Babies and Teething – Banish the Hurt
By Mark Walters
Ouch! Teething hurts! It’s a very painful and stressful time for baby. There are a few things you can do to ease the pain.
Teething usually occurs between 6 months and 24 months of age. Often the bottom two front teeth will appear first and then the four top front teeth. Baby will often begin drooling or try to chew on any firm object within reach.
Baby’s gums may be tender and swollen and cheeks near the affected gums will sometimes become red. While most babies go through the teething experience without excessive pain, that’s not the case with all of them. For some it may be very uncomfortable and baby may become extremely irritable.
You can help by rubbing baby’s gums with a clean wet finger or use a cold table spoon to gently massage the gums. This will help ease the pain and soothe baby.
Chilled teething rings are a popular option. When using a teething ring you can increase its effectiveness by storing it in the refrigerator. Baby will find the coolness on the gums is very soothing. You want the ring chilled, but not frozen. A frozen teething ring could cause frostbite to baby’s tender lips and gums.
Some parents allow baby to chew on a clean cold wash rag. Another idea is to wrap cracked ice in a washcloth and allow children to chew on this. Careful! Watch your babies to make sure they don’t accidentally choke on any ice that may slip out of the washcloth.
When a baby reaches six months of age she loves to feed herself. Create a custom made cool treat by filling an ice cube tray with baby’s favorite juice and put wooden sticks in each section. The frozen treat will numb baby’s gums for a few moments and may even generate a few giggles.
After the first two bottom teeth appear, baby can chew on a cold carrot or apple. This helps ease the pain, as well as gives baby a little added nutrition. Of course, never give baby something he can choke on.
Keep over the counter teething gel handy. Ask your doctor if he or she recommends a pain reliever medication. Don’t mistake certain symptoms with teething when those symptoms could actually represent an illness or infection. Diaper rash, high fever, diarrhea, sleepless nights and vomiting are not a side effect of teething. If your baby displays any of those things get to your doctor quickly.
Chances are you won’t be able to make your baby completely comfortable during teething, but if you follow these suggestions you will be doing everything you can.
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