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…
Real talk: How much wine can you safely drink while pregnant? (We’re surprised)
Is alcohol safe to drink while pregnant? Read this to get more info
Drinking wine while pregnant

Pregnancy is exciting, but it can also be a bit overwhelming, especially if it's your first pregnancy. Pregnant women are inundated with "advice" from everyone including friends, family, and even well-meaning strangers. They tell them what they can and can't eat, how often they should exercise, and whether it's safe to drink any alcohol at all.

Those who enjoy the occasional glass of wine in the evenings or like to order a cocktail when out to dinner may find themselves wondering how much (if any) wine they can drink while pregnant. Is there a safe amount to drink at certain stages of their pregnancy, or should they simply become teetotalers until the baby is born?
Many suffer anxiety if they had wine before they found out they were pregnant, wondering if it could cause any harm to their unborn baby. Unfortunately, there isn't one straightforward answer when it comes to how much wine you can drink while pregnant, but there is a lot of information out there to help you make an informed decision.

Read more
9 amazing sweet potato baby food combinations your child will love
Food combos to switch up the boring meals
Baby with sweet potatoes

It's always an exciting time when your baby can start eating solid foods. Most doctors recommend waiting until baby is six months old before starting. Once you get the OK from your pediatrician, your little one is ready to start on solid foods -- a whole new world opens up for them (and you).

Sweet potatoes are a perfect first food for your baby to try. They’re inexpensive, easy to cook, and mash up well. They’re on the sweeter side, so most babies take a liking to sweet potatoes over other veggies. More importantly, sweet potatoes are filled with Vitamin C, potassium, beta-carotene, and fiber your baby needs as they grow and develop.

Read more
How you should discipline a teen for vaping
Here are some tips for dealing with vaping teenagers
Teen vaping outside

Ah, adolescence. That time of awkward growth, confusing feelings, and unstoppable urges to try new things. It's also the time when many are influenced by peer pressure to try things that aren't good for them, like vaping. Unfortunately, teens as young as 13 are trying vaping at least once, while some tweens are already into vaping. If you've discovered your teen is vaping and you're not sure what to do, it's easy to worry and immediately think of ways to punish your child, even though it's hard to know what an appropriate punishment for vaping is.

Teen vaping has spiraled out of control with middle and high schools dealing with vaping issues in restrooms and elsewhere on school grounds. As parents, we need to be concerned about teen vaping because of the chemicals it exposes kids to, as well as the likelihood of nicotine addiction. Then, there's the rise in lung injury related to an illness associated with vaping. It's important teens understand the risks of vaping, which is where finding an appropriate punishment comes in.

Read more