8 Tips to Survive Teething

Having a baby means that you’ll get to enjoy countless milestones. As they grow from a newborn to a baby and a baby into a toddler, you’ll notice their personality begins to shine and evolve as they explore more of the world around them. While most of these milestones are exciting and happy, there’s one that every parent dreads. Teething can cause a lot of discomfort to your baby and therefore, emotional distress for parents. No parent ever wants to see their child in pain, which is why we do everything we can to help ease their discomfort and make sure they’re safe. To help you along the way, here are 8 tips to survive teething.

When do Babies Start Teething?

Babies typically begin teething around 6 months old, but every baby is different. Some go through that initial teething process at 3 months, while other babies don’t see their first pearly white until after they’ve celebrated their first birthday. This isn’t cause for concern—it’s normal for milestones and physical developments to vary between people of all ages.

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While teething begins at different times for different children, the order that baby teeth begin to come in is fairly consistent. They begin in the middle with the central incisors (top then bottom) and then work their way outward. The pattern tends to be as follows: central incisors, lateral incisors, first molars, canines, second molars. If your baby’s teeth come in out of this order, don’t worry. There are slight variations between children. However, if you notice any signs of problems, it’s best to see your pediatrician or work with a child dentist to check for underlying issues or blockages.

Common Signs and Symptoms of Teething

Teething is a gruesome experience. While you’d think that they simply come straight down and erupt from the gums, they don’t. Instead, they’re constantly twisting and shifting their way into the proper gum placement, which sounds uncomfortable for even the toughest adults. Due to this process, teething is associated with a number of signs and symptoms.

  • Drooling
  • Teething Rash
  • Coughing
  • Gagging
  • Biting
  • Crying
  • Irritability
  • Refusal to Eat
  • night walking
  • Ear Pulling
  • Cheek Rubbing
  • Gum Hematoma

While children who are teething often pull their ears because the pain from eruption can be felt in other areas of their bodies, it’s also a sign of an ear infection. If you notice that it continues, it’s best to see your pediatrician.

Symptoms are different for each baby. Some lucky children go through the teething process with no symptoms, while others may experience weeks of pain and discomfort. If you’re worried, see your doctor to rule out any underlying problems. Otherwise, do everything you can to help alleviate their discomfort.

8 Tips to Survive Teething

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While you won’t be in any physical pain during the teething phase, you’ll likely experience emotional distress from watching your baby’s discomfort. To help alleviate this discomfort and remedy the pain or pressure associated with teething, here are some great remedies to utilize.

  1. Teething Toys

    Thanks to centuries of parents trying to relieve teething discomfort, there are a lot of options for effective teething toys. They allow babies to chew on a safe material that provides counter-pressure. This counter-pressure helps to relieve feelings of aching or discomfort from erupting teeth. Get a few teething toys and see which ones your baby prefers.

     

  2. Cold Temperatures

    Cold temperatures can help to alleviate inflammation and ease the pain of incoming teeth. There are plenty of options for refrigerated teething toys, but you don’t have to buy something fancy to get the job done. A simple washcloth that’s been wetted and stored in the refrigerator for a few hours can do wonders for your baby’s pain levels. Just avoid putting toys and washcloths in the freezer as they can become too hard.

    If your baby has started eating solid foods and you’ve already introduced fruits or yogurts, you can make a few refrigerated snacks to help. Avoid using cold food as a primary source of alleviation, however, as too much sugar can cause weakened enamel in the erupting tooth.

     

  3. Breastmilk Ice Treats

    To avoid any problems with weakened enamel, or if you haven’t yet introduced solid foods to your baby, try breastmilk ice treats. You can make ice lollypops using trays or simple ice cubes wrapped in a mesh bag. This is a great alternative to cold snacks that continue to deliver essential vitamins and nutrients to your baby.

     

  4. Try to Keep a Regular Sleep Schedule

    Teething is going to make it harder for your baby to fall asleep and therefore many children fall into sleep regression. To help your child stay on their regular sleep schedule, talk to your doctor about using pain relievers. This will help alleviate discomfort enough for your baby to rest.

     

  5. Pain Relievers

    With that being said, if pain relievers work, they should only be used sparingly and according to any dosing instructions on the package. Always talk to your doctor prior to giving your child any medication, especially if you’re unsure as to whether it’s safe. Typically, younger children can only take Infant Tylenol and children over 6 months can take Children’s Motrin. Never give your baby any adult medication and again, if you aren’t sure, always ask for clarification.

     

  6. Massage the Gums

    One thing that may work well to help alleviate discomfort associated with teething is to give your baby a small gum massage. The pressure can help to combat any pain and ease discomfort. Using a clean finger or a small piece of wet gauze, gently rub your baby’s gums where the tooth is coming in. Doing this consistently throughout the day is a great way to bring some relief and can even help the tooth break through the skin.

     

  7. Reduce Drool Rash

    Drooling is a very prominent symptom of teething as the discomfort can stimulate the salivatory glands. While drool itself isn’t necessarily a bad thing, if it’s not cleaned up it can lead to rash developments. Make sure that you protect your baby’s chin by keeping it dry and applying a mild ointment when you can. This will create a protective layer that can help mitigate the formation of a rash.

     

  8. Don’t Skip Feedings

Teething babies are often in so much discomfort that they lose interest in feedings. Try to keep your feeding schedules by offering a cold treat right before the bottle. The cold will help to mildly numb the pain and reduce inflammation so that your baby can eat. Afterwards, give them a teething toy to use. If your baby won’t eat, talk to your doctor about how you can avoid problems with malnutrition or weight loss.

Unfortunately, there are a few things circulating the Internet that claim to be both safe and effective. They are not safe and while they may “work,” they should never be used to sooth your teething baby. Avoid all numbing agents, including topical agents or over-the-counter teething gels, that claim to work. The FDA has stated that these can put your baby at risk for reduced oxygen levels in the blood. Active ingredients may also lead to problems breathing and seizures. Amber teething necklaces should be avoided as they pose a dangerous choking hazard to young children.

When to Call Your Doctor

While teething will inevitably bring discomfort, some parents have noticed that their children experience a low-grade fever and even diarrhea during the process. The connection between the two is unclear—and it is likely due to waning immunity from decreased breastmilk—but an ongoing fever is a reason to see your doctor. If your baby has a low-grade fever for over three days or if the fever is high, see your doctor. This is especially important if you notice any other symptoms and ongoing problems with digestion. If you notice any signs of an ear infection, schedule an appointment with your pediatrician.

Throughout the teething process, many moms begin to shy away from breastfeeding. While this is understandable, as nursing with teeth can be quite painful, it doesn’t mean you have to stop giving your baby breastmilk. By utilizing a breast pump and bottle feeding, you can continue to strengthen your baby’s immune system during this time. To find a free, insurance covered breast pump that fits your lifestyle, check out the wide selection at Byram Healthcare today.