The whole first year for your baby is a whirlwind. You’ll suddenly realize that tiny thing you took home from the hospital is showing personality and accomplishing those many milestones.
And of course, sooner or later, you’re going to notice some teeth sprouting through the gums. While very few babies are born with a tooth already emerging, all babies have teeth ready to go under the gums even while still inside the womb, according to the American Dental Association (ADA).
Those teeth will all emerge by the time your child is 3 years old. In the meantime, you can read my recent post about teething to understand all the symptoms your child might be showing that will clue you in (plus how you can help the baby get some relief).
A quick recap of teething symptoms:
- Chewing on solid things
- Drool (lots of drool)
- Swollen gums
During this time, you might notice sleep is hard to come by in your home. But does teething make babies tired too? Read on to find out!
Teething and Sleepiness: Is it normal?
Based on what I know from my experiences, my kids were SO not sleepy during the teething time. I had a wakeful child each time. But I was lucky in that they did get used to the pain eventually and weren’t all dramatic with the emergence of every tooth.
I’m apparently not alone since studies show that most parents complain about wakefulness rather than teething and sleepiness. Pain from teething is often so severe it can wake your baby. I speak from experience here.
However, you have to kind of roll with it, and if you look at my other post about nighttime teething relief, you’ll get answers. But whatever you do, DON’T change your baby’s bedtime routine. You’ll only make things worse. Keep it consistent and simply add in those helpful remedies to get through this prickly time in life.
Now, let’s discuss is teething and sleepiness normal?
Yes, sometimes. My friend Katherine said both her boys would sleep more while they were teething. In fact, she’d thought they’d had a cold. She checked them out and became so concerned that she took them to their pediatrician. She thought for sure they were coming down with something.
Indeed, they were both acting under the weather. But the doctor reassured her the boys were quite healthy despite the sleepiness. There are no formal studies or anything on this topic, but there are theories that revolve around teething possibly causing sleepiness.
However, I do think it could be more of a coincidence that falls in line with things that would make your baby sleepier.
What Causes a Baby to be Sleepy?
If you notice your baby is sleeping more than she usually would and she happens to be teething, it might not be related. It may very well be a coincidence. What could cause it?
Babies grow A LOT in that first year. It’s roughly 10 inches in length and triple the weight that each baby gains in that tender first year. According to research, babies sleep more when they are in a growth spurt. The longer they sleep, the greater the growth they experience.
Sometimes, your baby may indeed be teething. But she may also have a cold. Generally, runny noses aren’t a sign of teething. Drooling is more about teething, though. Make sure you watch where it’s coming from to see if it’s a cold.
Fevers are very rare when teething. Anything above 101F is probably a bacterial or viral infection. Always have a baby thermometer available so you can have complete peace of mind.
Additionally, babies will pull their ears because of teething pains. They will do this too when they are ill, so it’s important to keep an eye out. Playing a round of “Is Baby Sick or Teething” is never a fun game, but it’s one ALL of us parents have to go through sooner or later.
A good indication that the baby is sick rather than teething is that they are pulling and fussing as they grab at their ears. You might want to have the doctor check to rule out an ear infection that can present similar distress signs.
And if any symptoms you notice get worse, it’s likely not teething. Teething symptoms tend to be mild. Monitor baby’s health, and if you detect a fever, runny nose, or other signs of illness, get it checked out.
As for teething and sleepiness, some babies are indeed sleepier the next day after staying up wailing all night. Use the tips in my other post so they’ll sleep better at night at that should take care of your tired angel!
Leslie Berry lives with her husband and two young daughters in Los Altos, California where she loves helping other moms get comfortable with motherhood and embracing the insanity with facts peppered with laughs. She loves eating too much sushi, exercise, and jamming out on her Fender.