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Welcome to the kids sleep show, where we help tired parents from around the world to get their children to fall asleep independently, sleep through the night and build healthy sleep habits for life. I’m your host, Courtney Zentz. Now let’s sleep together. Hello, and welcome back to this week’s episode of the kids sleep show. My name is Courtney Zentz coming to you from a dreary Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where we have a little bit of rain headed our way. Hopefully it is beautiful and lovely and sunny and warm where you are. And I’m excited to have you here today we are talking all about the dreaded sleep regressions after teething. So I have a private Facebook community called slumber Made Simple. It’s a free resource for anyone who is struggling with their little one sleep. So feel free to join me out there if you are not already. And in that group.
I have a lot of folks that comment about teething. What do I do when my little one is teething? Why are they no longer sleeping? When they were we just went through a little bit of a kind of developmental leap, and then they got some teeth and now things are a dumpster fire again. And so I thought it would be really important to have an episode where I chat all about whether or not it’s actually teething related, or whether or not your child has potentially some habits that snuck in there inadvertently, that we need to correct and get away from Right. I mean, when you come and talk about baby sleep and toddler sleep, right things can derail after even just a weekend. You know, I know one time my aunt came to visit and rocked my son to sleep despite me asking her not to. And I love her dearly. But in a matter of two days, it set my son back at the time who was still pretty young. You know it set him back and the first night she left I put them in the crib and he cried and put himself to sleep eventually. But she’s like, why are you doing that? Because I called her when he was screaming on the phone. I’m like he used to settle by himself to sleep. And because I asked you to not to rock him and you did. This is what happens. He is now used to that rocking after only two days and he’s gonna cry himself to sleep and he only cried for you know, maybe three, four minutes and then he put himself to bed but he rebooted himself and he was fine after that. But you know, things happen pretty quick, right? And so teething can be a hard one to judge. And you have to understand, right? Is this really teething? Or is it a habit that is snuck in, and we’re kind of blaming teething. So obviously one of the main signs if a child is teething is going to be that they’re sucking on their fingers, that they’re kind of gnawing at their hands, they’re chewing on sometimes the crib. I know that my kids both had like paint missing from their cribs, which wasn’t ideal, but certainly happened.
I think that there’s often a bit of that excess, sometimes nursing or chewing on the bottle nipple because it feels really good on a child’s teeth. Well, teething, like anything is not supposed to last for weeks and weeks and weeks and weeks and weeks on end. Right. So if you’re saying to yourself, my little one has been teething for, you know, seven months, it’s probably at this point, not teething but more of a habit that came about as the result of teething. So the first thing you want to do is obviously assess and manage teething because it does hurt. And so one of the key ways that you can decipher whether or not especially in the middle of the night, it’s a teething related discomfort or simply something that they’re looking for. From a comfort standpoint, they want you to provide that support generally in the form of like touching, picking up rocking, etc, right? When you go to them, okay, and you pick them up, and you offer comfort and you give them a little cuddle, right. If the second you open that door, they stopped crying more the second you pick them up and they stop crying. Or the second that you sit down in the chair with them, they stop crying. It’s probably not teething, right? Because teething hurts, it hurts the gums when the tooth is breaking through. And then it also hurts when the tooth is healing around that new gum, right? So it kind of lasts maybe two, three days. And then that should really be it the tooth breaks through the gum that hurts and then the gum heals around the tooth. Okay. When you go and you pick your little one up and they immediately stop the fussing and upset. They likely weren’t in pain, right? When you’re in pain, you’re in pain until you get some kind of relief right and that relief relief can come in the form of you know if you work with your pediatrician, like Motrin or Tylenol is often prescribed for teething. A lot of my clients I talk about buying gummy bear molds, and filling a gummy bear mold with milk, whether it’s formula, breast milk, or even whole milk if they’re over the age of one, right and let these little molds freeze, then you get a bunch of frozen bear milk, or milk bears, excuse me, and you pop them into one of those mesh teethers. And that becomes a nice way to one, have them to the chewing helps that tooth push through the gums. The frozen bear helps numb the gums, right? And then the milk is always an extra bonus because they get a little bit of extra milk in the process of doing that. Right? So when you’re trying to assess, right, is this teething? Or is it something else, you can usually tell by their response, right? If kids are truly in pain, they’re in pain until you fix that pain, right? If they’re looking for your support, because they got the support when they were in pain, but now they kind of like it and they want to keep it right. That’s where you start to get into the habit side of things. Now, a lot of times when kids are teething at bedtime, and overnight As parents, we don’t really know what to do, right? You go in in the middle of the night, and you pick them up and you kind of try to rock them back down or nurse and back down or feed him back down or do anything back down. Then eventually, you’ve tried rocking, you tried feeding, you tried cuddling, you know, and then eventually, you know, maybe you go for the motoring because you realize, hey, maybe they’re teething. Right? And then other times, they’re gonna just fall back to sleep because they want it to be rocked. So the first thing I would tell you is, if you’re, you know, trying to wonder kind of is this a developmental leap? Is that a sleep progression? Or is it truly teething is look at what the responses when you enter the space, okay? Generally, if there’s immediate silence, they just want to do so it’s a habit. Now you have to wean off of that habit, whatever it is they’re looking for, right? If, if they’re looking for rocking to sleep, you have to slowly stop rocking to sleep, right? If they’re looking for intake, right, perhaps they were hungry, great feed them, we should always feed children when they’re hungry. Remember, kids need 24 to 32 ounces of milk in a given 24 hour period to feel full, and you know, appropriately satisfied to grow from an optimal health standpoint, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. The next thing you want to look at is, hey, maybe we’ve we’ve kind of created a monster here, we didn’t even realize it, getting rid of some of those habits and then other it could be that it is truly teething and we need to manage that. So again, working with your pediatrician to understand what the best approach is, for you for your family. I know that they do make different kind of homeopathic type treatments, per se, or I wouldn’t even call them treatments, I
things to ease discomfort. You know, I’ve seen things like teething necklaces and such, you know, if a mother is wearing a teething necklace, and your little one wants to chew on those, that’s great. I’m always very weary around things that are near or around baby when they’re sleeping. So I kind of shy away from those things. You know, I have found frankly, that Motrin and Tylenol when used appropriately and in accordance with your pediatrician work the best for a baby who’s truly teething. Otherwise during the day, and when they’re awake, and you’re with them, you know, using things like those milk bears to help or teething rings, sometimes even freezing the tip of a washcloth, so you don’t want the whole thing you kind of wet the end of it, right. And then you freeze the whole thing and the only obviously the part with the water will freeze. And then you know baby can chew on that. And that also kind of offers help and comfort a girl friend of mine had told me that when my son was born, I was always a little weary on them sucking on a random piece of fabric, but I mean, you know, if it’s been washed accordingly, and then is dipped in milk and frozen, I suppose it’s fine. You know, everybody’s gonna have their own way of doing things. So you can look at things like that from, you know, the milk bear standpoint, that’s always my favorite. Sometimes using the teethers there was one that’s like a banana. And the baby could hold it, but it was also it kind of looked like a toothbrush on the end, actually. But it was great. Those were awesome. teethers again, all of that is causing pressure, right, that pressure causes the tooth to poke through. And then ultimately that gum to heal around it so that you can get over the teething side of it. Now let’s assume you’re past teething the tooth popped through it’s been a couple days and sleep still a dumpster fire, what do you do you have a habit situation. So you’ve got to address First, the appropriate awake windows, make sure your child is getting the right amount of sleep in the day. Make sure their naps are good. Make sure there’s balance right between supported and unsupported. Still allowing them to settle for some of those naps and then be supported for some of them in order to make sure that they’re getting the right amount of sleep at the right time. Okay, because the daytime sleep is going to feed your bedtime and overnight always right. So first start with the daytime Make sure your naps are aligning good so that you go into bedtime without having to worry about things like false starts, which is where your baby wakes about 45 minutes after they’re already sleeping. Okay, so you make sure your bedtime is set appropriately based off the last nap you make sure they’re getting the right amount of sleep in the day you make sure they’re settling into permanently for at least one nap a day, and for bedtime, and then you make sure you’re consistent in your responses overnight, right? A lot of times parents are still feeding, I can tell you, if your baby’s over six months of age, they don’t need milk, they’re using that milk as a habit if they’re getting it. So you need to start weaning off of the milk from that standpoint, assuming that they are of optimal, you know, health and growth along their own curve. So that’s kind of the first thing you want to look at. If you’ve got that habit feeding in there, it needs to go away. The next thing is looking at whatever the prop is right rocking to sleep bouncing to sleep nursing to sleep feeding, to sleep, driving to sleep, like anything with the word to sleep in, it is really just the fact that your child has gotten more used to that being the tool in the toolbox that they use to go to sleep, I often use the analogy of, you know, a baby kind of grabbing for a screwdriver, right. And there’s a Phillips head screw that we need to turn into the wall, but your baby’s constantly grabbing the Flathead screwdriver. And if you don’t know what a flathead and phillips head screwdriver are, go ahead and google it because you’ll see the difference. And so babies constantly grabbing for the Flathead screwdriver, it’ll work in a Phillips head screw, it’s just not the most efficient, so rocking to sleep and feeding to sleep and bouncing to sleep, right? Those are all tools that are essentially a flathead screwdriver. Okay, what you want to teach them is that skill of independent sleep, which is the Phillips head screwdriver, right? They don’t even know they possess the skill. So sometimes they kind of forget that they have this other tool in their tool belt. And that’s where, you know, gentle and appropriate sleep coaching, can teach them and sort of nudge them back into hey, you’ve got the right tool yet just have to use it. Okay, so that’s where I would start is kind of assess one, whether it is truly teething or whether this sleep progression is caused by kind of a preference for your child wanting something else, then assess your total breakout in not only daytime sleep, but also intake to make sure they’re getting that 24 to 32 ounces in the day that they need for optimal health and to sleep well. And through the night. Again, most babies over six months of age can absolutely do it. I have clients over three months that do it. I do have clients over three months that still feed, it really is a balance, but it’s not feeding to sleep, it’s feeding for nutrition. So if they are still eating in the middle of the night, that’s great, we should always make sure that we’re feeding our children, right. It’s that you don’t do it to sleep. Okay, so
kind of assessing the overall picture of what’s going on. And then remember out in my facebook group slumber Made Simple. I do weekly q&a, where I answer your questions. So if you’ve kind of gone through this checklist, you’re listening to this episode, and you’re going to her and I really just can’t figure out what the heck is going on with this kid. What do you want? What do you need? I don’t really know jump out to my Facebook group at summer Made Simple. I’m out there every single week live 130 on Tuesdays to answer all your questions. So save the date, save the time, come out and chat with me live and I will answer all of your sleep questions because it’s complex, right? I see a lot of times parishes struggle and struggle and struggle and they guess and you’re just honestly wasting time, you’re wasting time with not getting sleep for yourself that’s important. And for your little one to grow. 90% of a child’s brain is developed by the age of five, right? We want to give them every shot as much as possible to get the right amount of sleep so that they can be at their best and I’m here to help you do that. So thank you so much for tuning in today. I hope you have found this episode to be helpful. I know that sleep regressions are tough. I know that certainly teething is a question because they seem to do it forever. But hopefully with this advice, you will be able to get over that quick tooth popping through, keep this sleep and build healthy sleep habits for life. Until next time, Courtney Zentz here thanks so much for tuning in. Bye for now.
one more thing before you go. As a valued listener of the kids sleep show. I want to help you build a great sleeper not just in the times you’re listening to the show. But all day every day. Every week of the year. I have a new Facebook group called slumber Made Simple. It’s a place to gather with other parents looking for sleep support, laughs and the latest in sleep research to build a family that is rested and at their best
day in and day out.
If you want to be part of the community where you can get free sleep support, weekly training sessions, unbelievable content and so much more. Head on over to tiny transitions.com forward slash community that’s tiny transitions.com forward slash community or head over to Facebook and search slumber Made
drop me a note and let me know when you join. I can’t wait to see you there.