Teary, red faced, irritable, downright frustrated…and that’s just you! The truth is teething can be very upsetting for parents as well as for babies. Though you may feel helpless when faced with your baby’s obvious suffering, you will be relieved to know that there are several things you can do to reduce this suffering and make for an altogether more harmonious home life for everyone.
A baby’s first tooth normally surfaces around the six-month mark, though this can vary widely from baby to baby depending on the severity of teething symptoms. You can view a schedule of the typical teeth emergence pattern you might expect to see here but do remember that this is just a rough guide. Although a baby’s first visit to the dentist may not be until they are 1 year old, if you are worried about them teething then head to your dentist.
Regardless of their appearance order, cutting teeth can cause tender and painful gums for baby’s so here are a few things you can do to help:
Your baby will probably dribble a lot at this time and this sensation of wetness can add greatly to their discomfort. Your first port of call with a teething baby should be attempting to keep his/her mouth as dry as possible.
You may also notice that your baby is attempting to bite down on anything they can grab. They do this because the burst of pressure temporarily alleviates the pain. If this is the case, why not help them out by giving them a safe sanitary object, such as a teething ring or cloth, to chew on.
Although teething and its associated discomfort is a natural part of the development of your child, extreme or prolonged periods of irritability are not. If your baby seems to be suffering for longer than a couple of days, don’t hesitate to go and see a doctor. Rashes or fevers are also not normal symptoms of teething and should be investigated by a medical professional at the earliest opportunity. If you have any doubts, make sure you are monitoring the temperature of your baby with a good thermometer.
If their chewable item can be chilled in the fridge before giving it to them it will be even more beneficial. Just as an ice-pack can help your sprained ankle, the coolness will help to soothe their raw little mouth. Gnawing on refrigerated foods such as a large carrot (a small one could cause choking) or cucumber can also help your little one feel better. Just ensure that they are supervised at all times.
You can also help by using a clean finger to rub your baby’s gums at times when they seem particularly distressed. Again, the pressure on their gums should take the edge off the pain.
With several very effective painkillers available and safe to give babies, there is no need for you both to suffer in silence (or loudness!) if the above listed remedies haven’t helped. Ibuprofen, Calpol and others can all help but be sure to always get the advice of your pharmacist before giving any of these to your baby.