The first year of your child’s life is no walk in the park. You are learning how to care for your baby. Your baby is learning about what it means to be alive- hunger pangs, exhaustion, discomfort- and the only way for them to solve many of their issues is to fuss or cry. This can be exhausting for both of you as you try to discover what’s bothering your baby and how to fix it. Teething pain can be quite uncomfortable. Additionally, your child will break in 20 new teeth in about 2 years! That’s a lot of discomfort! Here are some tried and true ways to help your child with teething pain, so you both can get through this rough season!
Most babies start breaking in their front teeth around 6 months. However, every baby develops differently and you shouldn’t be concerned if your 4 month old cuts teeth or you 1 year old still doesn’t have teeth. Babies usually experience the most acute discomfort on the day right before a new tooth pops through the gums. However, babies can experience teething discomfort as early as four days before and three days after erupting a new tooth.
Things to Remember
The internet is full of teething remedies. They range in scope from passive to active, organic to pharmaceutical. The most important thing to remember when considering a teething remedy are: it should never be a choking hazard. Obviously, babies are already at risk for choking, so it’s important that anything you give the for the purpose of putting in your mouth is not a choking risk. This means items should be bigger than your fist. Additionally, if you are considering a pharmaceutical remedy, it’s always best to check with your child’s pediatrician.
Cold things help to numb the gums and provide relief from the teething pain. There are many options: teething toys that you freeze, wet frozen washcloths, fruit pops, and refrigerated carrots, among others. Again, keep in mind the size and don’t offer the baby something too small or very slippery, so ice itself is not a good choice.
When strong pressure is pushing up on the gums, ironically, downward pressure can help soothe the discomfort. This is what your baby’s natural instincts instruct them to do- which is why you may find your baby suddenly biting you, toys, or anything else they can get their mouth on. Take your clean finger and gently push down on the red part of your baby’s gums. Massaging in small circles can also help.
Anything that normally brings your child comfort can also help to soothe them in this time. This may include a special blanket, toy, sound, or place. If you’re nursing or offer a pacifier, that may be especially useful. However, teething babies may also bite during nursing. If your little one starts to bite, remove them from the breast immediately and with as little reaction as possible. Look for other ways to soothe the baby to prevent them from developing a bad habit.
There are many gels, teas, and dissolvable pills that can also help with teething pain. Many of them are herb-based medicinals. If you’d like to try out a pharmaceutical intervention, be sure to check with your child’s pediatrician and get their advice.
Bonus Tip: Your child will actually keep getting new molars as they get older. At approximately 6, 12, and 20 your child may experience teething pain again. Many of these remedies will still work well for teething children such as cold washcloths, gentle pressure, and pharmaceuticals.
While in the throws of teething pain, it can be a rough time for parents and baby. Don’t forget to take some time for yourself too, and remember it doesn’t last forever! Good luck!