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We know, we know. You finally feel like you have your baby’s sleep routine on lock and then they go and cut a tooth! If this is the first time you are experiencing teething with your little one, congratulations — it will be an interesting ride. Teething can last anywhere from 4 months old to around 2 years old so if you find yourself in the “teething time” (anywhere between 4 months old to 2 years), here are 9 tips for handling teething that might make life just a little bit easier for both of you!
9 ways to help your teething baby
- Offer a damp washcloth to soothe the gums – Take a clean washcloth and soak it in water, breast milk, or a mixture of the two. Then place this cloth in the refrigerator to chill for about ten minutes. This treatment will provide relief from the soreness that is associated with teething and will help rinse away some of your baby’s drool as well!
- Try a specifically created teething ring – these are made with ice/gelatine or silicone beads and are easy to find in shops and pharmacies. They’ll chomp on it which will help get rid of any excess teeth pressure as well as provide some relief from pain.
- Offer a cold spoon – Place a chilled spoon in your freezer for 10-15 minutes and then gently rub the cold spoons against baby’s gums to provide relief.
- Try giving them chamomile tea – Chamomile tea is an effective way to calm your child down or help make sure that they go back to sleep after waking up during the night due to soreness from teething. To make chamomile tea, boil water and brew a teabag for around 10 minutes. Once the tea is brewed, let it cool. You might use a spoon to feed your baby the tea, or they may sip from the cup on their own.
- Rub their gums with your finger gently – You can rub your baby’s gums with your finger which will help provide relief from their soreness and reduce the amount of drool they produce. Don’t forget to wash your hands first!
- Give them frozen fruit – If your baby is over 18 months old, offer them some frozen strawberries which can help numb their mouth and provide relief from the pain associated with teething.
- Give them a pacifier – If your baby uses a pacifier, they might find comfort in sucking the sucking motions to help soothe their gums.
- Encourage them to suck on foods – similar to a pacifier, older children may get relief from sucking on an appropriately sized carrot slice, or a stick of raw zucchini.
- Use an infant toothbrush – toothbrushes that are specifically designed for those newly emerged teeth could help relieve the pain, as well as help the last bits of gum to break away.
How can I help my teething baby sleep better?
If your baby is cutting a tooth, you may notice they are waking up more often during the night. It’s important to make sure that they get plenty of sleep so their body can recover from all the teething and pain! Here are some ways how you could help them:
– Try giving them chamomile tea (see how to make it above) an hour or so before bedtime. The tea will have a calming effect and help them sleep longer. (It works on adults, too!)
– When you lay your baby down for their nap, place a cold washcloth on their forehead which can provide relief from the discomfort associated with teething.
– Rocking gently with your child is another effective way how to help your teething baby sleep better! They’re more likely to get lost in the moment with you, rather than thinking about how uncomfortable they are.
– If they are breastfeeding, try offering a small feed before bed. The sucking motion relieves some of the tension they’re feeling. You may also find that a pacifier will do the same job.
If your baby is still having teething discomfort after trying the above remedies, consult your doctor who can advise you of the next best step specific to your little one. They may suggest an over-the-counter or prescription medication to help. Be sure to keep labels with your child’s name on it on any medication if they attend a childcare center – most are particularly strict on medication use.
What are some of the signs my baby is teething?
If they’re in that 4 months to around 2 years old age range, you’ll start to be on the lookout for signs that they’re cutting a tooth. Symptoms you might see include:
- Swollen gums – You’ll be able to see bulging gums around those new teeth, and they might be tender to the touch.
- Drooling or excessive saliva – This can happen as your baby tries to relieve their mouth by swallowing more liquids, which may make them less irritable and cranky.
- Gum discoloration – As teeth emerge from under the gums they will start to show through pinkish-red tissue – they’re not far away when you see this happening!
- Fussiness and trouble sleeping – You might see your baby start to fuss more than usual as their new teeth make it difficult for them to sleep or eat without discomfort.
- Diarrhea – A common side-effect of teething, your baby’s gastrointestinal system might be disrupted by all that saliva heading into their bellies.
- A change in appetite – Your child might be more hungry (because eating relieves the physical tension on their gums) or less interested in eating. (because it is painful)
What does a swollen gum mean?
If your baby’s gums have gone from pink/red and healthy-looking to blue or purple in color, then it might be a sign they are cutting a tooth. It can sometimes be difficult to tell if your baby is cutting a tooth, so it’s important that you watch out for the signs! Other symptoms of teething include drooling and fussiness.
If you notice that your baby’s gums are consistently black and blue, take them to see a dentist or pediatrician who can make sure they’re not infected.
The teeth are coming, one way or another!
Teething is a natural process and there are ways to help your baby through the uncomfortable time. We hope these teething remedies will give you some peace of mind when it comes to how best to care for your little one’s gums! Now that you know how to handle teething, go ahead, get back out there and enjoy life with your family. Remember – even if they’re cutting two or three new teeth at once, they’ll get through this painful stage in their development.