When Avery turned 6 months old, he was waking up every few hours, going from a good sleeper to a fussy, not-so-good sleeper. Being a first time mom I had absolutely no clue why he was waking up so often. I thought it could be the delayed 4-month sleep regression, or maybe an illness (but there were no signs of that), maybe he felt too warm or too cold at night, could he have been hungry – or was he teething?
I would go to Avery every time he woke up crying. I thought he was hungry, and he would nurse when I sat down with him but that did not stop him from waking up a few hours later. I definitely did not want to overfeed this big little boy.
I was starting to get sleep deprived all over again, waking every few hours and waiting for him to fall asleep again and then repeating the whole process again in a few hours. Fatigue is one of the worst things I’ve ever felt. I wasn’t able to smile at Avery whenever he woke up, I was mad at him for not being able to figure it out and I lost my energy.
Avery was teething. He was definitely teething because i could finally see little white pearls under his gum just waiting to cut through. I gave him cold teething toys* during the day and it seemed to help – for a while. I asked many other moms for advice and all I got was “it will return to normal.” Great. I was tired and exhausted. I wanted to love my child and make him feel better. I knew I had to find a better solution than to wait for it to “return to normal.”
*see list below post for best teething toys that worked for us
Avery was also pulling his ear a lot which made me think it could be an ear infection. He did not have a fever though. He was fussy and inconsolable because he was in teething pain. I guess I did not expect the pain to be that bad. When their little teeth are pushing through the gum, it feels itchy and sore. It hurts them in a way that they can’t explain to us. Pulling the ear, diarrhea, not eating or nursing, crying, fussiness, not napping well and not sleeping through the night are very normal for babies that are teething.
I found Hyland’s homeopathic teething tablets very helpful. Avery was able to go back to his normal sleeping habits, waking once at most. On days where he was very fussy and would chew on everything all day I would give him some infant tylenol at night. Some say that Gripe Water helps as well, although, I did not want to mix up too many things. What definitely did not help was Orajel. It seemed to always rub right off and the thought of Avery swallowing all the gel did not make me feel right.
**edited to add that Hyland’s teething tablets have been recalled and will no longer be available for sale. I’m sad to see them gone because.. What am I going to do with my next teething child??
One thing I learned during this first teething period was that sleep training him was useless. I probably could have let him cry it out for hours and he would still not sleep or wake up in pain after an hour. You really just need to wait it out and give your baby as much comfort as you can.
If you can get any help from your partner, or maybe even a family member or friend – if they can watch your baby during the day for a few hours so you can catch up on sleep then do it! There is nothing worse than to feel anger towards this little baby who can’t help it.
As the mother of the baby you know what works best for you both. If you feel that something is wrong or worries you after all the above then don’t hesitate to call the doctor! It’s always better to have the Pediatrician double check. After all, it’s your little baby. And a happy baby means a happy Mommy 🙂
5 great teething toys that worked for us:
- Sophie La Girafe: A classic. I think every child has Sophie.
- Silicone Teething Necklace. Many more teething accessories by Chewbeads.
- Cool Gel Teething Ring: Many brands sell these, I have the Munchkin teething rings and Hand & Foot.
- Giggle Lion Teether. Keeps him entertained and soothed.
- Nuby Silicone Teether. Avery LOVES this one.
Note: I am writing this post just as Avery is teething again and all my methods have been successful again 🙂 He’s happy and doesn’t seem to mind the teething pain as much. I should also mention that I leave his Nuby Teether in his crib and he helps himself to it when he wakes up at night, and then returns to sleep.