Tips for Getting a Teething and Congested Baby to Sleep

Sleeping baby
sleeping baby (Image: Elena Matchey/iStock/Getty Images)

When your baby doesn’t feel well, he may have trouble settling down and sleeping. Teething is a common and ongoing issue for babies. If teething pain coincides with congestion, you have a double whammy on your hands. Soothing your little one to ease the discomforts will be a priority to help your baby rest.

Teething Comfort Measures

Teething pain is high on the list of reasons for sleep issues, according to Ask Dr. Sears. Look for signs of teething, including swollen gums, drooling, biting and chewing excessively and fussiness. If bedtime issues occur due to teething pain, offer your little one a frozen teething ring or a frozen washcloth before bedtime to help ease some of the discomfort.

Easing Congestion Symptoms

Congestion often accompanies a cold or other infection, making a baby miserable. Because a baby is too young for nose blowing, you can help ease the congestion by removing excess mucus. Use a nasal aspirator to suck the mucus out of each nostril gently. You may need an assistant to help you manage the process with your baby. Run a cool air humidifier in your baby’s bedroom to increase humidity, which can reduce congestion for sleeping. If you use a humidifier, aim for a humidity level of between 30 and 50 percent to prevent mold growth, advises Ask Dr. Sears. Clean the humidifier daily. You could also hold your baby in the bathroom with a warm shower running for about 10 minutes immediately before bedtime to help reduce congestion.

Medicating to Relieve Discomfort

Make a saline solution of 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 cup of lukewarm water to reduce congestion, according to the MedlinePlus website. Place two to three drops of the saline solution into each nostril and allow the solution to sit for approximately 1 minute. After the time elapses, hold your little one so gravity enables the loosened mucus to flow out of her nose and wipe it away with a tissue. Consult your pediatrician about administering over-the-counter medication to relieve teething pain. Giving your little one medication approximately 30 to 40 minutes before bedtime might help her settle down more easily, but speak with your doctor to get exact specifications.

Soothing and Comfort Measures

Patience and extra love should help soothe your baby when he doesn’t feel well from teething and congestion. Even if you don’t typically rock your baby to sleep, you might need to spend extra time rocking and cuddling him to help him settle before bed. Holding your baby against your chest with his head on your shoulder can be especially helpful with congestion because it keeps his head elevated. The worst of teething pain should not last more than a few nights, as the teeth eventually erupt and the pain subsides, according to sleep expert Nicole Johnson, with the Baby Sleep Site. If congestion and teething pain disrupt your baby’s sleep for more than a few nights, consult your little one’s pediatrician for treatment and advice.

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