As parents, we love to watch our children grow up; we get excited for that first roll over, the first steps, and the first words. But what about the first teeth?
Teething can be one of the hardest things you and your baby will have to go through together. Your little one cannot communicate what they are feeling, and you are desperate to find them relief.
How can you know that it is teething causing them pain, and what can you do to help it?
How to Recognize Teething
Teething is usually accompanied by some pretty obvious symptoms…if you know what you are looking for. Oftentimes, if you are not prepared, teething symptoms can mimic regular baby behavior or even some minor cold symptoms.
Irritability and excessive fussing are a couple of easy signs to miss because they look like normal behavior for a baby, but when those symptoms are accompanied by sleeping troubles, face rubbing, and ear pulling, you may be looking at some teeth soon.
Some of the more obvious signs (unique to teething rather than another baby ailment) include heavy drooling, the desire to chew or suck on everything, and swollen gums.
You may even notice that your baby’s appetite is not what it usually is. Sucking to nurse or drink from a bottle causes more pain to the gums, and the pain just makes them not want to eat as often.
Do not be too quick to run for the Orajel or acetaminophen when your baby starts fussing about teething. Instead, try some natural remedies first.
1 - Teething Tablets
While at first glance teething tablets may not seem “natural,” you can find some that are homeopathic (such as Hyland’s). They use all natural ingredients, working with your baby’s body to help fight the pain.
I had great success with these when my baby was teething. They are super easy to use, as they just melt in your baby’s mouth. It works very quickly and there is no need to worry about choking.
2 - Massage
Your baby’s pain is coming from the tooth pushing against the gums trying to break through. You can help to temporarily relieve that pain and aching by rubbing a clean finger over the gums to stimulate and massage.
3 - Toys
Some great teething toy products on the market today can help relieve your baby’s pain without you having to be the one to massage their gums.
First is the classic teething ring. These are made of hard (but flexible) plastic and are often filled with gel or water so you can chill them to help numb the gums and provide relief.
Teething “rings” do not always come in ring form, though. You can find teething keys and necklaces as well.
One of my favorite products that I used with my baby is the teething bib.
These look like fashionable bibs, made with thick, absorbent cotton to catch drool and protect baby’s clothes.
However, they include a special feature: the bottom usually has a textured plastic part (similar to a teething ring) that baby can put in their mouth to chew on.
4 - Herbs
Try some chamomile tea. It is naturally calming, relaxing the nerves and soothing pain. Just make it very weak and freeze it into ice cubes, which you can then put into little mesh teething bags for your baby to gnaw on.
5 - Distraction
When all else fails, just provide some distraction. If your baby’s attention is occupied, they will not be thinking about their pain as much.
6 - Other Remedies
Of course, there is nothing wrong with using medication (wisely and as directed) if these remedies do not work quickly enough. We all get desperate at times as parents when we see our babies in pain.
Generally, acetaminophen (Tylenol) and Orajel are the most popular go-to’s for teething relief. Always talk to your pediatrician before administering, and check the bottle for age restrictions (some Orajel products are only for older children or adults).
Teething is a tough time for babies and parents alike. Just try these remedies, and remember that this, too, shall pass.
What do you think? Do you have questions or concerns regarding your teething baby? Let us know in the comments below.
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