One of the inevitable experiences that comes with having a baby is teething. It's something that even the most naive expectant parent will have heard about and it seems to affect babies differently. Some will be grotty all day long with it, but they'll sleep through the night, even in it's worst phases. Others will have terrible nights full of tears and for a few, it won't be so bad afterall.
There are lots of signs you can look out for to see if your baby may be teething:
- red cheeks
- excessive drooling
- nappy rash
- loose stools
- rubbing/pulling the ears or cheeks with his/her hands
- biting and excessive chewing on everything
What I learnt very quickly with my first child was that the term 'teething' isn't simply for when the teeth are about to arrive. The whole process can take months. And months! Milo started showing clear signs of teething at 4 months and didn't actually get his first tooth until he was 1 year and 1 week old! He then got 5 in one week! Alfie showed signs a little later, but got his first tooth at 7 months. It's one of those random things!
Whenever your baby starts showing signs of those pesky teeth coming, here are 10 ways to help your baby deal with the teething pains...
- Something cold - the feeling of cold can help sooth sore baby gums. There are a number of teether toys and a few dummys on the market that are specifically designed to put in the freezer for a short time, to then give to the baby for soothing. Alternatively, think about offering cold, soothing foods such as a carrot that has been stored in the freezer for an hour or two, some cold cucumber from the fridge (if appropriate for the age/eating ability of your baby) or frozen fruit in a mesh bag for your baby to bite down on.
- Gum massager - a number of retail outlets sell these little gum massagers that look a bit like a kids toothbrush, only with knobbly bits on the end for baby to chew on. These are the one type of 'teething toy' that both my boys actually enjoy chewing on during teething, so they get a big thumbs up from me.
- Distraction - like with adults, distraction can sometimes be a good method to help deal with the pain of teething. Try and keep your baby entertained with games, playing, singing, whatever works. This may not be easy with a really whiny teether, but will work for some.
- Teething necklace - now, I have never used one of these and I am not totally convinced they work, but I have seen a number of kids wearing them. You never know eh! Traditionally they are made with amber stones or with hazelwood. They can be bought in different varieties and I remember a midwife once mentioning it's worth considering, when looking to buy one, how the necklace is connected (against choking hazard). She recommended getting one with a magnetic connection as the connection is more likely to break, should the necklace get caught on something.
- Freeze that milk! - one for those of you that are breastfeeding. I saw this idea on Pinterest, back when I was pregnant with Alfie and I thought it was a fabulous idea. Freeze a small portion of pumped breast milk in to a mini Popsicle for your baby to suck on. Not only will the cold of the Popsicle sooth the gums, but they'll also be taking in a bit of that yummy mummy milk at the same time!
- Teething gel - I never used this with Milo, but I am with Alfie. There are a few brands selling teething gels to soothe baby gums. If there other options don't work for your little one, this is an alternative.
So there are my top tips for soothing sore, teething baby gums. What has worked for you and your little one? Is there anything you think should be added to the list?
Disclaimer: All content here should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.