5 Ways to Soothe a Teething Baby

By Nikki M

Are you one of the lucky few parents whose baby never cries? Perhaps your sweet angel found latching on a breeze, sleep training a walk in a park, and vaccines totally laughable. Well, good for you.

Enjoy your darling baby now, because a dreaded milestone is looming around the corner. No baby is exempt from these moments of suffering. There will be tears. There will be sleepless nights. Someone (you) will get bitten . . . hard! I'm talking, of course, about teething.

When Does It Start?

Babies' teeth start to erupt at around 4-6 months of age, although they could start pushing through as early as 3 months.

The first to pop out are usually the two bottom front teeth, followed by the two teeth on top, then all the little guys on the sides. The chunky molars are saved for last, because as a rule, everything just gets harder in life.

By the time your precious kiddos turn three, they should have a whopping total of 20 chompers — the full kiddo set. (If you're doing the math, yes, that's three years of suffering. But don't worry — teething comes in waves so you get a few breaks in between.)

What Are the Symptoms?

How do you know your baby is teething, and not just suddenly possessed by an evil spirit? Here's how you can tell:

  • Excessive drooling. Rashes could start forming on your baby's cheeks from all the saliva.
  • Your baby seems to be chewing nonstop, even though he isn’t exactly chewing on anything.
  • Your little ones puts their mouth on everything. EVERYTHING — toys, blankets, crib railings, and fingers aren't safe from those gnawing gums.
  • Speaking of gums, they're super swollen. The cheeks are also extra puffy and chipmunk-like.
  • Baby's extra fussy and irritable.
  • Hunger strikes. Even the greediest eaters will suddenly become uninterested in food. (Unfortunately, boobs usually don't get a free pass.)
  • Sleep regression. Even if your little one has mastered sleeping through the night, teething can cause night waking and skipped naps.
  • Debatable: Teething may cause low-grade fevers (from the pain) and diarrhea (from excess saliva loosening the stools, or constantly putting their mouth on grimy things.)

How to Alleviate Teething Pain

It's tough seeing your baby in so much pain. Here are 5 ways to soothe those aching gums:

It's All About the Gum Massage

Take your CLEAN index finger, and give those swollen gums a gentle massage. Using the pad of your finger, carefully rub the spots that feel like teeth are about to burst out of them. If you’re not comfortable using your finger, get yourself a soft-tipped gum massager to tackle the job.

Invest in a Good Teething Ring

Teething toys are designed to be chewed on by baby to offer pain relief. When looking for a teether, check to make sure they aren't made of harmful materials, and that they aren't filled with toxic gels or liquids. Wooden options are always good. Amber necklaces are a great option too.

Cool Down those Swollen Gums

Take your teething ring, a soft spoon or a damp washcloth, and stick it in the fridge for about 15 minutes. The cooling sensation will be wonderfully soothing on those aching gums, providing your baby some much needed relief.

As much as possible, avoid putting your knick-knacks in the freezer. You want to give your little ones something to chew on, not a hard block of ice to bang on their already sensitive gums. 

Give 'Em Something Crunchy

You know how teething babies tend to lose their appetites? I don't know about you, but the last thing I would want to eat when I'm in pain is a bunch of mashed peas. That's like adding salt to the wound. 

Offer your kiddo something crunchy. Teething biscuits will do the trick or try the crusty end of a loaf. Or a cold celery stick. Teething babies absolutely LOVE apple slices. Make sure to offer them in large pieces, and keep a careful watch so that they don't choke on tiny bits.

Check Out OTC/Homeopathic Medicine

For over-the-counter pain, try infant acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Make sure to ask the pediatrician for the proper dosage based on YOUR baby's weight (not necessarily what's on the box) and only use as directed.

For a homeopathic option, try Camilia Teething Drops. Its active ingredients include a dilution of German Chamomile plant, Poke plant, and Chinese rhubarb. These teething drops have no side effects, and are safe to use with other medications. As usual, use common sense and consult your doctor before offering your baby any sort of medication.

Avoid meds that contain benzocaine, a local anesthetic that can cause the rare but serious condition methemoglobinemia, where the oxygen carried in the blood stream is greatly reduced.

Make sure to be gentle when taking care of your baby's gums. And once those teeth start to pop out, be vigilant about keeping them clean! 

Got any tips for soothing a teething baby? Share them with us in the comments below!

Tags : baby   health   teething   

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