Can teething pain disrupt my baby's sleep?

Q: My 8-month-old baby has been waking up and sleeping less lately. Is it teething pain that's keeping him up?

A: Could be. If your baby's teething pain is so intense that it's waking him up at night, chances are there are also other symptoms, like chewing on everything and drooling like mad. If not, restless sleep at this age could also be due to a few other factors. Ear infections or colds are also known sleep disrupters, so if you suspect your baby may be under the weather, call your pediatrician. Reaching new milestones, like crawling, can also keep otherwise good sleepers up at night -- your baby's just so excited to learn these new skills that he wants to practice them all the time. Another trigger could be separation anxiety, which can set in around now. It can be frustrating to have your baby waking up after you thought you had the whole sleeping-through-the-night thing down pat, but try not to worry. Sleep that's disrupted by teething or illness will get back on track once your baby's on the mend, and milestone madness and separation anxiety are usually just temporary phases as well. 

Copyright 2002 Meredith Corporation. Updated 2009.

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