Baby Teething FAQ’s
Babies are always joyful bundles but when the tooth fairy is about to pay a visit, most babies usually become crying bundles. Older and more experienced mums might just know this trick but the situation typically leaves new mothers clueless as to what the exact problem is. So when breastfeeding, cuddling, singing and other baby-calming antics fail… think of the teeth!
What are the symptoms of teething?
It would almost impossible to know when the tooth fairy will come for your baby as teething occurs at different times for different babies. However, there are signs for you to look out for when your baby will eventually begin teething even though some babies have it rough while others just breeze through this stage.
Some of the common signs are red and swollen gums, heavy drooling, sleepless nights, discomfort and pain, inconsistent feeding, biting and grumpiness can all be signs that your baby’s first tooth is on its way.
Some babies happen to develop temperature or are diagnosed of diarrhea just before a tooth breaks through, but it’s unlikely that teething causes these conditions, so treat them separately or better yet your doctor.
You may, however, find that your baby gets a red rash on her chin and lower lip from all the dribbling. Gently wipe the dribble off with a soft cotton cloth, making sure that you don’t rub. Smoothing a barrier cream such as petroleum jelly on her chin at bedtime and before she goes out will help to protect your baby’s skin from getting sore.
Why does teething hurt?
Your baby’s teeth started developing in the uterus, when teeth buds were formed in her gums. As her teeth develop, they push up through her gums, and this can cause irritation, pain and swelling.
You may remember the ache your wisdom teeth created when they arrived, which will give you an idea of what your baby is going through.
While pressure seems to relieve the pain sucking causes more blood to rush to the swollen areas, making them particularly sensitive. This is why your baby may temporarily reject your breast or her bottle when she is teething.
What are the best ways to soothe painful gums?
Simply rubbing a finger over sore gums can numb the pain temporarily. Giving your baby something to bite on will have a similar effect, relieving the pressure and thereby easing the pain.
The chances are that your baby will find things to chew on herself but she might find hard, unsweetened rusks, teething rings or a peeled, raw carrot helpful. Don’t use carrots once she has her first tooth, as she may bite off lumps that she can then choke on.
Anything cold will be soothing, so keep teething rings in the fridge or give your baby a partly-frozen wet flannel to gnaw on. Chilled water in a bottle or, if she prefers, a feeding cup may help to calm her gums. If she is old enough for solid foods, offer her cold apple puree or plain yoghurt.
There will be times, however, when your baby will reject all of these offerings and, at these moments, a cuddle is the best therapy you can supply.
How about teething gels?
A little teething gel rubbed onto your baby’s sore gum with a clean finger will numb her gum for about 20 minutes. However, you should not use teething gels more than six times a day and, if you are breastfeeding, you not use them just before a feed. The gel can numb your baby’s tongue, making it hard for her to suck properly. They might also numb your areola (the dark skin around your nipple) making feeding difficult for both of you.
Can I give my baby infant paracetamol?
If all else fails, and your baby is in real distress, the correct dose can be given. However, you should first make sure that something else isn’t causing your baby to be upset. Ear infections are often mistaken for teething. Also, if she has a temperature you should take her to see a doctor.
How long will teething last?
Just as there is no set date at which your baby’s first tooth will arrive, so the time it takes to make its journey through that little gum is different for every child. Some will be troubled for just a few days before a tooth emerges, while other babies will display all the symptoms of teething for months, with nothing to show for it at all.
The good news is that, for most babies, the first few teeth are the worst. Problems associated with teething tend to subside, certainly until the molars, the large teeth at the back of the mouth, start to come through. That is unlikely to happen until after your baby’s first birthday, giving you and your baby time to recover from this difficult and, for some, stressful stage.
How was your baby’s first teething phase?Photo by: masterfile.com story credit: Baby centre blog