’s also important for good health. But research shows that children living in single-parent homes see a significant decrease in healthy sleep patterns, and a greater variability of routine bedtimes leaving them more tired than their 2-parent home peers.

There are several things that can contribute to irregular sleep in a single parent home. For one, children are more likely to misbehave with the parent that is in the day-to-day disciplinarian role. This role also leads parents to feel guilty because they are often the “bad guy” and this can lead to extended bedtimes, more leniency about middle of the night visits, and other habits that make for poor sleep hygiene.

Similarly, lonely single parents can end up more attached to their children. Looking for friendship and support which blurs the lines of parent when it comes to bedtime rituals.

Whatever the roadblock is, it’s important to remember the importance of good sleep for your child so you can get them back into a healthy routine.

Create A Healthy Sleep Routine

  • Set a bedtime-Learn the recommended sleep times per age, and set the appropriate bedtime for your child based on when their wake-up time is. Stick to the same bedtime and wake-up time on the weekends so that your child maintains a healthy sleep-wake cycle.
  • Add a “Relaxation Hour”-Make the hour before bedtime a special “relaxation hour.” Use this time to unwind with no television, computers or other electronic devices. Use ambient light versus powerful overhead lights to add to the calming effect. Also, take this hour to focus on techniques that will help your child relax, such as a bath or bedtime reading.
  • Watch your food and drink-Meals and caffeine should be avoided several hours before bedtime. Chose a light, healthy bedtime snack instead.
  • Avoid late night visits-If your child is visiting in the middle of the night, it’s important to establish clear rules for immediately returning to bed. As tempting as it is to be the “good parent” in these moments, you’ll be creating a poor habit by doing so.

Create A Stress-Free Home Environment

  • Add fitness-Make time each day for fitness, especially activities down outdoors. Physical fitness is directly correlated to better sleeping habits.
  • Keep your cool-Your child can sense when you’re anxious and stressed, so it’s important to let them see you handling life matters in calm way. This will also model similar behavior for them as they grow; teaching them valuable coping skills.
  • Don’t overschedule-Children who have too many activities often feel too much pressure and anxiety because they’re exhausted and experiencing no necessary downtime.
  • Focus on the positive-Constant criticizing and negativity can make your child anxious. Instead, focus on the great things they are doing, particularly at bedtime.
  • Keep communication lines open-Make sure your child knows that they can talk to you about their thoughts and feelings. Strong communication lines promote security as children feel more loved and cared for, allowing them to relax and sleep easier.

Create A Healthy Sleeping Quarters

  • Color-Make sure the room is painted a color that is conducive for good sleep.
  • Alarm clocks-Make sure the numbers aren’t too bright. Light can cause nighttime disturbance.
  • Noise machine-Consider having an ambient noise machine. Small noises can affect some sleepers, but adding white noise can reduce mid-night waking.
  • Cell phones-Phones should not be kept in your children’s bedroom.
  • Window coverings-Make sure that the window has a blind or a curtain that can block light.
  • Pillow-Help your child pick a pillow that is comfortable for them.
  • Blanket-Choose a blanket together that is the perfect weight and texture.
  • Room temperature-Make sure your child’s bedroom is not too warm or cool. In general, the recommended sleeping temperature is 60 to 67 degrees.

Remember, good sleep is critical for your child’s overall development and their health. But bedtime can be just as important for you, as a single parent. Make your children’s bedtime, your coveted “me time,” by enjoying a soothing bath, a glass of wine, or a good book. You’ll find a little quality self-care time will also make you a better parent.

How to Survive the Clocks Going Back and Stop Early Rising

Do you have an early-riser? Does your child wake you at 5.30AM or earlier? Do you feel that you have tried everything to get your baby or toddler sleeping later in the mornings? Or are you just scared that when the clocks go back, your child is going to start waking up too early?
Well, here is something that is going to get your little one sleeping later. This is how to stop early-rising. This is how to reset the body-clock….

Around this time of year, I get an influx of emails and calls from parents who have early-risers, and are scared that the clocks going back is going to make their mornings even worse. Thankfully, I have devised a method to reset body-clocks that usually fixes this problem in 3 days. Read More

Why Routines Need to Be Flexible

By Sleep Fairy Sarah Quick

We all know that routines give us a framework & structure but do they have to be set in stone?

I definitely flip from thinking, “Ooh, I need a routine” to, “Hey,  manyana”.  And so does my daughter. Some days she wants things just the way she expects them to be, sitting at the table to eat, me taking her to school and healthy breakfasts, and other days she wants a little more spontaneity.

Many of our little people like to know what’s coming next and what is expected of them: Bath follows tea, stories follow bath & teeth etc but what happens when we go out for something to eat or have friends over and the routine is broken?  Read More

The Perfect Time for Mothers to Take a Nap

Having a baby in the house can easily translate to sleep deprivation for a lot of mothers. While it’s understandable why mums would want to take good care of their offspring to the point of putting their own needs second, sacrificing hours of sleep can be detrimental in the long run.

Not only will you become groggy and grumpy during the day, running around with only a few hours of sleep can also make you more prone to accidents. Webmd cites a report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which said that driving while drowsy is responsible for about 100,000 car crashes annually. Read More