You’ve survived the newborn phase, waking up every few hours—or more—to feed and soothe your baby and soften his or her adjustment to life outside your womb. Just as you’re enjoying longer stretches of sleep and a more peaceful baby, teething hits. Suddenly, you’re back to dealing with sleepless nights and a fussy baby who can be difficult to soothe.
Teething is challenging for both babies and parents. As they develop teeth, babies can experience discomfort and swelling, which can lead to irritability and fussiness. Your baby’s sleeping and eating patterns might be disrupted as well. He or she might drool excessively, which can lead to a facial rash.
The discomfort, irritability, and other changes associated with teething create a challenging situation for parents. Fortunately, parents can reduce teething symptoms with a number of proven remedies. Discover five ways to soothe your teething baby, and you will enjoy a more peaceful family life, even when your youngest family member is sprouting teeth.
1. Rubber Teethers
Rubber teething toys come in all shapes and sizes, and they are a tried-and-true method to ease the discomfort associated with teething. One teething toy or ring is not necessarily better or more effective than another. Every baby will find a teething toy that he or she likes best. So, you might want to have a few different teething toys on hand to help your baby discover the most effective one.
Teething toys allow babies to put some pressure on their gums, which are often swollen and uncomfortable thanks to the teeth erupting just below the gum line. A soft toy is less effective than a firm one, so opt for a firm rubber teething toy to help soothe your baby’s discomfort. Some teething toys have water in them; you can freeze them to further alleviate the pain associated with teething.
2. Cold Items
The gum discomfort associated with teething can be relieved by cold items as well. If you don’t have a teething toy on hand, give your baby a frozen washcloth. Gnawing on the washcloth will help minimize teething-related pain. You can also rub an ice cube on your baby’s gums, focusing on the area where the tooth is erupting, to ease the pain. Likewise, give your baby a mesh feeder—a small net with a handle attached—with an ice cube or pieces of fruit, such as pear or apple in it. Your baby can gnaw on the cold, soothing item in the feeder without it becoming a choking hazard. Only the liquid and very small pieces will fit through the feeder’s small holes.
3. Pain Reliever
If your baby’s discomfort is not relieved by more natural remedies, a dose of pain reliever (acetaminophen) can do the trick. Always check with your pediatrician before giving your baby any medication, and confirm the dosage if your doctor gives you the OK to soothe teething this way.
Just as your baby uses teething rings and toys to apply pressure to the gums, so can you. While you might not want to spend your day with your finger in your baby’s mouth, you can help relieve teething-related pain with just a little bit of pressure on the gums. Wash your hands thoroughly. Then, use your finger or a wet washcloth to put moderate pressure on your baby’s gums. Chances are, your baby will experience immediate relief. Applying pressure is a good method to use when other soothing techniques do not work.
5. Amber Teething Necklaces
Many parents credit amber teething necklaces with reducing their baby’s teething symptoms. Baltic amber includes 3% to 8% succinic acid, which is an anti-inflammatory. Amber has been used for centuries as a natural pain reliever, and some parents are turning to amber necklaces made especially for babies to help ease their teething symptoms. This natural pain relief has no side effects, so it’s a risk-free alternative. Do not let your baby wear an amber teething necklace when he or she is unattended.
Guest post contributed by Robert Anders, for Invisalign in Manhattan – Recognized as a Top 1% Invisalign practice every year since 2003.