Most babies begin teething between four and seven months old. The pain usually subsides once the teeth have emerged through the gums. There is often a break between teeth though there is no set timeframe. Your baby may show few or no symptoms, but many infants generally experience pain during the process.
Teething symptoms can include:
- Sore or swollen gums
- Excessive drooling
- Drool rash around the mouth
- Chewing on objects
- Reduced appetite
You have several practical options available to help soothe your teething baby.
#1 Massage Your Baby’s Gums
After thoroughly washing your hands, lay your baby down on the bed and start using your finger to gently massage their gums. The pressure you apply can counter the one caused by the teeth breaking through. It helps your baby relax and possibly fall asleep. You can do this again if they wake up with sore gums.
#2 Wipe Away Excess Drool
Drooling often happens during the teething process and keeping your baby’s face dry is important to prevent rashes. Skin irritation would only increase your baby’s discomfort on top of their painful gums. You may also have your infant wear a bib while they’re teething. It helps keep their clothes dry and makes it easier for you to wipe away excess drool from their sensitive skin.
#3 Use a Cold Washcloth
Soak a clean and textured washcloth, wring it until it’s only damp, and store it in the fridge or the freezer for a while. You can then offer it to your baby to alleviate their pain as they chew on it. Always watch over your infant as they gnaw on something to reduce choking risks. Using terrycloth or washcloths with a ribbed texture creates friction which can provide additional comfort to your teething baby.
#4 Freeze Milk Popsicles
Some babies won’t eat during the teething process because of the increased discomfort it causes. Making milk popsicles can help keep them nourished and hydrated. Fill BPA-free popsicle molds with either breastmilk or formula. Have your baby wear a bib when enjoying the treat as it can get messy once it starts melting. You can also offer the milk popsicle while your little one is sitting in their highchair.
#5 Have Some Chilled Fruits Ready
Another way to soothe your teething baby is to place a fruit piece in the freezer for at least one hour before letting your baby have it. Make sure to stay close to make sure the chilled fruit doesn’t break off into smaller bits. You can also put the frozen fruit in a mesh feeder to minimize choking risk.
If you have already introduced your baby to solid foods, you can use pieces of bananas, apples, pears, or strawberries. An alternative that can help soothe and feed your teething child is to serve chilled purees that you keep in the fridge.
#6 Offer Extra Cuddles
One of the most soothing solutions is to provide extra cuddles. You can rock your baby while sitting. You can also wear your baby around the house in a safe baby carrier, facing inward, to help your little one rest. Bonus perk: you may be able to take care of some tasks.
If you are breastfeeding, you can nurse more often to provide additional comfort. If you are bottle-feeding, make sure to snuggle during and after feeding time. Extra cuddle time helps both baby and parents relax, and it creates a calmer environment that may allow everyone to get some much-needed sleep.
#7 Give Them a Chilled Pacifier or Teething Toy
Chilling a pacifier or a teething toy is one of the most common solutions to soothe teething babies. They get to chew on a safe object while the cold numbs their sore and irritated gums. You may need to experiment with various toys or pacifiers if your little one doesn’t already have a favorite one. Avoid using a liquid or gel-filled toy that could tear and leak.
Make sure to clean the pacifier or teething toy before chilling it. Be careful not to let the object in the freezer for more than 10 to 15 minutes. Keeping it there for longer may cause harm to your baby, especially to their delicate and already painful gums.
You can also become the chew toy. After carefully washing your hands in cold water, offer your pinky finger to your baby to gnaw on. Showing your little one how to use their fingers to nibble on can also help them self-soothe.
Regular dentist visits help maintain good oral health at all ages. Contact Access Dental today at (973) 358-6266 to schedule an appointment.