Your newborn baby is born with 20 teeth under the gum line. Before you know it, your happy baby starts to become fussy with a tendency to drool on a consistent basis. The first tooth usually appears between 6 months and 1 year of age.
When your infant starts teething, it can be a very challenging time. However, there are number of baby teething tips to help soothe your child!
Signs Your Baby is Teething
If your baby is around 6 months (timing does vary), you may start noticing these symptoms of teething:
- Sore or tender gums
- Low-grade fever around 99 F
- Drool rash around the mouth
Teething does not cause fevers and diarrhea. If your baby has a temperature above 100.4 F and has diarrhea, you should definitely speak to your doctor.
Typically, the first tooth to appear is one of the incisors on the bottom. It is a good idea to inspect your child’s gums for any bumps, a sign of newly surfacing teeth. Teething may be slower for some babies than others, so infants can have symptoms months before a tooth actually appears.
There are several ways to soothe gums. The most effective treatments include pressure, using cold items, and giving your baby something safe to chew. It’s really tough to see your baby start teething and experiencing constant pain, so try these methods to help ease the discomfort.
1. Massage the Gums
Applying pressure to your infant’s gums may help ease the pain. After thoroughly cleaning your hands, lay your baby on the bed and massage their gums gently with your finger. This may actually help your baby relax and fall asleep. You can try rubbing the gums again if your baby awakes in the middle of the night.
2. Get a Cold Washcloth
It is a good idea to find a clean washcloth and soak it in water. You should wring out the water until it is damp. Then place the washcloth in the fridge or freezer to cool it down.
After it is nice and cool, fold the washcloth and give to your baby to chew. You should never leave your baby unattended if they are chewing on something, even a washcloth, because this could be a choking hazard.
3. Refrigerate Pacifier or Teething Toy
If your baby uses a pacifier, you can also use it to soothe their gums by cooling it down. You should make sure the pacifier is clean and place it in the refrigerator. The coolness may help numb the gums and relieve some pain.
You can follow the same steps with teething toys. You can place any solid teething toys in the fridge. It is a good idea to stay away from liquid or gel-filled toys, which could possibly leak.
4. Freeze Milk Popsicles
Some babies will not eat while they are teething. This is most likely because of the discomfort.
If possible, you should find BPA-free popsicle forms and fill them with breastmilk or formula. These types of popsicles can become very messy when they melt, so be sure to place a bib on your baby. You might find it smart to have your infant eat these in the highchair.
5. Wipe Away Excess Drool
It is helpful to have your baby wear a bib while they teethe. Babies have a tendency to drool and soak their clothing.
You should make it a priority to wipe away drool from your baby’s face to help prevent further irritation. Ideally, your child’s face should stay dry to prevent a rash.
6. Chill Some Fruit
If you have introduced your baby to solid foods, you could try freezing some types of foods to help soothe irritated gums. Chilled mashed bananas are a great start! You can try other fruits in a mesh feeder for your baby to suck on. The mesh feeder will help prevent choking. Some different types of fruit you could try include chilled apples, pears, or strawberries. It is a good idea to monitor your baby at all times and make sure your infant is old enough to try these treats.
7. Extra Cuddling Time
Sometimes the best way to help a baby in discomfort is some extra cuddle time. Rocking your baby in a big chair or carrying your baby around the house (in a baby carrier) are great ideas. The extra cuddle time will help provide both of you with some needed rest.
If you breastfeed, don’t be afraid to give your baby additional nursing sessions for comfort. It is important to provide your infant with a calm environment to help them relax and fall asleep.
8. Pain Medications
As a last resort, you can talk to your doctor about providing over-the-counter pain medication. These medicines help alleviate pain and allow the baby to go to sleep. Your pediatrician can advise you on the correct dosage and which type of pain relievers work best.
It is a good idea to stay away from teething gels and tablets that contain lidocaine or benzocaine. They can be harmful and often numb a baby’s mouth, causing issues with swallowing.
How Long Does Baby Teething Last?
There is no set timetable on how long your baby will go through teething. This process could last months or be over in a couple of days. Each infant handles the pain differently. The pain typically subsides once the tooth has emerged through the gums. There is usually a break between teeth, although the time frame can vary.
Caring for Your Baby’s New Teeth
You should start caring for your baby’s tooth as soon as it appears through the gums. It is important to wipe off the tooth before bed. You can use a damp, clean washcloth or a soft-bristled baby toothbrush.
You should not use fluoride toothpaste until your child is at least 3 years old and can spit out the toothpaste. However, you can use a small amount of training toothpaste to clean the new tooth.
Good hygiene starts early. Even though your baby will ultimately lose these teeth, you want the baby teeth and gums to remain healthy in preparation for the new adult teeth.
Schedule Regular Dental Checkups
Baby teething is no fun for the baby or the parent. Now you have valuable suggestions on how to help your baby deal with the irritation.
Once that first tooth appears, the American Dental Association recommends scheduling your child’s first dental visit. Regular dental visits set the foundation for your child to have healthy gums and teeth. Contact our office with any questions or to schedule your child’s first appointment today!