What is the best way to soothe a teething baby?
- 04 Jun 2018
- Sublime Nursing
Typically, babies get their teeth in pairs from the age on 5-6 months. First come the middle two on the bottom. A month or so later, the two above those arrive. Still, it's not uncommon to see a baby with four bottom and no upper teeth, or the reverse. We spend so much effort trying to relieve our little ones from drooling and crankiness during their teething period - tears can make teething a real ordeal for babies and parents, causing stress and sleepless nights.
Signs of Teething
If you see any of these signs in your baby, it can be an indication that your baby has started to teeth:
A) The need to gnaw: The pressure of an emerging tooth beneath the gums can be quite stressful. Teething babies often want to chomp on things. The chewing instinct may also be a response to the odd sensation that something's going on in there.
B) Puffy gums: This can cause a red, swollen and bruised-looking area on a baby's gums. Sometimes the gum bulges with the emerging tooth,
C) Excessive drooling: Increased spittle can herald a new tooth—but it's also a normal developmental stage of infancy, so don't assume that drooling means teething. You need to look for other signs like fussiness, especially at night, to make sure that it is part of teething stage or any changes in eating habits can also be a sign. Babies who are eating solids may want to nurse or bottle-feed more because a spoon irritates their inflamed gums. Others may do the opposite, eating more than usual because the counterpressure feels good. And babies who are still on the bottle or breast may begin feeding eagerly but pull back because the activity of sucking puts uncomfortable pressure on the gums and ear canals. To prevent skin irritation, keep a clean cloth handy to dry your baby's chin. Consider applying a moisturizer such as a water-based cream or lotion.
D) Tooth eruption—when the tooth moves through the bone and gum—tends to come in stages, with more activity at night than during the day, so your baby may be more irritable then.
E) Ear pulling: While it can also be a sign of an ear infection, tugging can be a symptom of teething: The pain from the jaw gets transferred to the ear canal.
You may need to try a few methods to see what works best for your child:
1) Keep it cool
You can try a chilled spoon in the fridge and place it on your baby’s gum. A cold washcloth or chilled teething ring can also be soothing. Be aware a frozen teething ring is not advisable.
2) Try hard foods
If your baby is eating solids, you might offer something edible, such as a peeled and chilled cucumber or a carrot, frozen bananas are always a great start as the sweetness will take their minds off the pain– but take extra care for pieces that break off, as they might pose a choking hazard.
3) Use your finger
If the tooth is still deep in the gum and hasn't formed a painful bruise, counterpressure or friction where it's about to erupt can work wonders. This is an old teething remedy. Press gently with your clean finger or wrapped in a wash cloth on your baby’s sore gums.
Teething pain is like headache pain—it causes chronic, low-grade discomfort. You can often soothe your child simply by getting her mind off the pain. Give her more one-on-one time or offer her a new toy. And don't underestimate the healing power of touch: A little extra cuddling on the sofa may be all that's needed to take a child's mind off her mouth.
If your baby is especially cranky, Acetaminophen (Tylenol, Calpole) or ibuprofen (Advil, Children's Neorophen) might help as temporary pain relief. You might also want to ask your pharmacist for oral anesthetics in a form of a teething gel, as long as you don't exceed the recommended dosage.
When is the right time to visit the doctor?
It is not necessary to visit the doctor, as teething can usually be dealt with by the mother at home. However, if your baby develops a persistent low grade fever, sometimes diarrhea, or has any signs of illness that could be unrelated to the teething, then it is best to contact the doctor.