Babies usually cut their first tooth anytime between 3-8 months old. Teething can be straight forward, but often, both babies and parents find the process painful and drawn-out.
An early indication that your baby may be teething is that your smiley bundle of joy who is sleeping well suddenly becomes a grumpy, inconsolable insomniac who rejects the breast or bottle. Other teething signs are heavy drooling, sore, swollen gums and biting down on everything and anything.
Your baby may develop a fever and/or diarrhoea alongside teething, but experts advise that fevers and tummy upsets should be treated separately and it is recommended that you speak to your doctor if you are worried about either of these things.
There are a few things you can do to ease the pain of teething:
* If your baby is drooling a lot, a red rash may develop on the chin and around the mouth. Use a soft cotton cloth to dab the saliva away and don’t rub too hard on the delicate skin. You can use a gentle barrier cream to protect the skin.
* Sooth painful gums by rubbing your clean, cool finger on them. (Hold your hands under cold water before doing this.)
* Teething rings that have been kept in the fridge also offer some relief.
* My babies loved chomping on chilled carrots and cucumber strips but be careful once the teeth have come in as they might bite chunks off that they could choke on.
* Teething babies also love sucking on ice cubes wrapped tightly in a clean muslin cloth or flannel.
* There are a number of teething gels available that contain a local analgesic which may give relief but they should be used sparingly. Do not use these prior to breast feeding as the gel may numb your baby’s mouth so they wont be able to latch on properly.
* Sugar-free homeopathic teething granules may also help. Just tip the contents of the packet into your baby’s mouth or rub the powder directly onto the gums with a clean finger.
* Lots of extra distraction and cuddles will help to keep your baby’s mind off the pain.
* If your baby is two months or older and in real distress, you can use a painkiller such as infant paracetamol. If your baby is older than three months and weighs at least 5kg you can use ibuprofen but ALWAYS follow the instructions on the label. Do not overuse these medicines; perhaps just consider a dose before bedtime if your baby is in a lot of pain.
* Remember that teething is a phase and you will all get through it. Before you know it, your child will be needing braces and growing their wisdom teeth and you’ll be wondering where the time went.
Do you have any teething tips that we haven’t included here?
Image Credit : Melinda Minarae