There is no fixed treatment plan that can soothe your teething baby. But there are certain simple remedies that you can try. In fact when my son had teething issues I consulted my dental colleagues and they advised a few tips and it helped me a lot. So I thought I’ll share them with you all.
1. Teething toys: Like I told you they constantly like to bite and gnaw at something during this period. This action provides them a counter pressure, and helps to relieve the pain. Before you give them please make sure it is clean, baby friendly and not harmful to the kid. You could give them rubber teething toys.Soft wet toothbrush without paste when rubbed on the baby’s gum gives them good relief.
2. Cooling down: Just like how we look forward to have a big jar of ice cream after our tooth extraction or root canal treatment, similarly applying cold on to your baby’s inflamed and sore gums can be really effective.
Cold toys: Keep a set of teething toys or wet wash clothes in the fridge but make sure not to keep them in the freezer. When the baby chews the cold objects it provides a numbing feeling over the gums and a lot of relief.
Cold drinks: If your baby is over 6 months of age and has started drinking water, a glass of cold water can provide a quick relief to those aching gums.
Cold food: If you have started your baby on solids already, then you can try out refrigerated yogurt, blended peaches. You could also try giving your baby frozen pureed raspberries and plums in a baby feeder mesh bag. It really works out for many babies. But let me warn you, try and avoid your child to have cold food throughout the day .Since their immune system is not fully developed they can get infections too soon and along with that it can also weaken the enamel of the erupting teeth. These are all temporary remedies to quickly distract your child and provide a quick temporary relief.
For me cold toys certainly did the magic. I bought a couple of baby friendly rubber toys. I refrigerated them only occasionally. But my son felt good when he was allowed to gnaw and chew them. Son happy, mommy happier!!!
3. Pain Relievers: This should be your last resort. If your baby shows no improvement with chewing, rubbing or even having chilled foods and has a very disturbed sleep, then I suggest you go and meet your paediatrician once. Your pediatrician will start the baby on pain reliever medication appropriate to the age and weight of the baby.
A simple note: You will get though this phase easily. Don’t stress out too much. I know both you and your baby are in pain. Let m tell you those extra snuggles, hugs, kisses and little more patience from your side will help your teething baby come out of this.
What medications should be avoided?
When you see your child in so much pain, all you want to do is give them some relief. But dear parents remember there are a few teething remedies that are not safe for your baby and you should strictly avoid them.
1. Anaesthetic agents: There are a few anaesthetic or numbing agents which have to be avoided. Rubbing alcohol over the gum or usage of benzocaine or lidocaine is strictly not allowed. These agents reduce the oxygen levels in the blood and can be dangerous.
2. Teething gels: At times we might find it convenient to buy certain gels that can be used for the teeth and that helps to relieve pain or certain gels we as adults use when we get a tooth ache or mouth ulcers. But according to FDA, it is recommended that parents must strictly avoid any over- the counter teething gels. Firstly these gels haven’t been proven to be successful and secondly the exact content is never disclosed. It could contain certain herbal or homeopathic medications that cannot be used for infants. In fact let me tell you some of them also contain belladonna that can cause difficulty in breathing and can cause seizures.
3. Teething necklaces: There is no medical evidence proving that it helps. Let me tell you I will personally not recommend it. It is quite dangerous .It can strangle the baby .In case if the beads break there is a high chance that they swallow the beads and can choke themselves. But m writing it here so that you are aware of this option too.
But if you still want to go ahead make sure you put it around the wrist or ankle and never around the baby’s neck. Whenever they are using make sure you are watching them and the moment when you need to go away, may be even to the next room, take it away from them and keep it at a height where they cannot reach. It can be sued only when you are around them.
Objects: be very careful about the objects that you give you child for chewing or gnawing. There are a couple of things that you must keep in mind.
- Don’t give them objects that are filled with some sort of liquid that can leak, tear or spill.
- Don’t give them objects made of breakable materials like plastic that can cause choking.
- Don’t give them objects that are put in the freezer. It gets too hard for the baby’s mouth; preferably put the teething agents in the fridge for a few minutes before you give them.
- Make sure of the composition of the teething object. I would recommend all of you to go for rubber objects. It is safe for the baby. Some objects may contain a small percentage of lead, but even that can be fatal for the baby.
How do you soothe your teething baby at night time?
I know this can get really hard on you. If you’re a working mom or even a homemaker, you are so busy throughout the day that you wish to get a good sleep at night. But don’t worry, this period won’t last too long and you will easily get through it.
So let me give you different situations
If your baby who used to previously sleep comfortably now wakes up at night due to the pain , give him some time and allow him to comfort himself and go back to sleep by himself before you jump in.
Even after a few minutes if you feel your baby is getting slightly restless and is about to start crying then gently start patting him, cuddle him and make him feel safe and secure and comfortable.
If it still does not work then you can start the teething remedies that I have shared with you.
Now let me tell one important thing- babies are really quick to adapt themselves to a certain pattern. Once they get used to this night waking habit because of the pain initially, later that will become a habit and will continue to do so even when the discomfort ends.
So avoid this habit, try to make a brief comfort, avoid those extra feeds or those night strolls.
I m sure there is no one better than you who can understand the baby. If you still feel your child is struggling with pain, consult your paediatrician who might want to start you on a dose of acetaminophen or ibuprofen appropriate to the baby’s age and weight.
When to consult a doctor?
- If your baby has a low grade temperature for more than three days
- If the baby has a high fever and is very irritable and cranky
- If the baby has loose runny stools that last for than two bowel movements
- If your baby refuses to fed for more than 3 days.
- If the baby continuously keeps rubbing his cheeks and ear for more than 3-4 days