The learning curve as a parent is steep. From the moment we take our babies home from the hospital, we’re looking for tips for taking care of our infants. When we master one phase, another one shows up. Sometimes the signs of teething aren’t always so apparent to new parents. You can tell there is something off, but you aren’t quite sure what it is.
What you need is a teething guru who can tell you what the signs are of this important milestone in a baby’s life, and give you ways to cope with it so you can both get through it gracefully. In this article, we bring you some tips to handle teething in babies.
What is Teething, and when will the baby's first teeth arrive?
Teething or tooth eruption is the progress of gummy grin to a mouthful of sparkling teeth for a baby. On average, the first tooth arrives sometime during six months. But a baby may have his pearly white head (usually in the front, at the bottom) as early as three months or as late as twelve months.
Signs Of Teething in Babies
Teething doesn’t always look the same for every child. Your first baby may be a textbook teether, showing all the typical signs, while your second baby may only have the less common ones. Here are the symptoms you may encounter.
- Fussiness: Is your baby usually pretty content or happy? Are they suddenly starting to fuss more and you can’t quite pinpoint a reason for it? Cutting a tooth may be the reason for it.
- Problems with sleeping: If your baby’s sleep pattern has stabilized and now they seem to regress from that, teething could be to blame. It’s not necessarily the reason because there can be other causes such as cold or congestion. Teething is worth considering though if you notice more frequent wakings in the night.
- Drooling: A teething baby can unleash an insane amount of drooling. You’ll see a near-constant stream of it coming out of their mouths. You’ll also notice their shirts seem to be perpetually damp.
- Rash: Rashes can send a shiver down any mom’s spine. Some are serious, while others look nasty but are harmless. If you notice a rash on your baby’s chin, neck, or upper chest, it may be caused by teething-related drooling.
- A whitish looking area just under the gums: That’s strong evidence - it’s a tooth nearing the surface. It can still be a while before that tooth erupts from the gum though.
- Inflamed looking gums: Do your baby’s gums visually seem swollen or bright red? That's likely due to teething.
- Constant gnawing: Is your baby chewing on everything that seems to make its way into its mouth? Are they chewing on their hand(and yours too) seemingly with a frantic intent? They are trying to take away their teething pain, which biting can temporarily help them.
- Grabbing at their ears or face: Many parents associate ear-grabbing with ear infections in babies, and they’re right to do so - that’s a common symptom for that ailment. But face and ear-grabbing or rubbing can also be a sign of teething. Babies are trying to do what they can to localize and relieve their discomfort.
- Difficulty feeding: Babies may not be as interested in eating when their teeth and gums are bothering them. If they don’t want to eat, make sure you are continually offering them food, even if they take just a few bites or ounces of milk at a time. You can also try some of our gum-relieving symptoms and then try immediately afterward to get them to eat.
- Diarrhea: There is no solid proof that diarrhea has a relationship to teething, but some babies may have loose motions while teething.
Should I take my baby to the doctor?
You should take your teething baby to a doctor if you find any of the following symptoms, make an appointment immediately if the baby has
- high-grade fever
10 Tips to Soothe a Teething Baby
If your baby is struggling with teething, you’ll both be anxious for some relief as soon as possible. Here are some ways to soothe their irritation:
1. Let them Chew
Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water & let your child do as much biting as your fingers can take. Biting can relieve some of the pressure their gums are feeling. However, your fingers might feel some discomfort by the time they are done.
2. Use Medication
You may want to consider this as a last resort instead of the first line of defense. You can try baby teething gels, infant paracetamol or Tylenol to help take the edge off the pain, especially if they are having trouble sleeping or eating. If you like to minimize the medications your child takes, you can save it for the more severe incidents of teething.
3. Use Cold Teethers
You can put teething necklaces or rings in the refrigerator (not the freezer) to make them cold. The cold can be particularly soothing on a baby’s gums. Prefer silicone-based teething rings than liquid-filled products. You can also use clean washcloths dipped in ice water and let your child chew on the edges.
4. Practice Drool Control
To keep your child’s skin from irritating them, have your child wears bibs during the worst of the teething. That will keep your baby’s clothes dry and their upper chest and neck free of rashes. You should also ensure your baby’s chin is kept dry by gently dabbing at it when it is covered in drool.
5. Use Baby Biscuits
Teething biscuits (made without sugar) or other solid foods can give babies something to sink their irritated gums. The taste of the biscuits may also distract them from their pain. Just make sure they are ready for solid foods if using this tip because otherwise, it could pose a choking hazard.
The power of distraction is mighty. Taking your baby for a walk, while you get some exercise or giving them a warm bath might help them temporarily forget that their gums are hurting them.
Gentle massages on their jaw, cheeks, gums, face, and forehead can help relieve some of the pain and relax your baby a bit. Some babies will respond better to massages than others will.
Your baby may appreciate getting their hands on a toothbrush, if they are carefully supervised, of course. The soft bristles could help relieve their gum pain. They may start chewing on it, which is fine but remember to observe, so they don’t gag on it by sticking it too far back in their mouth.
9. Offer Chilled Water or cold foods for babies above six months
For babies above six months who started solid foods, you can give chilled water in a bottle or cup. You could also try cold fruit purees, curd/yogurt, or soft foods like banana or cucumber straight from the refrigerator. Keep an eye while your baby is eating to avoid choking hazard.
10. YOU CAN SURVIVE THE TEETHING PHASE
Your baby might be one of the ones who sail through teething with little or no symptoms. But your baby could also struggle quite a bit with this phase - there’s no way of knowing which way it will go.
But with these tips, your baby should have an easier time of it. Just remember if you start feeling impatient with their fussiness, that they're doing the best they can. Try giving them some extra love and snuggles to help them get through this difficult milestone.
- The information provided here are guidelines and doesn’t replace medical advice. Visit the doctor if symptoms persist for a prolonged time.
- Every child is different, and what works for one may not work for others. The above-stated tips have no side effects so you can try them one at a time and see which works best for your kid.
This guest post is by Jenny Editor for MomLovesBest.com