What were we thinking! promote confidence and reduce distress in parents with a first baby


By Kelly


Who would have thought a teething child causes more sleepless nights than a newborn.  Well this is my life right now.  Whenever Zac is teething, he seems to get night terrors where he screams in his sleep inconsolably sometimes for 30 minutes at a time.  I assume it’s something to do with the pain of the moving teeth that sets this off.  It’s so upsetting for both of us, and causes such sleeplessness.  I have been up since 1am this morning and have been at work since 7am already battling the week and its only Monday. 

I am exhausted and all I want to do is go to sleep.  #tiredmum

Expert response from What Were We Thinking! expert, Ann O'Doherty

Dear Kelly,

Sleep deprivation is always difficult to deal with and makes life miserable. Teething is responsible for many an irritable poorly sleeping babe and it can certainly make them very cranky but what it doesn’t do is make them unwell or cause a fever. Zac’s degree of distress as evidenced by crying episodes in his sleep of 30 minutes would definitely warrant a trip off to see your GP to exclude other causes such as infection or illness.

During this time be gentle on yourself and don’t put too much pressure on yourself to achieve things when you are getting much less sleep that usual. If it is at all possible, try to catch up on some sleep (if you are home) when Zac is sleeping. Prioritise your health, wellbeing and sleep and leave things like dishes or other tasks and get some rest instead.

We know that the quality of sleep before midnight is better than after midnight so again if you are able, get some earlier nights and try and get some catch up rest on weekends as well.

With both of you working long hours are there other family members or friends who can lend a helping hand?

Another activity that can help in regulating our sleep is an early morning walk and getting some sunshine. The early morning light helps to switch off our sleep hormones and makes it easier to fall asleep at night time.  While this is hard to do when you are already tired it can help you feel  better.  Be mindful though how your mind and body are going at this stressful time and seek help early from your GP, M&CHN, Parent group and friends and family if you start to feel overwhelmed.


Posted in:  Crying settling sleeping  Every baby is different  Your needs