Some babies cut their teeth with a minimum of discomfort, but most are listless and irritable, says our expert author in this sample article for Pepper’s Parenting, Baby Care and Elderly Care section.
There is nothing more heart-wrenching than a crying baby; especially when there is nothing you can do to ease their suffering. Such situations often arise when your baby is teething.
Some babies cut their teeth with a minimum of discomfort, but most are listless and irritable. So, how do you know your baby is teething? Or if she is in pain? Let’s find out.
Signs that tell you, your Baby is Teething
By and large, babies start teething when they are around 6 months. The lower central incisors or the two bottom front teeth are generally the first to cut through. You know your baby is teething if:
- There is excessive drooling
- The baby is irritable and cries a lot
- The baby chews on anything it can get its hands-on
- The gums are sore and tender
- The baby may feel feverish
Diarrhoea or fever is not necessarily a symptom of teething. In case your baby has these symptoms, it’s best to consult your doctor.
Comforting your baby
Tasty chilled snacks
Your baby is probably on solids at this stage. To soothe her gums, try delicious fruits like chilled mashed bananas. Place the banana in a teething feeder. Your baby can suck on the fruit without fear of choking. You can introduce cooked fruits such as ripe pears or apples also.
Soothe painful gums with the help of a baby towel
A clean and wet baby towel wrung out and placed in the fridge for a while is ideal for your baby to chew on. The baby will get a better grip if the folds are small. Don’t leave your child unattended when around such objects, since they can pose a choking hazard.
A good massage does the trick
You must understand that the teeth have to cut their way out of your baby’s delicate gums. A good way to relieve the pain is by massaging the gums. Wash your hands thoroughly to avoid chances of infection. Put the baby in your lap and use circular motions to massage the gums. While you are at it, let the baby chew on your fingers. Be sure to keep your nails trimmed.
A chilled teething ring or toy
Allow the toy to cool in the freezer for a while, make sure they are slightly chilled and not frozen. The size should be just right; not so small that it can become a choking hazard and not too big that the baby can’t grasp it easily. Try to avoid toys that are filled with gel.
Wipe off drool
A bib works wonders in this situation. You can wipe off excess drool without the need to hunt for a clean napkin, and also protect the baby’s clothes. Be gentle when you wipe the baby. Aggressive rubbing can cause further irritation.
A lot of love and care
There is nothing like the solace of a mother’s arms to comfort the baby. Rock your baby against your breast and sing a gentle lullaby. If the baby is in too much distress, contact your doctor.
If the baby is in a lot of pain, you can try giving her pain medication such as Tylenol. If in doubt, contact your doctor before you administer the medicine.
Things that you can avoid
- Certain homoeopathic pills are popular with mothers. There is not enough information available on the safety or efficacy of these medicines. Some of these pills may contain substances that lead to breathing difficulties and seizures.
- There are some teething drugs available in the market that relieve pain. However, they may contain substances that are not only harmful but can be fatal for your baby.
- Teething bracelets with beads can be life-threatening if the beads are ingested accidentally. Keep the baby away from anything that can get lodged in her throat or cause her to choke.
Teething can be a trying time; not only for the baby but for the parents too. It is easy to get irritable or feel helpless. But remember, it’s a phase that you and your baby have to pass through. When the baby gives you a toothy grin, it will all seem worth it!