Teething babies usually keep their parents up at night. Drooling, crankiness, and crying can really upset the baby and the parents as well. Teething timings vary for different babies, but babies often begin teething when they’re about six months old (Source). The two bottom front teeth (lower central incisors) appear before the top two front teeth (upper central incisors).
It is very likely for your little one to have his milky teeth appear by the time he has turned three. Girls are known to get their teeth slightly earlier than boys. It is said that baby teething pain worse at night because of the lack of distractions and they start to get upset and fussy because of it. Babies spend all day playing and are busy in other activities which keep them from noticing the pain and their sore gums.
Some babies experience very few or no teething symptoms or discomfort, whereas, for others teething could cause a lot of pain and irritation.
Some of the Teething Symptoms Include:
- Drooling: When your baby starts drooling in large amounts, it is one of the many symptoms of teething.
- Crankiness: Your normally happy baby can get really fussy and cranky during teething, and it could last for a surprisingly long period.
- Coughing: Thick drool in large quantity can be too much for your baby and lead to coughing. If you notice any coughing or gagging, teething is the culprit, not some viral illness or flu.
- Rash: Your baby’s drool can cause a rash on his cheeks, lips, and due to wet clothes and him rubbing and scratching his face the rash can spread towards his chest, hands, and feet.
- Refusing food: During teething, it is normal for your baby’s mouth to get sore, and because of that, he might refuse the bottle or breastfeeding. Don’t give up and keep trying to get him to eat solid food or drink anything.
- Sore gums: Sore gums are a vital symptom of teething. Your baby’s gums get tender and sore because of the potential tooth eruption.
- Chewing on objects: Sore gums cause your baby to want to chew on every object in his sight. Your baby would want to get his gums on everything that he might think could help reduce the irritation in his gums.
Some babies suffer from high fevers and diarrhea, but researchers today say that these symptoms have nothing to do with teething and in such cases, you should consult your doctor.
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How to soothe a teething baby?
If your teething baby is uncomfortable and irritated and you’re wondering how to soothe teething baby, some old home remedies for teething are listed below for help.
1- Rub your baby’s gums:
You can rub your baby’s gums using a clean finger or moistened gauze pad. The pressure that these things offer eases your baby’s pain and discomfort.
2- Use something for a cooling effect:
You can use a cold washcloth, spoon, chilled food, or a chilled teething ring to soothe your baby’s irritating gums.
3- Give your baby solid food
If your baby eats solid food, you can offer him something for gnawing, such as a peeled and chilled carrot. Don’t forget to keep an eye on your baby, in case a piece breaks off; it could be a choking hazard.
4- Wipe off the drool
Babies constantly drool during the teething process, and teething rings, fingers, or other things in the baby’s mouth produce more saliva. To keep your baby’s skin clean and free from irritation, use a clean cloth to wipe off the drool from your baby’s chin. Applying water-based moisturizing products can also keep your baby’s skin irritation-free.
5- Ginger root
If you’re wondering how to soothe teething baby, you can peel a piece of ginger and rub it on your baby’s sore gums for a minute. The ginger helps relieve the pain and swelling. You can do this throughout the day if your baby has no problem with its flavor.
6- Chamomile Tea
Chamomile tea contains soothing anti-inflammatory agents, which can be good for your baby’s tender gums and the answer to your question of how to soothe baby teething. You can soak a washcloth into the tea and chill it in the refrigerator before rubbing your baby’s gums with it. If your baby doesn’t like the flavor, you can add some applesauce into it.
7- Teething biscuits
You can use homemade teething biscuits or get them from the market. The thick texture of the biscuit is excellent for their chewing cravings, and when the saliva breaks down the biscuit, it’s no longer a choking hazard.
Hand your teething baby a soft-bristled toothbrush to ease his pain. Chewing on the bristles will soothe his irritating sore gums. Do this only when you’re there to supervise your baby.
Massage your baby’s face, gums, forehead, and jaw to take some of his gnawing pain away. He might not like it at first, but he will grow to love and enjoy it. Massage has turned out to be an excellent remedy on how to soothe a teething baby to sleep.
You can try acetaminophen (Tylenol, etc.) or ibuprofen (Advil, Children’s Motrin) if your baby gets really cranky. It is recommended to avoid homeopathic teething medication because they contain the pain reliever benzocaine or lidocaine, which can be very harmful and sometimes fatal for your baby.
Sometimes the biggest comfort for the baby is getting a lot of hugs and cuddle time with mommy. Make sure that your baby gets to have a relaxing cuddling time and a gentle rocking routine could be the answer to your question of how to help teething baby sleep.
Should I call the doctor?
There is generally no need to call a doctor as teething can be handled at home. You can contact the doctor if your baby is experiencing a fever or any other symptoms of illnesses that are unrelated to his teething.
Should I use a teething gel?
Teething gels contain a mild anesthetic and an antiseptic which help ease the pain and prevent any potential infections. You can rub a small amount of the gel on sore gums by using a clean finger or a cotton wool pad to numb your baby’s irritating gums, but this will only last for a short time. Gels are washed away quickly because of the baby’s tongue and saliva.
If you’re going to buy a teething gel, opt for the sugar-free one that is particularly made for babies. Sugar causes the teeth to decay, and no parent would want their baby’s emerging tooth buds covered in sugar.
Teething sometimes causes a rash to appear on your baby’s skin characterized by red patches of skin and tiny, raised bumps. It makes your baby’s skin look chapped and dry. Some people mistake this rash as eczema (which is another skin condition and very common in children).
The teething rash usually appears around your baby’s mouth, particularly around lips and cheeks. However, sometimes it can spread towards the baby’s chest, hands, and feet.
What causes a Teething Rash?
Drooling! Your baby’s drool is what causes this rash. Our saliva has multiple enzymes in it, which help in digestion (Source). These enzymes break down food so that our body can digest it easily. The salivary glands start to develop during your baby’s first year. Since babies don’t know how to swallow saliva, it usually flows out of their mouths as drool.
As your baby starts teething, these glands are triggered to start producing more saliva, and with every tooth eruption from the gum-line, the saliva production is stimulated. When the saliva comes into contact with the baby’s skin, the enzymes in it cause your baby’s skin to irritate, resulting in a rash. Babies sometimes transfer rashes to other parts of their skin when they rub irritated areas.
If your baby is showing no signs of teething, but there is evidence of rash on his body, you need to contact your doctor and determine what’s causing it.
Remedies that you should avoid
1. Baltic Amber Necklace
Despite their popularity, it is recommended to avoid the use of Baltic Amber necklaces because they are a choking hazard. In some parts of Europe, babies wear amber necklaces, bracelets, or anklets that are believed to ease the baby’s teething pain. It is said that the amber releases a small amount of pain-relieving oil onto the baby’s skin which soothes him throughout the teething process. However, wearing any jewelry can be a strangling hazard, or your baby can choke if he accidentally swallows a bead.
2. Essential Oils
Despite their benefit, putting essentials oils in your baby’s mouth is not safe. Doctors do not recommend to rub oil on your baby’s gums because oil can make your baby sick.
Moms in the past have used whiskey to ease their baby’s teething pain. Your grandma might try to suggest this remedy for your teething baby but it’s better if you tell her that alcohol, even in the smallest amount, is not healthy for children.
Belladonna is obtained from the sometimes deadly nightshade plant, and it is used to make homeopathic teething medicine. Sometimes these medicines can cause seizures and even deaths. Keep in mind the side effects of belladonna, which include blurred vision, hallucinations, fast heartbeat, coma, and death.
Teething can be very painful and upsetting for you and your baby, but don’t forget that it’s only temporary. Soon your child will have his adorable milky teeth allowing him to be more active and try out more foods. Teething pain can be very intense, but through different remedies, you can make this pain bearable for him and help him get through this uncomfortable phase. You’d have to try quite a few remedies to find the one that works for you and your child.