There are so many fun milestones in a child’s life! As early as 5 months old, your little one will start growing their first teeth! Aren’t those small chompers the cutest? But unfortunately, for the most part it doesn’t feel all that cute to your munchkin. From seeing the white of the tooth about to pop through the gum to it fully emerging from the gum line, growing teeth is not a pleasant time. One can feel helpless during this time, and our hearts definitely break when our little ones aren't feeling good; so whether you're a new momma or have several kids, I'm here to share some tips on how to ease teething pain.
How to Tell Your Baby is Teething
You will notice that your baby is cranky--there can be more tears and more irritability. Your baby's gums will cause them discomfort and they will definitely show it. They may also have a hard time falling asleep or their sleeping patterns may become irregular. Drooling is a big indicator as well, so definitely pull out that bib because in a few minutes their shirt will be soaked with drool, and that can even cause a rash on their skin. They may also start chewing on toys. This is actually a way they provide comfort for their gums (we'll touch more on that soon), They can also pull on their cheeks or ears as a sign. Sometimes an elevated temperature comes with teething, and this is no fun at all. These all indicate that baby is teething or that teething is just around the corner.
Ways to Help Your Teething BabyCold Items: These can vary from teething toys to items your baby already has at home. There are toys that are sold at stores with liquid inside that you can just pop in the freezer, and when baby is uncomfortable, pull one of these out. You can also wet a washcloth, use a pacifier, and use frozen fruits (depending on age) in a food feeder. These were my baby's personal favorite because they helped soothe the gum line and helped with the swelling that came with teeth making their gums inflamed.
Medication: When your child is teething, your little one has a good chance of getting a low-grade fever (around 99F). Medication can help decrease their fever. It is not always guaranteed that this will help ease their pain, though. Always discuss with your child's pediatrician before giving them any medication. There is research having parents stay away from teething tablets and gel, which can actually cause more harm than help for children. Stay away from things containing benzocaine. Again discuss with your doctor before giving baby it, it's always better to be safe.
Teethers: There are baby toys that are specifically made just for teething. Some have ripped edges or rubbery textures that will help soothe their gums. There are teething rings, teething pacifiers, teething bibs, teething jewelry accessories, teething toy figures, and even teething mittens! Pick whichever one works for your baby. Be sure to keep a close eye on them when they are using these items to avoid choking.
Extra Cuddles: This is truly the most beautiful, lovable, and fun method there is. When your child is in pain, they want to feel protected and comforted, and who better to do that than you? Cuddle with them, giving them all the hugs and kisses. Create a peaceful space for them, or nurse them more if it helps them. Play some music or sing a song to them. Rock them in their chair with their favorite blanket or toy. This will (hopefully) help the baby start to relax and wind down.
Caring for Your Child's Teeth
Now that your baby's teeth have emerged, caring for them is actually pretty easy. All you need is a soft brush or even a clean washcloth. It's best to brush their teeth after every meal, but if you can't quite do it every time, then make sure to definitely do it mornings and at night. Brush all parts of their teeth and gums. Also use a fluoride-free toothpaste. Even though a baby will lose these teeth, it's important to clean, care, and create a brushing routine.
In summary, there are so many methods to help ease your baby's teething pain. It's not easy and can be incredibly stressful, but your baby will pick their favorite method that helps them the best. Just know you're not alone and seeking tips and tricks from other mothers does not hurt either! If your child starts getting a fever higher than what I mentioned above or starts to get diarrhea, definitely talk to your doctor, as this can be something apart from teething. Good luck momma you and baby got this and will make it through this!