How to Handle Nighttime Teething

by Kathryn Hatter

A broken night’s sleep can be rough on the entire family. If your child has trouble sleeping due to the pain and discomfort of teething, managing the pain and comforting your child will be your main priorities. As you strive to manage nighttime teething pain, use a patient and reassuring approach. Although sleep disturbances can be frustrating, resolving the pain issues should improve everyone’s sleep.

Watch your child for signs of teething during the day so you can take preemptive steps to minimize teething pain at night. Indications that a child is in the process of getting new teeth include drooling, fussiness, gnawing on fingers and toys and red, swollen gums, advises pediatrician and author William Sears, with the Ask Dr. Sears website.

Administer a pain reliever to your child before you put her to bed in the evening. Both ibuprofen or acetaminophen are appropriate as long as given in the correct dosage for your child’s age and weight; however, you should wait until your infant is at least 6 months old before administering ibuprofen.

Check the clock if your baby wakes up again later in the night to determine whether you can provide more pain reliever. If you can administer more pain reliever because the first dose has worn off, give your child more medicine. If your child wakes before you can administer more medicine, you must wait to give more pain reliever.

Rock or hold your child to comfort him while the pain reliever takes effect or while you are waiting to administer more, advises sleep trainer Nicole Johnson, with the Baby Sleep Site. Once your child calms -- either because the medicine took effect or because you were able to give more medicine -- tuck him back into bed to sleep again.

Wash your hands and gently massage your child’s gums with your clean finger to apply some pressure to the sore gums, advises the Food and Drug Administration website.

Offer your child a chilled teething ring to soothe teething pain.

Items you will need

  • Children’s pain reliever
  • Chilled teething ring


  • The roughest nights with an erupting tooth should be during the period when the tooth actually pushes through the gums. Erupting may take between two and four days, states Johnson. If your baby has nighttime sleep disruptions that last longer than this time period, teething may not be the culprit and you may need to investigate the reason for your child's waking.


  • Do not administer gel or liquid analgesics for teething pain to children under 2 years of age. The Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning about possible serious side-effects from the use of over-the-counter gels and liquids for oral pain that contain benzocaine.

About the Author

Kathryn Hatter is a veteran home-school educator, as well as an accomplished gardener, quilter, crocheter, cook, decorator and digital graphics creator. As a regular contributor to Natural News, many of Hatter's Internet publications focus on natural health and parenting. Hatter has also had publication on home improvement websites such as Redbeacon.

Photo Credits

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