Sleeping FAQ: 9-12 months – Night Waking

Teething seems to be causing night waking

My problem is night waking. My son was a good sleeper (12-13 hours a night) up to the age of seven months when he began teething. He is now nine months old. He has never been a good daytime sleeper and I have always struggled to get him to fit in with the routine fully, but generally he has a morning and an afternoon nap of anywhere between 1¼-2 hours split between the two. He always settles well at 7pm and I do not believe he has any wrong sleep associations.

I think that teething is the main cause of his night time waking. He seems to be in pain and is constantly trying to bite my face when I pick him up. (He is also quite grizzly during the day.) However, in Gina’s books she says that she has rarely found teething a problem in the hundreds of babies that she has cared for. Am I wrong about this? Do other parents have night time waking due to teething? He is getting harder to put back in his cot and we have even resorted to taking him into our bed on a couple of occasions because we are so tired.

Sion sleeps in a sleeping bag and has three milk feeds a day and three good solid meals. He was 10lb when he was born and is now 24lbs.

Any problems with teething are usually short-lived. A baby may be in discomfort for a day or two as a new tooth comes through, but it not usually an ongoing problem. Waking up every night has become a habit with him, possibly beginning with the discomfort of teething.

Is your son very active by day? A baby who is crawling, cruising and generally on the go all day is using up a great deal of energy. At this age it is not uncommon for his food intake to not be quite enough for his needs. Sion may well be all too ready to get down from his chair at mealtimes when he just hasn’t had enough. Take a look at his food intake, especially towards the end of the day when he is also getting tired. Encourage him to have a healthy snack mid-morning and mid-afternoon as well as his main meals.

If you feel that teething is a problem still try using Nelson’s Teething Granules when he wakes at night, or rubbing some Bonjela onto his gums, if he will let you.

Once you are sure that Sion is waking purely from habit you will need to put some controlled crying into place. Leave him for 10 minutes when he first wakes and then go in to reassure him. It will mean a few very disturbed nights as he relearns how to settle himself when he comes into a light sleep but that is better than possibly beginning new sleep associations with your bed.