For parents of babies, night can be the toughest part of each day. Babies often get up in the middle of the night because they're hungry, they have a dirty diaper, or just want some cuddle time. When babies start teething, nighttime can get even worse with more frequent crying sessions that are harder to manage. Why is teething so bad at night, as opposed to the day? Is it just because you're exhausted, or is there really some scientific reason?
Pediatrics expert, Dr. Gaurav Gupta, told Parents that while there's no real medical reason for it, babies' teething is worse at night because that's when they are tired and have nothing to distract them from the pain. In the daytime, you can give your baby a teether to ease their discomfort, or a toy to keep them busy, but at night, when all is quiet, and there is no teether to chomp on, your baby may get fussy.
There are a few things you can do help to your baby (and you) have calmer nights while they're teething. Kim West, The Sleep Lady, suggested on her website that giving your baby a pain reliever (with approval from their doctor) before bedtime, and then waking them for the next dose should help. She noted that gently waking them when they aren't fussy and crying will make it much easier to administer the pain relief, and will give it time to kick in before their pain flares up again.
Many parents consider using oral gels containing lidocaine, but according to the U.S Food and Drug Administration, it can cause harmful or even life-threatening side effects, and shouldn't be used for teething, especially with babies under the age of 2.
Luckily, teething won't last forever. Just try to give your baby as much cuddle time and feedings as they need, and talk to their pediatrician about pain relief medications, because an all around effort can help you take a bite out of those sleepless, fussy nights.