Counting scratches instead of sheep...
Babies don't sleep very well without eczema, but with eczema + teething comes a whole new experience of sleeplessness for Mama.
In the first year, I can remember getting up every 2 hours, sometimes every 45 minutes to rock my boy, nurse him, and sing to him. It was exhausting in a crazy sort of way.
Now that Matthew is a toddler, he sleeps very well at night and I feel so grateful. It wasn't until we night weaned that he started sleeping through the night. I made it to 18 months and then finally, in total exhaustion, begged Tom to start putting him to bed every night and waking up with him. Tom said
"Why didn't you ask sooner?". Why indeed.
However, with Matthew's eczema has also come a strange "side effect". His teething is extreme. His tolerance for pain in his gums is very low. He begs me for "tooth medicine" and wakes up frequently. These difficulties usually only happen during the nighttime, although occasionally I find that he cries out during the day in pain. I am really interested to know if any of my readers experience this with their "older" toddlers? I have searched high and low to find an answer, and haven't come up with much, but here is a possible explanation:
People with allergies have a very sensitive immune system and overreact to any environmental allergens or reactions happening in the body, such as teething pain. My guess is that the level of inflammation in his body is constantly high, due to the eczema (also considered an autoimmune disease which is less severe than most), and therefore when further inflammation arises from teething, it sends his body into overdrive. Apparently, there could also be a gene called BACH2, which most people with allergies and autoimmune diseases are missing, that regulates the immune system reaction.
To quote the article I linked:
"One of the hallmarks of uncontrolled immune responses is excessive tissue inflammation." (National Institute of Health 2013).
I wonder if Matthew's immune response (unregulated) is causing his teething to be doubly worse than it normally would in a kid with no hyperimmune response disorder? I would love to hear your thoughts.
National Institute of Health, June 2013. "NIH scientists find link between allergic and autoimmune diseases in mouse study". http://www.nih.gov/news/health/jun2013/nci-02.htm