Top tips for soothing your teething baby
Teething can be a distressing time for some babies with those pesky teeth trying desperately to get through. You and your baby will try anything to relieve those sore gums.
Parents, grandparents and friends all have their teething tips but what actually works? Knowing what to expect and what to try can make the process easier for both you and baby.
When it comes to teething, all babies are different. Whilst most babies begin teething around six months, that first tooth can appear anytime between three and 14 months.
In most cases, your baby’s teeth will appear in pairs with the bottom front two teeth coming through first, followed by the top front two. Your baby’s milk teeth should be complete by age three, with their permanent teeth beginning to appear between ages four and six.
So, what are the signs of teething?
For some babies, teeth emerge with little or no pain at all. But for others, the discomfort can be distressing. So, what are the key indicators that your baby is teething:
- Drool, and lots of it – teething babies dribble way more than usual
- The need to gnaw on everything and anything – the counter pressure of chewing can provide relief
- Puffy, sore and red gums
- Excessive drooling
- Fussiness, more irritable than usual
- Ear pulling
- Change in eating habits – loss of appetite
If you are concerned about any of your child’s symptoms, you should always seek medical advice.
Tips for soothing your baby’s sore gums
When it comes to teething, every baby is different. When looking for the best tips and tricks to help ease your baby’s discomfort, you may have to try a few different things before finding something that works.
Teething toys and rings
Teething toys and rings give your baby something to chew on safely. Distracting them from the pain, they may help ease their discomfort. Gnawing down on a teether provides counter-pressure to a rising tooth.
Teething rings and toys can often be chilled in the fridge for an extra soothing effect. Always check the instructions before chilling and never put in the freezer to cool as this could cause damage to your baby’s gums if the ring or toy becomes frozen.
Rub your baby’s gums
If your baby will let you, rubbing their sore gums in a circular motion with a clean finger can ease the pressure. You could also try a damp washcloth or a very soft toothbrush.
Dry the drool
Excessive drooling is part of the teething process. To prevent skin irritation, keep a clean cloth handy to dry your baby’s chin.
Lots of cuddles and playtime
Sometimes the distraction of cuddle time with mummy or daddy or playing, singing or reading can be enough to take your baby’s mind off their teething pain. Many babies just want to be held and soothed with cuddles.
Food for chewing
Chewing on chilled sticks of vegetables or fruits such as carrot, cucumber or apple can ease the discomfort. You could also try a crust of bread or a breadstick. This method should only be tried if your baby is over six months old and you are always with them to ensure they don’t choke.
Avoid giving your little one sugary food, as this can cause tooth decay, even if your child only has a few teeth.
Paracetamol and ibuprofen
If your baby is distressed with the pain, you may want to try a sugar-free painkilling medicine. Paracetamol or ibuprofen can be given to relieve teething symptoms in babies and young children aged 3 months or older.
Always make sure you give the correct dose of medicine to your baby for their age and never exceed the maximum number of doses in any 24-hour period.