How to soothe a teething baby
The teething process is difficult for babies because the new teeth actually push through the previously unbroken gums, which is quite painful. But, the teething phase is also notoriously difficult for parents.
It can be really frustrating to not be able to soothe your child, especially when you are also exhausted (from the very little sleep that parents of babies get) and have to handle other things like your job, your other kids and household chores. But there are medical and natural ways to soothe the pain and discomfort of teething.
Children start teething from around four months old, and this can last for years (usually until three years old). This means that their milk teeth are pushing through the gums so that they can start eating and chewing solids.
How do I know that my child has started teething?
There are a few tell-tale signs. The most common one is an excess of drool. Teething babies are always drooling. You will most likely have your baby in a bib for most of the day to catch all the extra spittle.
Also, teething babies are cranky. The pain actually keeps the baby out of sleep, and this makes them miserable! Your baby’s gums may seem swollen or reddish from the inflammation.
Some kids also get diarrhoea, high fever and phlegm on the chest. However, these symptoms could be a result of something more serious, so have it checked out by a medical professional.
There are loads of over-the-counter remedies, both to ingest and apply topically, that can be used. A popular one is ‘teething powder’, which is rubbed on the child’s gums and numbs the area. These powders can be found among many baby-care brands.
Other topical treatments include teething gels. They work the same way. Be wary of just grabbing any brand off the shelf though. Some gels have been proven to have loads of sugar and alcohol in the ingredients list.
A 2019 study on these products found that of 14 examined, two contained table sugar, six contained alcohol and six contained lidocaine, an anaesthetic used to numb tissue. These ingredients could prove harmful to a tiny baby’s organs.
The study comes after the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) announced in December 2018 that teething products with lidocaine would no longer be sold in supermarkets, reports IOL News. Products were also removed from high street shops, and would only be found in pharmacies.
The regulator conducted a review that found products with lidocaine were linked with a “very small” risk of harm and there was little evidence they work. Instead, it said parents should massage the gums or use a teething ring. This can ease babies’ discomfort and distract them from pain.
The gums don’t just pain during the teething period but they itch too. Children seem to find relief from chewing on rubbery, plastic surfaces. You can get teething rings at any pharmacy or retailer. Be sure that the rings are BPA free and big enough to not cause choking. The size also matters when you are making your own, natural teething ‘rings’ at home.
You can freeze fruits like apples or bananas for your baby to munch on when they are teething. It not only helps with the itching, but tastes yummy and gives them some lovely nutrients from the fruit itself.
Use a clean, cold washcloth
Take a clean washcloth and immerse it in water, wring it out until just damp, then place it in the fridge, suggests Pampers. When the cloth is cool and semi-frozen, your baby can chew on it to relieve any discomfort. But never leave your child unattended when they are sucking or chewing on anything. Babies don’t yet have control of their tongue and swallow automatically.
A lesser-known trick is massaging the gums. Clean and sterilise your hands and use your thumb to gently massage the sore area. Do not press hard. Make light, gentle circles on the surface. Be careful not to press too hard. Your baby will most likely use your finger as a chew toy. This is for smaller babies and if you are lucky, you may feel the rough edges of their first tooth!
If you would like expert guidance in navigating all the phases your child’s teeth and mouth will go through, get medical insurance like Affinity Dental to ensure that you are covered and receive the best, modern dental care from a list of our handpicked professionals on our network.
Amber has been used for decades for its supposed natural healing and pain-relieving properties. Amber teething necklaces contain a resin derived from trees, and succinic acid is known for its anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antibacterial properties. When in contact with your baby’s skin, the amber is activated by body heat and triggers the secretion of the succinic acid in the baby’s body. The digital Journal explains that it permeates the skin and sends healing and anti-inflammatory properties throughout the body. Many tests have shown that Amber has no toxic side-effects.