Skip to main content

NewFolks may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

How to soothe a teething baby at night

For parents and loved ones, hearing a fussing child toss around their crib, in audible discomfort, can be one of the most difficult things adults can experience with infants. Seeing and hearing your child go through a painful situation can be very trying on parents, causing exacerbated stress levels. Teething, though uncomfortable as it may be, is a crucial step in a baby’s development. This process paves the way for them to start consuming solid foods and obtaining vitamins and nutrients from other sources besides breastmilk or formula. It also heralds a new chapter and phase in your growing baby’s life, bringing new and exciting experiences besides cutting teeth. How to soothe a teething baby at night is a common question for those struggling with baby teething and sleep issues. How does one fix it?

While there are many methods, tips, products, and services available for babies who are teething, let’s focus primarily on the ways parents can help soothe their teething babies at night. Together with expert advice, these tidbits of advice and practical methods can help parents become more in-tune with their needs and roles during the transition of teething, without added headaches and frustrations.

marina shin / Shutterstock

Is baby really teething?

While this may seem like an easy decision question to ask and answer, not every parent is as experienced in the exact timeframes of milestones such as teething. This is especially true for new parents, who are so often thrust into the wide world of parenting for the very first time with little training on the subject. It’s vital to determine that teeth are in fact being cut, as the symptoms of teething can mimic other issues. Babies that pull their ears are not necessarily teething, and neither are those who place their fists into their mouths.

These symptoms, when in an isolated circumstance, cannot definitively point solely to teething. If you aren’t sure about whether your baby is in fact teething or suspect another problem, make a trip to your child’s pediatrician. A quick check-up can allow your child’s doctor to confirm or deny teething and identify other problems that could be causing discomfort, such as an earache, a cold, or other respiratory illnesses. A few classic teething symptoms that could be occurring at the same time are:

  • Drooling
  • Biting or placing their fists in their mouths
  • Low-grade fever
  • Ear pulling
  • Increased fussiness or crying
  • Decreased appetite
  • Lack of sleep or disrupted patterns
Rob Hainer / Shutterstock

Ways to soothe a teething baby

You’ve spoken with your child’s doctor, and you’ve found they are experiencing the process of cutting teeth. Now what? Don’t be afraid, no one expects parents to simply deal with their cranky infant. There are several ways to soothe and treat your child’s pain and discomfort from teething, many of them involving nothing more than a product or method right from the comfort of your home.

  1. Offer a chilled teething ring or cloth – Your baby’s gums are red and sore, and a cool cloth or refrigerated teething ring can be just the product to provide your infant with a cooling sensation to free them of the pain of the underlying tooth. We really love these soft and chewy, silicone teething wands from Tinabless. You can also simply wet half of a clean washcloth and place it into the freezer until chilled. By only wetting half of the cloth, your baby can safely hold onto the dry end and place the frozen half into their mouths and soothe their sore gums.
  2. Breastfeed before bed – If you find your baby fussing nearly every night before bed due to teething, consider nursing them in a calm and darker environment such as a dimmed bedroom or nursery. By dimming the lights and quietly nursing your little one before bed, you’re setting the tone for a calm and relaxing sleep. Additionally, studies have shown that breast milk can reduce the pain of teething for babies.
  3. Provide gum massages – If your little one will allow you to do this, gum massages are an excellent way to encourage teeth to push through more quickly, while also giving direct relief to the painful area. Moms and dads often use gum massages while their babies are in their beds, allowing them to sneak away quietly should their little one drift off mid-massage.

A few other options are:

  • Oral pain medication under the direction of your child’s pediatrician.
  • Sips of lukewarm chamomile tea.
  • OTC or homeopathic teething gels placed directly on the gums

Soothing your discomforted child while they are experiencing such a painful first experience as teething can sometimes feel overwhelming. The transition can come up quickly and can often be mistaken for other issues or ailments, so it’s crucial to involve your child’s doctor with plans of care. It’s perfectly okay to look to the experts if you aren’t a veteran parent or experienced around teething. Cool teething products, an oral teething gel, or a gentle gum massage before bed could be just the ticket you need to ride the sleep train each night, even with a teething tot right down the hall.

Editors' Recommendations

Emily Pidgeon
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Emily's work has appeared in the Tube City Almanac, Tube City Online and our Affinity Sites. When she's not writing, she is…
How to help a crying child: Our top tips for sensitive kids
Learn ways to teach highly sensitive children how to manage emotions
A crying toddler holding an ice cream cone

We've all heard the expression about there not being a point in crying over spilled milk, but as parents, we know kids do. Children cry over a lot more than a spilled drink, especially when youngsters are toddlers and don't have the words to express what they're feeling. Many parents, however, deal with a crying child multiple times a day.

If your little one tends to get upset over relatively minor things, you're not alone. Lots of kids get upset when things don't go the way they want, but for some, it seems like the tears flow freely and quite often. Perhaps it's not that a crying child is being overly dramatic. It just might be that your child is highly sensitive.
Is your crying child highly sensitive?

Read more
Your questions answered – everything you need to know about baby-led weaning
Guide to this trending solid introduction method
Baby eating solids in a highchair

Feeding your newborn is pretty straightforward. They only need human milk or formula for the first six months of their life to thrive. Once your baby is ready to start trying new foods, things can get a bit more complicated.
Parents shift to making or buying purees as they begin to introduce their little ones to solid foods. Cue caregivers pretending a spoon is an airplane and feeding their little child some version of oatmeal or pureed peas and sweet potatoes. These days, some parents are taking a different approach and introducing solids straight away. It’s known as baby-led weaning.
What is baby-led weaning? The method, developed by former public health nurse Gill Rapley, involves adults giving babies solid foods in their natural form and allowing them baby to self-feed. If a parent makes spaghetti, meatballs, and broccoli for dinner, the baby will eat it, too. Proponents say it respects a baby’s independence and food autonomy and may reduce picky eating.
It can also be a ton of food. Here’s what to know about baby-led weaning.

When do I start baby-led weaning?

Read more
Why do babies growl? Understanding your little one’s weird sounds
We'll help you navigate this little animal stage with your baby
Mom holding her baby up to her face

There is no sweeter sound to a new parent than listening to their baby cooing and babbling. While you're waiting for those first words, those early squeals and giggles are simply delightful. With each sound, your little one is communicating with you even without saying their first official word. But have you ever sworn you've heard your baby sound more like an animal than a human? There are reasons why babies growl sometimes, and parents need the heads up.

If your baby has added growling to their language skills, you may be wondering why they chose to sound more feral than human. Turns out, it all depends on when and how they growl. Even though it might be unusual, it is pretty adorable to witness. Here’s how to decode why babies growl and what those noises mean.
Deciphering your baby's new sounds

Read more