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Nighttime Teething Nightmare- Why Teething Makes Your Baby Cry More At Night and What May Help

by Jessica Martin-Weber

This post made possible by the generous support of Ready Rocker
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Ever noticed that when your baby is teething their crankiness and discomfort seems to get worse at night? Or even how sometimes they seem TOTALLY fine during the day and then suddenly at night they can’t seem to settle and are fussy and cranky and you’re not even sure why only later to notice they have puffy red gums or even a brand new tooth?

It’s not your imagination, this really does happen and there’s a reasonable explanation too. Which means there’s also something you can do about it.

What’s the deal? Why are teething symptoms worse at night?


Teething babies are often at the age of exploration of the world around them. They are ready to move! Even if they aren’t very mobile, they’re rapidly taking in information, interacting socially, and physically developing new skills daily. A little bit of teething isn’t going to slow them down, they’ve got people to see, places to go, adventures to take, play to make! Even if they do have moments during the day, there’s a lot going on around them to distract them at least a little bit from what’s going on in their mouth and head.

Once regular night time and day time sleep patterns are worked out in the brain, right around 4 months, babies have the same general physiological cycles related to sleep in their bodies as adults do. During the day the build something that’s called sleep pressure in the brain which makes them ready to sleep at night (give or take… and that doesn’t mean they won’t fight sleep, just that their brain is ready for it biologically), their bodies naturally release melatonin as daylight fades and artificial light lowers, and their cortisol levels naturally drop to make it easier for them to sleep at night. Just like adults, as they get tired and ready for sleep, they can become more emotional and little challenges will suddenly seem bigger.

What does this have to do with worsening teething symptoms? Lower cortisol levels means that stressors like pain aren’t being managed as much by the brain and become more noticeable. Not only are there less distractions to take their attention off the discomfort, there is even less of the chemical cocktail the body produces that helps with coping with such discomfort.

Meaning more ouch.

That’s not all, either.

The body does most of the growing it needs to do during sleep. Sometimes our children literally do wake up bigger in the morning, their bodies having been busy during the night before. While asleep, the body can efficiently direct energy to growth and healing. Exactly why doctors have been telling us to sleep when sick, rest is essential for growth and repair. This includes teeth! It is very possible your baby’s teething symptoms get worse at night because their teeth really are moving more at night. A process that involves shifting bone and slowly cutting through gum tissue causing headaches, mouth pain, and general discomfort. No wonder there are tears!

With nothing to distract them, lower levels of chemicals that reduce pain, and more movement of the teeth at night all combine to create a perfect storm of middle of the night fussiness or downright screaming.

What can help?

While you can’t change the natural sleep patterns in the body, you can help make your baby more comfortable through teething. Nothing is a guarantee but every little bit of hope help and any of these steps may at least help reduce discomfort so there’s a bit more rest for everyone.

 

 

Respond quickly. Don’t wait for your baby’s fussing to escalate to full-fledged wailing in distress. Being responsive to their early communication that they need help will help them emotionally regulate and manage the stress of their discomfort as calmly as they possibly can.

Rule out other concerns. Just to be sure that your baby’s distress is about teething pain, check out your baby to rule out any other concerns. This will allow you to relax as much as possible that their discomfort is unfortunate but not alarming. With your anxiety lower, your baby will pick up on your calm and feel safe and secure that you are there with them even though they’re uncomfortable.

Nurse more! Breastfeeding releases chemicals in the baby’s brain that actually lower pain levels. Nurse is already co-regulating for emotional distress, the oxytocin released in calming and connecting but studies show that a baby being latched and sucking, receiving their milk from their parent, can reduce pain and even keep it from starting. Nursing more could be the ticked to getting through those nighttime teething pains.

Skin-to-skin. Easily accomplished with nursing but possible to do otherwise too, skin-to-skin as pain relief and soothing measures for pain is an incredibly effective non-pharmacological means to help your baby feel better.

Protect naps. Sleep begets sleep and lack of sleep can show up as hyperactivity at night. Protecting sleep during the day means that nap times are even more important. You may decide that more or longer nap times are worth the possible nighttime sleep shortening if teething is going on for a while and your little one just can’t seem to get enough sleep at night.

Earlier bedtime. If sleep has already been disrupted, having an earlier bedtime may help get more quality sleep in before the pain and discomfort kicks into high gear during the night. It isn’t uncommon for babies and toddlers to have difficulty sleeping after 11pm or midnight meaning you’ll easily see 1am, 2am, and 3am when they are teething if they’re really uncomfortable. Getting to bed earlier (you too!) may mean there’s more sleep happening that is better quality before the disruptions get started.

Rocking, swinging, swaying. There’s a reason most of us automatically start swaying or rocking when we hear a baby crying even if we’re not holding the baby ourselves: rocking soothes the brain! Studies show that rocking or swinging lowers stress levels, reduces pain and discomfort, and soothes emotional dysregulation. As simple as it may seem, rocking your baby at night really does help them feel better and you too!

Pain relief mediation. Liquid infant Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen may reduce your baby’s pain enough for them to get the sleep they need… and maybe you too! Be sure to use according to directions and try not to use more than 3 nights in a row and check with your child’s healthcare provider before administering.

Teething gel. There are safe, soothing teething gel options you can put directly on your baby’s gums to help reduce inflammation and pain. Be sure it doesn’t have benzocaine or other numbing agents in them as that can create a risk of choking and impair their swallowing.

Teething tablets. With a safe blend of herbs, teething tablets dissolve easily for baby and 

Have realistic expectations. Cutting teeth IS painful. It’s a lot of work and it is understandable that your baby complains about it. They want help making the pain goaway for good reason. Having realistic expectations about teething will help you stay calm even when you’re exhausted and feeling helpless and your baby will be able to draw from your calm for their own calm.

Remember this is temporary. Teething does stop at some point. Your baby isn’t going to be cutting new teeth forever. There may be long stretches of teething (my baby once cute 12 teeth one right after the other, teething for a few months straight) which makes it really difficult to remember that this is temporary but keeping that in mind can help get through those long nights.


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Drawing from a diverse background in the performing arts and midwifery, Jessica Martin-Weber supports women and families, creating spaces for open dialogue. Writer and speaker, Jessica is the creator of TheLeakyBoob.com, co-creator of wereallhumanhere.com, freelance writer, and co-founder of Milk: An Infant Feeding Conference. Jessica lives with her family in the Pacific Northwest and co-parents her 7 daughters with her husband of 23 years.

We All Need To Be Nourished- #TLBnourish Connection

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We move, we love, we do safe… now we’re going back to our roots and talking about feeding with #TLBnourish.

#TLBnourish is a time to celebrate nourishing our families, ourselves, and even our community. From sharing recipes to sharing stories to sharing our photos, #TLBnourish is about feeding our whole selves well.

Nourishment is so much more than just nutrition for our bodies; our spirits find nourishment in connection, our relationships find nourishment in each other, our children find nourishment in our arms, our minds are nourished through learning and conversation, and our hearts are nourished by being with the people we love.

Nourish brings us all together as we hold space for each other in what this may look like in our lives, embracing the bravery required to open up about what and how we nourish ourselves and our families. With so much pressure to be a certain way with an expectation of perfection it can feel risky to say what we really do, but that’s exactly what we’re going to do together, supporting how our journeys are diverse and meaningful. Feeding our very souls.

Also, sometimes we’re just plain ol’ surviving! And we can laugh, cry, and joke about that reality. Nourishment isn’t always the stuff of cooking shows and feel-good-TV. What love tastes like is more of buffet of hasty snacks, complex dishes, and some total flops- like the time my brother used garlic oil on accident to make brownies and it was the laughter that nourished us.

Following the inspiration of #TLBmoves, #TLBsafeKids, and most recently #TLBloves, we are excited to share this new experience with you, The Leaky Boob and Beyond Moi communities, that focuses first on strengthening the connection we have with our families and ourselves, to key aspects that deeply impact relationships of all sorts. Join us on The Leaky Boob Facebook page, here; The Leaky Boob Community Facebook group, here; BeyondMoi.com and the Beyond Moi Facebook Page, here; the newly formed Beyond Moi Community Facebook group (where we talk about just about anything and everything- particularly relationships), here; and What Love Tastes Like, here.

#TLBnourish launches today, June 3 running through the month, though a meaningful focus on how we nourish ourselves and our families is never really limited to a set of dates. It’s what TLB does every day!  We will be focusing on what nourishes us with good food, meaningful experiences, opening up, and a lot of humor. All of this through the sharing of information, support, and most importantly, The Leaky Boob and Beyond Moi communities in action teaming up with you, our communities, and brands we trust including Title Sponsoring Brand Mommy Moosli, a delicious, healthy milk boosting granola for the whole family. Be on the lookout for the hashtag: #TLBnourish (and start using it too!), Leaky guest posts, a vocal presence across social media (Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook), posts from our campaign ambassadors, relevant information and interactions on our sister sites, BeyondMoi.com and What Love Tastes Like on Facebook, inspiring support within our community, involvement from our campaign sponsors, giveaways, and informative articles.

Let’s explore the depth and strength of love in our relationships together, with #TLBnourish.

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Meet our ambassadors 

We’ve assembled a small team to provide a little daily inspiration and some real-life experiences as they focus on the love present in their relationships. Here are the four mamas (apart from myself) that will be sharing their #TLBnourish experiences with us this for the next month:

IMG_0112Hannah Buckley.

I’m Hannah!  I’m from a small town in NE Texas, but I currently live in New Port Richey, FL.  I am an extremely busy work at home mom!  Aside from the everyday Mama duties, I’m a local photographer. We also own a web design and marketing company in Tarpon Springs, FL, so I stay very busy!  For the past (almost) 4 years, I have been married to my best friend, Brian.  We have 2 beautiful and energetic boys, Dayton (2 years) and Madden (4 months).  I love being outside, grilling and playing in the water with the boys. We take frequent trips to the beach and love to try new local restaurants.  I have recently started to really enjoy cooking and baking, and I’m having a blast with lactation recipes!  My life is hectic at times, silly, fun, hard, and busy… but I wouldn’t trade one single minute of it!

 

image1Kelley Spencer. 

Kelley became a mom in April to her adorable son, Blake. She’s originally from Minnesota, but moved to the Clearwater, Florida area a few years ago with her husband, Sean, and two black labs. She worked as a hairstylist for 5 years, marketing coordinator for 3 years, and now she works part-time for her local church. She enjoys traveling, reading and writing, going to the beach, eating seafood, running and PiYo, and spending a day at Disney World or Universal Studios.

 

 

13383538_10157045234550038_1295936637_oBryttany Hyde.

My name is Bryttany, I am a work from home mom, blogger, and business owner from Woodstock, GA. I moved to Woodstock shortly after meeting my husband Cameron while now 6 years later we are proud parents to Killian (23 months) and AthenaRose (1 month). Coloring and reading are some of my favorite activities when I’m not wrapping babies and helping others learn about cloth diapers!

 

allysonAllyson Storey.

I am originally from California, moved to Delaware as a teenager, and am now located just outside of Portland Oregon! I am a stay at home mom but am starting a photography business. I love to go camping and rock climbing with my family. I have one daughter, her name is Savannah and she is 7 months old. I have been married for almost 5 years to my husband Richard. 
 
 
 

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leanneLee Ann Meier.

My name is Lee Ann and I am from Wisconsin. I live in a suburb of Milwaukee. For my full time job, I am a Web Designer. For my other full time job, I’m a mom of 2 kiddos (3 if you include my husband). Leilani will be 2 on June 8th and Landon is 8 weeks old. My hobbies include: volleyball, bowling, watching sports, camping and just hanging out with my family. I am super sassy, kind of sarcastic and a little nerdy. My husband’s name is Kevin and he’s just as nerdy, maybe even a little more than me. 🙂
 

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Meet our partners

Supporting our unique and diverse nourishment journeys, we are so grateful to partner with brands who value the mission of The Leaky Boob and we trust to share with our community. Leakies themselves, the brands below have made caring for families with quality products that we can trust a priority.

Mommy Moosli - Logo - CROPPED

Mommy Moosli. Mommy TLBnourish’s Title Sponsor, Moosli, is a delicious, all-organic muesli cereal specially formulated to encourage milk production in nursing moms.  We’re a mom-owned company with a strong desire to #feedallthebabies, in whatever form is best for you & your little one!  Our moosli is a healthy, gentle way to naturally introduce known galactagogues to your diet.  Every bag is hand-mixed with love and care in Denver, CO.  Moosli is very versatile — it tastes great in milk, on yogurt, as a main ingredient in cookies/bars, or even in ice cream for a treat!  Check out our website for different ways to enjoy.

 

BeliBeaLOGO_MINTCORAL2-3

Belibea.  Feed your baby, feed your soul with support and comfort that gives you the access you need. Hands-free pumping and breastfeeding bra NOURISH is up to the task with smooth seamless stretch fit, removable cup pads, and v-neck scoop and ruching that separates and supports, fitting most pump flanges.

 

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Evenflo Feeding. Evenflo’s Advanced Double Electric Breast Pump is the perfect solution for moms with frequent pumping needs. Whether at home or at work, the Advanced  Double Electric Breast Pump delivers all the premium features and benefits mom requires and deserves. This innovative pump’s PerfectlyPure™ design is a closed system that prevents milk back-up in tubing, which helps to keep tubing clean and dry, protecting mom’s breast milk and making pump cleaning more efficient. Each pumping session can be personalized with the AdvancedControl™ technology, which creates 32 unique setting combinations of speed and suction for optimal control.

To help ensure a successful pumping session, it’s important to have a comfortable, correctly sized flange fit. The Advanced Double Electric Pump includes 3 different flange sizes from our AdvancedFit™ flange system to help ensure the best fit, with additional sizes sold separately. Evenflo’s PerfectPosition™ design includes a shorter nipple tunnel and higher bottle-to-flange angle that allows mom to relax in a slouch-free pumping position. The integrated bottle holders keep mom’s milk safe after pumping, providing an extra “hand” to protect her precious milk from spills.

Access to expert resources can help ensure a successful breastfeeding experience. Evenflo is excited to include the ultimate breastfeeding education with the purchase of your pump. Developed by our partner, Breastfeeding Expert Shari Criso (IBCLC, CNM, RN), mom receives digital access to two practical and proven programs she can access anywhere! Both Simply Breastfeeding™ and Breast Pumps & Briefcases™ have helped thousands of moms successfully breastfeed and continue breastfeeding while returning to work and are included with purchase.

 

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Innobaby.  Aquaheat™ is designed to quickly warm food, liquids and bottles without need for a battery, electricity, or hot water, while on-the-go.  The collection includes the Aquaheat™ Stainless Bottle and Warming Pod, Aquaheat™ Food Warmers in various sizes and Aquaheat™ Heat Packs, which activate with water to create heat. This lightweight portable system is perfect for warming food or drinks instantly and creating a delicious, nutritious and warm meal anytime, anywhere just when you need it. With growing concerns amongst parents about healthy eating, and increasing number of kids with food allergies, more consumers are looking for an on-the-go solution for packing and heating food for their children. With Aquaheat™, you can warm or prepare food on the go just when you need it.  You can be more in control of what you are feeding your kids and offer something other than cold sandwiches or soggy pastas. Innobaby’s Aquaheat creates heat instantly and can warm everything from baby bottles to a nutritious meal in little as two minutes.

 

5Phases_logo_RTM

5 Phases. 5 Phases is the first bottle feeding system to introduce an interchangeable glass insert.  Our unique design kept the Eco-mom in mind providing the healthful benefits of glass + the protection of BPA free plastic all while reducing the carbon footprint on the environment! Our “grow with me” feeding system truly makes our bottles the most eco-friendly bottle feeding system out there! The “interchangeable glass insert concept” is one of a kind! The recyclable translucent plastic sleeve guards against breakage but contains the broken glass and liquid mess if breaking occurs making it a safer alternative in glass bottle feeding. The ability to buy additional glass inserts adds convenience and affordability and reduces the carbon footprint in the environment because you use less plastic. A perfect storage solution for pumped milk and formulas, our glass inserts “grow with me” feeding system are ideal for homemade baby food when baby has moved on from their bottles.  Now that’s eco- friendly!

 

WeanGreen_circle logo_no GL

Wean Green.  This tempered glass food storage set includes the 3 basic sizes to prepare, store, and serve homemade baby food. The containers are also great for lunch bags, leftovers and condiment storage! The set contains 2 Wean Cubes, 2 Wean Bowls and 2 Wean Tubs.

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Mission Impossible: Feeding Toddlers a Balanced Diet

by Carrie Saum
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Apple quinoa muffins

 

Feeding your child can feel a lot like an Olympic sporting event. You do your best to set up a successful meal. You have your gold, silver, and bronzemedal winning toddler-friendly foods. You create an inviting environment, complete with flameless candles and They Must Be Giants jamming out softly in the background. You buzz the spoon like an airplane. You do your best Mr. Miyagi impersonation. You pull out your old cheerleading uniform from high school (just kidding…that thing will never fit the same way again). You pretend to sneeze bites of perfectly steamed carrots into your baby’s mouth. You flawlessly execute a backflip-roundoff-triple-sow-cow whilst holding a spoonful of organic basil butternut squash soup clenched between your teeth. But your wee one looks past you, focused on the bag of snacks you forgot to hide. The one thing you did not prepare. The one thing that came from a package. The one thing you absolutely under no circumstances want your little to eat. Because you want them to eat something besides a Jammy Sammy or freeze-dried peas with a side of boob juice. And your kid just won’t cooperate. What is the deal?

Well, for starters, kids have minds of their own. From the time our babies are in utero, they constantly tell us what they want and don’t want. It just gets more complicated from there. We find all the tricks to get food into their bellies. My son went through at least 15 different self-chosen bottle routines when he was an infant. Some days, we spent all day trying to get him to drink his milk. He wanted nothing to do with it. He would rather play peek-a-boo or cuddle or learn how to walk than politely take his bottle. Other days, I couldn’t keep up with his demand and I pumped 12 times a day trying to keep him full. Eventually, I would dig into my freezer stash of donor milk, because when my baby needs to eat, I feed him. And when he thinks he doesn’t need to eat, I still try to feed him. Because I’m his mom and that’s what moms do. We feed our babies.

So, how do we keep our babies and toddlers well-fed? How do we balance all the crackers, granola bars, and dairy products with other foods?

For starters, let’s look at this like a big picture of overall health. Let’s not take our children’s nutrition one meal, or even one day, at a time. Let’s take it a week at a time. So, for instance, if your little love only wants to eat freeze-dried mango for three days in a row at every meal {ahem}, ask yourself these three questions:

  1. Is my child capable of eating other food?
  2. Is my child hydrated?
  3. Does my child often eschew other foods and then return to them later?

If your answer is YES, then stop worrying about it! It’s time to stop looking at each meal like a nutritional pass/fail. Think back to what your toddler ate over the last week. This week, keep offering all of the foods you normally do. Within reason, let your child choose what and how much they want to eat from the given options. Ideally, you want your kids to eat lots of healthy fats, veggies, fruits, whole grains, and protein. But that doesn’t always happen and that’s okay. Your kid will survive. Observe what they’re eating, what they’re drawn to, and watch for places where you can add in more veggie and fruit options if you need to. If they want to eat a big spoonful of coconut oil or nom a stick of organic butter, let them. (Their brains probably need the fat to keep developing and make their next big leap!) Look at the BIG PICTURE, the whole enchilada. Let go of the meal-to-meal, and day-to-day. Reframe your notion of a balanced diet by the week.

While you’re at it, consider approaching your own diet with the same mindset. If you’re still nursing your babe, be sure to keep taking your prenatal vitamins and Vitamin D emulsion supplements every day. Worry less about cutting back or cutting down on the crap you might be eating right now, and concentrate more adding in the healthy stuff. As long as you’re focused on adding in all of the good nutrient dense foods, the other unhealthier foods will eventually take a backseat. You know, that whole “what you focus on expands” concept.

One of my favorite, nutrient packed snacks to make are these Apple Quinoa Mini-Muffins. With just five ingredients, they’re easy for you to make and your kiddo to eat on the go.  These are also great if your child is gluten, diary, egg, soy, or corn intolerant. Confine your Olympic feats to organizing that crazy family calendar and getting in a good run, walk, or yoga class this week and enjoy a healthy treat.

 

 

 

Carri Saum Bio Pic 2Carrie Saum brings a passion for wellness and over a decade of experience in health care to her clients. A certified Ayurvedic Wellness Counselor (AWC) from the Kerala Ayurveda Academy, she empowers individuals and families to achieve health and balance through time-honored practices. Carrie has extensive first-hand experience in vast array of medical fields. She has a background in paramedic medicine and spent ten years serving in the non-profit sector managing organizations, programs, and orchestrating resources to meet the health needs of people across the United States and abroad in countries such as Guatemala, Mexico, Kenya, and Zambia. She has coached countless clients on topics such as nutrition, weight loss, and stress management. In addition to her work as a wellness counselor, Carrie is a passionate “foodie” and blogs regularly about healthy cooking and nourishing the whole family with The Leaky Boob’s sister site  OurStableTable.com and Facebook page. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and young son.