Most new parents don’t realize how much a little baby tooth can ruin your day. In fact, you might not even think about your baby growing teeth until they are screaming and up all night. Even then, it’s hard to tell if your baby is teething because most teething pain happens before you see any teeth. Between fussiness and drool, it’s hard to know how to help your baby. Thankfully there are some things you can do to relieve your child’s pain and get a little bit of rest. Here are a few ideas that can help your baby as they grow new teeth.
Your baby’s first tooth usually grows in the lower jaw when they’re 6 to 10 months old. The teeth often follow this pattern:
- The two bottom front teeth (central incisors) come in.
- The four upper teeth (central and lateral incisors) come in 4 to 8 weeks later.
- The two lower incisors come in 1 month later.
- The first molars (in the back of the mouth) come in when your baby is about 1 year old and can cause pain.
Until you see those pearly whites pop through the surface of your child’s gums, it’s hard to know if they are teething. In fact, a lot of parent’s attribute teething to common sicknesses and ailments. To really know if your child is teething, look for these early signs of teething:
- Irritability or fussiness
- Chewing on things
- Sore gums
- Swollen gums
- Low-grade fever of 100.0-100.3°F
- Changes in eating or sleeping
Although teething can make your baby sad or fussy, it shouldn’t make them overtly sick. Check with your doctor if you child has diarrhea or vomiting, a rash, high fever, or flu-like symptoms.
You’re ready. Your baby is growing up. It’s time to help them get through this milestone. Keep the following tips in mind as you help your baby with their teething pain.
Believe it or not, it feels good to your baby when there is pressure on their gums. You can do this in several ways.
- Wash your hands thoroughly and rub your baby’s gums. Doing this just before breastfeeding might even save you from getting bitten.
- Let them chew on a hard cracker or piece of celery. Just make sure you're around when you let them have hard foods in case a small piece breaks off. You don’t want them to choke.
- Let them chew on a teething ring.
Cool things off
Just like an ice pack feels good when you sprain your ankle, cool temperatures can help relieve pressure and pain in your baby’s gums.
- Use a chilled teething ring.
- Gently rub your baby’s gums with a clean, cool washcloth.
- Avoid ice and frozen teething rings. These can hurt your baby or cause choking.
Although it shouldn’t always be the first resort, over-the-counter pain medications for your baby can do wonders in relieving teething pain. Follow the guidelines for an appropriate dosage of acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
- Avoid teething medications or homeopathic teething tablets. Many of these remedies contain benzocaine or lidocaine, which can be extremely harmful for your child.
Whether you child is 4 months old, or 24 months old, teething can be difficult to manage. Between sleepless nights, chewing, crying, and pain, many parents worry about how to help their child. Just remember, the pain of teething is temporary. For most kids, teething lasts for a few days up to a week before a tooth erupts from their gums. So not matter what you do, your child will be feeling better within a week or so.