How to make teething more bearable for you and your child
Toothache is a miserable sensation so for young babies, the discomfort and pain of teething must be almost unbearable.
Unfortunately that translates into a terrible time for parents too, as you try every trick to try and soothe your child’s inflamed gums.
Here’s a closer look at teething and how to make it as bearable as possible.
It’s very easy to blame teething for any unexplained niggly behaviour in an infant but make sure it really is teething before you dismiss any other problems.
Lumpy or inflamed gums are a sure-fire symptom that their teeth are about to break through but it’s not always that obvious to see.
A child who is grumpy, off their food and rubbing their ear and cheek could have an ear infection but could just as likely to be teething too.
If they’re trying to chomp on everything and also are a bit more drooly than usual too, it’s a good indication that teething is to blame for their symptoms.
Your fridge is your friend
Cutting teeth quite literally involves the gums being split open, a painful process which is drawn out over many months. It can start as early as three months but more often starts to kick in at around 6-9 months.
Cooling those hot gums down is a priority as well as giving your little one something safe to gnaw away on. You can be sure that if you don’t provide something suitable, they’ll jam whatever else they can find in their aching mouth.
Teething toys which can be stored in the fridge serve a great dual purpose, not just being the ideal chomping aid, but also cooling the mouth as well. Have a supply of a few teething toys so you can have some cooling in the fridge, ready to replace one as it gets too warm.
Teething toys are even better when placed inside a fridge
Alternatives to teethers
Although teethers are invaluable, your baby may get irritable and bored so it’s good to have a range of different textures and choices for them.
Cool foods such as refrigerated apple sauce can be very cooling and also fill up their tummy. Food can sometimes be problematic when children are teething so this serves a dual purpose. A full tummy will help them feel less niggly.
If you make sure your finger is clean and sterile, they will love to mash this between their gums. Not recommended for a child who already has a mouthful of teeth but a comforting – and pain-free option for babies cutting their first ones!
Using a damp cloth is another soothing alternative allowing your child to suck out the moisture. Just make sure the cloth isn’t wet, just damp.
Don’t resort to medication straight away as not every child will need it. However, if your baby is showing signs of pain and discomfort don’t try and struggle through when there’s medication which could ease their discomfort.
Paracetamol and ibuprofen medication can help them to stay pain-free for longer, particularly during the night. If you’re not sure of the dosage, your health visitor or GP will be able to provide you with guidance.
Giving a child paracetamol or ibuprofen will take a while to kick in so while you’re waiting for the relief, you can combine them with an oral teething gel or herbal teething powders (which can be purchased from all leading pharmacies and supermarkets). This will numb the spot instantly but the downside is that it can also be washed away by saliva so may not last long enough to be the only source of analgesia.
Babies love to chew on a clean finger!
The above ideas should help you and your child get through the difficult periods of teething. These generally come in spurts and there may be gaps between each group of teeth cutting through. There’s never an easy answer but the above ideas should provide some help for both you and your little one.
Written by Carly Garrett