24 answers

Remedies to Help My 1 Year Old Sleep Better

I'd like to hear others experiences on teething one year olds and what you've done to remediate the pain. We've tried the teething tablets, the orajel, the drops, Tylenol and Motrin but nothing seems to relieve her pain. She's also had a couple ear infections so maybe she's just having issues with sickness and that's why she's so upset all the time? It seems we can't ever put her down or else she'll cry, and bedtime has never been great. Lately, she's been waking up and screaming like she's in pain, but no tugging on the ear, and the orajel or tablets don't help. It's not like we're new to this parenting thing, as this is our 3rd child, but we've never had to deal with our babies crying or not sleeping good. Any advice would be helpful :)

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Featured Answers

My kids have always slept well too. When they are sick, the best thing to help soothe them at night was a warm blanket. It sounds simple. I would just put a blanket in the dryer for a few minutes and then cover them up. Seemed to always work for us. Good luck.

Try Chamomilla - which is a homeopathic remedy for teething and crankiness. They have to be teething AND mad for it to work. It worked great for my babies.

Also, if there is an ear infection, you can try the three homeopathic remedies together - Chamomilla, Pulsatilla, and Hepa Sulph. They worked really well for my kids. They have never had antibiotics, thanks to these remedies.

More Answers

I've read your story and seen other's responses... what great advice from experienced mothers, hands down! However, I would like to suggest one more approach that may help if your open to it....Chiropractic care! Chiropractic care has been proven to help children sleep better and eliminate ear infections! Nerves from the neck (which babies have slight trauma to when born, think of birthing experience).. can have direct effects on the ear as well as the 'atlas', which controls children's moods, sleep, etc.
I have worked for a Chiropractor for over 4 years now, we see LOTS of babies in our office, most often times newborns. You ask why should babies be seen by a Chiropractor? Because think of what you went thru w/ birth, your baby went thru the same thing, coming thru the birth canal...if your baby was C-section, that's actually worse!
My son is now 3 and his first adjustment was at 12 days old, however my Doc's adjusted a baby at 6hrs old (still in hospital), so he's well experienced! My son gets adjusted now at least once a week, more if he's sick. It helps keep his immune system strong, helps to keep his digestive system strong (no colic or constipation), etc.
Here's a GREAT website that explores reasons to take your children to a Chiropractor and has specific info on Chiropractic and ear infections/sleep!

I would get her to a chiropractor or try craniosacral. If you have not heard of either of these for children please do some research. The results are amazing! For calming her at night try some chamomile tea. Safe and soothing. My daughter asked for it when she was having a hard time settling in for bed.

it might just be an attention attachment thing - needs some cuddling.security.

as far as ears go.... ask your doctor for numbing ear drops... they work wonders. Also 1/2tsp of benadryl on the really rough nights to help with sleep is fine too...

Also try to give her a nice warm bath before bed to calm and relax her. If she wakes up screaming, she may be having nightmares of something scarey she saw. If it is pain, ask your doctor if she can take a larger dose for a few nights. She just doesn't feel well.

According to our pediatrician, Motrin is the best thing to use because it reduces the inflammation that causes the pain. Be sure you are giving her the right dose for her weight. It may have changed since you last checked. If she is still in pain with Motrin, then she probably has an ear infection. My two children never show any symptoms of ear infections (ear pulling, fever, etc) except pain that wakes them up at night and cannot be relieved by Motrin.

I had the same problem when my daighter was about 1 year. She got multiple ear infections, wasn't sleeping well and was teething. Sometimes a bit of warm milk before bed helped (even though we didn't want to fill her up on fluids before bed for the obvious resons). And honestly when it got to the stage where she was waking up screaming we had to just hold her and tough through it:( It was a couple months of no sleep but it was the only thing we could do at that point. I hope you have better luck!

Acupuncture! My son was irritable, nursing non-stop (so it seemed at the time), drooly, rosy cheeked, needy, hot little 13 month old for a full week. He had acupuncture once and returned to his normal color and temperature within an hour. He played alone for several hours while I cleaned up the debris of the week I spent helping him while her grew his teeth.

My pediatric acupuncturist makes house calls and I highly recommend her for baby and kid issues and questions. Acupuncture has been good for cold relief, too.

Caroline Carlson L.Ac. ###-###-####

She lives in Ballard and makes house calls within a reasonable distance.

My daughter was a good teether but my son wasn't, well still isn't. You might have already tried this but I gave him a binki. He never used to take it but when I offered it too him when he was teething he fell in love with it. I don't know how you feel about binkis so I guess its up to you. But I just thought I would make that suggestion because you never know what will work and what won't because every child is so different. Good Luck!

Maybe it's not her teeth. Maybe it's an issue such as acid reflux. I went months with my son's "teething" which I thought was so much worse than other people's kids, only to then think, Hmmm, maybe it's AR. Got a prescription for liquid Zantac from the dr, and after three days our lives changed for the better. Zantac is not always the best drug for all, so sometimes you need to experiment. All I know is that my son was so tired but he hated to lied down b/c all that time acid was creeping up his throat when he did. We held him upright to sleep a lot and didn't know why that worked until we tried treating the GERD.

Good Luck,

I don't know if this is the smartest decision considering it has a lot of sugar, but we would give my son an Otter Pop. They are super cold and he could just gnaw on them. I kept him in the kitchen supervised so he didn't make a huge mess, but they always seemed to help him.


We've found that using the Concentrated Tylenol Infant's Drops has helped our kids with the teething pain. We don't follow the 4 hour dosing schedule, just usually give it before bed time. If either of our kids needed more than the bedtime dose, then we'd follow the schedule.

Hope this helps,
BTW, the Tylenol comes in cherry and grape flavor I believe.

I don't ever advocate medicating a child so that the parent gets some sleep. The problem is not lack of a drug in the child's system! The problem needs to be figured out and treated. If it's acid reflux, an acid inhibitor will only make the problem worse because it slows digestion which creates more gas. Try elevating her head and torso while sleeping and see if it makes a difference.

Be there for her with soothing words and motions, take turns if you get to the point where you can't take it anymore. The best thing we have done for our children is to take them to a chiropractor. People are scared of this and I have no idea why. When the brain can communicate properly with the body every system has the opportunity to work properly. Find a family rather than injury Chiropractor and s/he will gently massage your child's spine into place so everything can function. I've used this for my three girls for multiple ailments and it always makes a difference the same day. The body's natural ability to heal will have a chance, and then if your daughter is still having trouble you can try to medically treat what's wrong.

My daughter is similar. I don't think it has to do with teething... possibly separation anxiety or working on something new (talking, walking etc.) We gave up and just comfort her as best we can w/out medicine etc (since we don't think it's from teething), occasionally we bring her to our bed and she sleeps fine.. Good luck

My 15 month old is going through the same thing. I have taken him to the Doctor several times, and every time they tell me he has mild symptoms of an ear infection but that I will just have to wait until it "clears up".
This last time they told me he had some clear fluid still on his ear.
Plus he is teething his molars in.

About the only thing that they said was to give him the Ibuprofen. I don't do it at bedtime, just when he wakes up screaming/whimpering and doesn't have any other problems (dirty pants, ect.).
It seems to help some. Also, I try to help him fall asleep in a position where the fluid doesn't seem to be pressing on his ear drum.
It would be nice if there was more I could do for him. I agree about not medicating a child just so you can sleep, but I also think that its cruel not to medicate a child who is in so much pain they can't sleep.

Hi A.!

My oldest (now 11 years) would wake up screaming. Here are some of the reasons:

1: Allergies -- he's allergic to milk. If I had any milk product, he would double over in pain later that day or night. If either parent has allergies of any sort in their family history, you may want to check this out. (My 3 kids have: milk, soy, almonds, rice, food coloring, dust/mold, and I don't know what else. We discovered most of these by observation: tummy pain, allergy ring around anus, diaper rash, eczema, etc.). Feel free to contact me if you have questions about allergies.)
2: He started teething at 3 months and kept a regular schedule of one tooth every two weeks or so. He had all his teeth in by 12 months. We ended up giving him Tylenol as needed at bedtime so we could all get some sleep.
3: Over-stimulation -- more than 1 hour of TV a day would make him "colic-y" all evening and waking up at night.
4: He needed to be outside at least 10 minutes every day or he would be cranky.
5: He went thru the "night terrors" phase in his second and third years.
6: Any time he was growing physically or developmentally, he slept poorly.
7: General illness.
After re-reading your email, my guesses would be to check for allergies, illness (fever?), gastric reflux.
Bottom line: if your gut tells you something is wrong, pursue it until it is resolved! Trust your gut! And hang in there!

I'm sorry, I have no good advice, just moral support. I'm right there with you! My 15 month old is just starting to sleep better after about 10 months of night-wakings. On a fantastic night he would wake up "only" three times. I figured that he was waking usually at least five times a night. I tried 3 different homeopathic remedies (all prescribed by a Naturopathic Physician), Motrin, Tylenol, Orajel, teething tablets, colic tablets, diet changes all to no avail. Now he's on his last two eye teeth and the rest of his teeth are in (until the 2-year molars)so I'm hoping that is the magical cure. From about 2-5 months he slept great--doing a six hour stretch each night. I'll cross my fingers for you that you find something that helps.


A few ideas for you:

For the ear infection, have you read about treating that with breast milk dropped in the ear? Sounds funky, but I read about it on Mercola.com and asked my Naturopath, ND, who highly recommends it for ear infections and eye troubles (you can drop it in the eye as well). It's very healing. I tried it for my own ear infection and was over it in 48 hours. This was wonderful since you may have read the new reports that antibiotics don't really do anything for ear infections. If you breastfeed, or know another mom who does, just put a few drops in each ear up to every 2 hours or 6 times/day (ok to fill up ear basically). IMPORTANT: Make sure it is body temp. and not cold.

Teething or other pain: I would also wonder about Acid Reflux. I'm sure you can read about it on Dr. Sears website. Work with your pediatrician to rule out other physical symptoms because it does sound like something more. Most of all, trust your gut and keep investigating your instincts!

I also use chiropractic and cranial sacral work on my little one which helps with his overall health.

Good luck!

Hi A.,

I would suggest popsicles. You can buy them or make them with fruit juice. It will help numb their gums and they are fun to eat!

Good Luck!

I don't have anything for you that hasn't been listed, but have lots of sympathy. My 10 month old has not slept more than 2-3 hours since birth. We finally gave him Benadryl last night and got 4 hours. YAY! He has eczema, and due to allergies (dairy, wheat and dyes for sure, likely more) that we are working on, but teething on top has made him pretty uncomfortable. Anyways, I'd recommend chiropractic first, as sleep may be uncomfortable if her back or neck are out and may also be the cause of her ear infections. Then I be looking for allergies, also may be separation anxiety. She may be so busy exploring in the day that she just needs to sleep with you or very close at night. Also try Gripe Water (at Walgreens). It is a cure all for babies, especially while teething or colic as it settles any stomach problems. My son also loves his Razberry teether, found at kangaroodle.com. Hope this helps.

Warm air will help ear infections (like a hair dryer on low). There are some teathing pacifiers I have seen on Amazon.com called a raz-berry teether. A frozen washcloth will help too and she can move it to where she needs. Keep several slightly damp cloths in the freezer available. There were times I would be up at all hours with my youngest just rubbing her gums with my finger if nothing else will work.
After my kids went through there teething I started getting my wisdom teeth. No wonder they were so cranky! I've had headaches, jaw pain, ear aches, an infection on one, ugh! I take tylenol as well as chew ice on the spot or something the consistancy of gummy bears on it.
Good luck!

Try Chamomilla - which is a homeopathic remedy for teething and crankiness. They have to be teething AND mad for it to work. It worked great for my babies.

Also, if there is an ear infection, you can try the three homeopathic remedies together - Chamomilla, Pulsatilla, and Hepa Sulph. They worked really well for my kids. They have never had antibiotics, thanks to these remedies.

Hi A.,

Are your teething tables homeopathic Camomilla? I have found something that helps with my hyper twins at bedtime...it is an ointment, or balm, that is rubbed on the temples and "third eye" area just above and center of both eyes, called Badger Sleep Balm. Made by W.S. Badger Company - they make many differnt types of balms and ointments. It contains extra virgin olive oil, castor oil, beeswax, and essential oils of bergamot, ginger, rosemary, lavender and balsam fir. Just the smallest amount puts us all stright to sleep. I switched to this from "homeopathic Calms" tablets as I didn't want for the twins to get "used" to taking something just to sleep. HOwever, in the early stages of their lives, we did rely on camomilla - I always wished they would make much bigger bottles of the stuff. I really hope that you find the answer to what is going on with your daughter so that you can all get the rest you need.

Sometimes children maight have intollerance or allergy to milk or milk products so, if you are not breast feeding (I am not down on you, I could not produce milk)then it may be something that is causing some gas pains and you might try some infant massage especiallly around her torso and lower back areas to see if that helps.


Have you tried food sensitivity testing? My son was allergic to the food I was eating while nursing him and he had trouble sleeping too. You can call around to natural-path doctors in the area for pain free testing. Dr. Peabody in Beaverton is who I went to. She's wonderful.

My kids have always slept well too. When they are sick, the best thing to help soothe them at night was a warm blanket. It sounds simple. I would just put a blanket in the dryer for a few minutes and then cover them up. Seemed to always work for us. Good luck.

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