When your typically sound sleeper begins waking up several times a night fussing, you might think teething is to blame. In addition to the physical symptoms of teething, including drooling and swollen gums, your baby might also be more irritable because of the discomfort of the budding tooth. While the discomfort associated with teething can lead to fussiness at night, you should also rule out other factors that can lead to a fussy baby.
Teething and Irritability
As your baby's teeth prepare to break through the gums, you might notice increased irritability in your little one. Your baby's gums might become inflamed as the hard teeth push through the soft tissue of the gums, resulting in some inflammation. As a result, some irritability might accompany the new teeth because mild discomfort occurs as the gums swell and teeth break through, according to AskDrSears.com. Because teething doesn't take a break in the evening, the irritability has the potential to create a fussy baby at night.
When teething discomfort is at its peak, your baby might wake at night because of her inflamed gums. KellyMom.com notes that teething is a common cause of night waking from 6 months through 2 years of age. When the discomfort arouses your baby from a peaceful sleep, she might have trouble settling back down, especially if she's irritable because of the teething.
When you suspect your baby is budding a tooth, it's easy to blame teething on a variety of symptoms, from fussiness and night waking to fever, diarrhea and diaper rash. However, your pediatrician should evaluate these symptoms to determine whether an underlying problem, such as an ear infection, is contributing to nighttime fussiness. The American Academy of Pediatrics' HealthyChildren.org explains that blaming teething for such symptoms can lead to a delayed diagnosis of an ear infection, urinary tract infection or other conditions.
A teething baby who is fussy and wakeful at night doesn't get proper amounts of sleep -- and neither do you. Once you have determined, with your pediatrician, that the nighttime fussiness is related to teething, you can help soothe the inflamed gums and minimize irritability. A frozen teething ring or wet washcloth can help soothe tender gums. If fussiness at night continues, ask your pediatrician about baby pain reliever, which can help minimize the discomfort, irritability and fussiness.