Teething and Maintaining Sleep Routines

Teething may challenge feeding and sleep schedules. Here are some teething tips to promote comfort for baby and reduce anxiety for parents.

Just when it seems we are finding our groove with feeding, and a sleep schedule begins to take shape, the parenting gig tosses in a new challenge.


Somewhere around three months of age, many babies will begin teething. It varies from one child to another, but first teeth will commonly appear sometime in the first year.

Most babies will experience some level of discomfort while they are teething and this can cause anxiety for parents.

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Cues that baby may be teething include:

  • Refusing or fussy feedings
  • Increased irritability and crying
  • Increased drooling
  • Changes in bowel movement
  • Sleep disruptions

Often, the teething discomfort occurs before the tooth shows and it's alleviated once the tooth breaks through (where you can see it). Be on the look out for the first primary teeth to commonly appear in the order of the two front bottom teeth first, followed by the four front upper teeth.

While teething doesn’t necessarily cause diarrhea, the increased saliva, discomfort, and any disruption in feedings may contribute to a change in bowel movements. In other words, be on alert for the dreaded blow out diaper. 

Tips to soothe a teething baby include:

  • Rub the gum gently using a clean finger for 1-2 minutes at a time. Many babies will find this soothing after an initial uncertainty.
  • Provide safe teething tools. My daughter loved the Fresh Food Feeder and Teething Keys. Teething babies like gnawing on a safe object to help relieve the pressure and discomfort.
  • A cold washcloth may provide comfort for baby.
  • Ask your pediatrician if you are considering over-the-counter infant pain relievers such as ibuprofen (Advil) or acetaminophen (Tylenol) for proper dosing and always read the instructions thoroughly.

Every baby is truly unique, and it is no different with teething. My son had sleep disruptions throughout his first year about a week before a new tooth would emerge. I had to find that personal balance in responding and providing comfort, while trying to stick (more or less) to our sleep schedule. Teething didn’t affect my daughter as much, but I offered more comfort and soothing to both of my babies.

I was mindful of our sleep schedule and made an effort to maintain our routine, but always trust your instincts. 

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What tips and tricks do you have for a teething baby?


Disclosure: This post provides content and discussion related to health, wellness, and related subjects.  The words and other content provided in this blog including links should not be considered medical advice and should not be construed as such. Any health/wellness information should not be considered an alternative or replacement for information given to you by a licensed physician. If the reader or any other person has a medical concern, he or she should consult with a licensed physician.

Linda Scruggs

Linda Scruggs

Linda Scruggs RN, BSN serves as a resource for parents in the digital space, creating helpful health and wellness content. She has specialized for over 12 years in reproductive medicine, and family and women's health as a nurse. A mom of two young children, her work can be seen on her own blog via her site, lindascruggs.com, as a contributor to The Huffington Post, and created the patient education program in one of the top fertility centers in the country. Linda is all about empowerment in motherhood and would love to connect.

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