Frequent Infant Wakings Due To Teething? Mercy Attending Pediatrician Dr. Ashanti Woods Offers Insights

May 8, 2014
Dr Ashanti Woods - Mercy Medical Center

Dr. Ashanti Woods, Attending Pediatrician, Mercy Medical Center

Teething can be both an exciting and a frustrating issue for many families.  On one hand parents are excited that the child is getting older and going through a stage of development, but on the other hand families can lose a lot of sleep due to the baby's discomfort when going through the teething process.  

The initiation of the teething stage is different for all babies, but generally most babies go through teething between 5 months and 11 months of age (however, it can take some babies up to 15 months before they develop their first tooth).  Also of note, babies go through a stage of pre-teething called oral fixation between 2 months and 4 months, where a baby will put his or her hands in the mouth and drool over everything, but there is no pain because the teeth have not yet started to erupt through the gums.

When babies experience pain from teething, parents should first try to soothe their baby with tender, love, and care.  This includes holding and reassuring the baby, to include a good body massage.  If this doesn't work, the parent could move onto the next stage which includes a cool teething ring.  It's believed the cool temperature of the ring reduces the size of the swollen gums, providing comfort to the baby.  

If the baby is still miserable despite having received the teething ring, the next stage should be oral acetaminophen (the main ingredient in Tylenol). Consult your pediatrician about giving your child any medication to determine the best dosage.  There are also non-acetaminophen-based rubbing gels that exist for babies going through painful teething.

 I recommend consulting with your pediatrician before using these gels.  While most children will do well with these rubbing gels, a small subset of babies can experience a complication as a result of using the gel (methemoglobinemia).  Again, this is rare, but parents should know the side effects and risks of any medicine his or her child is taking.

-Ashanti W. Woods, M.D.  Attending Pediatrician,  Mercy Medical Center

Dan Collins - Senior Director of Media Relations at Mercy Medical Center

Dan Collins, Senior Director of Media Relations

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About Mercy

Founded in 1874, Mercy Medical Center is a university-affiliated medical facility named one of the top 100 hospitals in the U.S. by Thomson-Reuters with a national reputation for women’s health. Mercy is home to the nationally acclaimed Weinberg Center for Women’s Health and Medicine as well as the $400+ million, 20-story Mary Catherine Bunting Center. For more information visit Mercy online at, Facebook, Twitter or call 1-800-MD-MERCY.

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