5 Things to Know About Teething
When a baby cuts a new tooth, both baby and parents suffer. The baby-care section in your local drugstore offers over-the-counter products that can ease the pain, but be sure to consult with your paediatrician and follow label directions. There are also various home remedies you can opt for. But whatever you try, the main ingredient will be parental patience during those fussy weeks when the first teeth emerge.
1. Cool the Pain Off
Pick up a water-filled teething ring at the department store or baby store, chill it in the refrigerator, and let your baby chew on it. The cold temperature numbs the gums and brings pain relief. Just don’t put it in the freezer. Objects that have been frozen can cause frostbitten gums.
Babies older than six months can chew on a clean washcloth soaked with cold water.
Wrap an ice cube in a clean cloth, and rub it gently on the baby’s gums. Be sure the ice itself doesn’t touch the gums, and keep it moving so it doesn’t get any spot too cold.
If your baby is just cutting her first tooth, you can use a chilled spoon to help ease the pain. Chill a spoon in the refrigerator (not the freezer) and apply the rounded part of the spoon to your baby’s gums when she’s fussy. As with a cold teething ring, the chilled spoon helps numb the areas that hurt most. But once a tooth comes in, don’t use the cold-spoon approach, as your child could chip a tooth.
2. Cuddle More
Sometimes giving your baby some extra affection can ease teething pain. Give the little one some cuddling time, or carry him around the home to distract him from his discomfort.
Massage her gums with a clean finger for a few minutes. The pressure feels good, and the attention from a parent will be comforting.
3. Check With the Pharmacist
A cherry-flavoured gel called Baby Orajel can help ease teething pain. Another option: Orajel cotton swabs. They have the same non-alcoholic painkilling medicine and flavour as the gel. Any of these products should be used in very small amounts. They not only numb the gums, they also numb the “gag reflex,” which means that swallowed food can be aspirated into the airways without producing the normal gagging or vomiting response.
4. Start a Cleaning Routine
As soon as the teeth emerge, start regular cleaning. Twice a day, rub the gums very gently with a soft toothbrush or clean washcloth. This helps control bacteria in the mouth, which reduces teething irritation as well. Also, it’s important to get your child accustomed to the feeling of having his teeth cleaned.
5. Try Essential Oils
Make a clove-oil gum soother by mixing four drops of clove essential oil with at least 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Before you give it to your baby, try the mixture on your own gums to make sure it’s not too strong. If you feel any irritation, add more vegetable oil. Never use straight clove oil on your baby’s gums; it’s much too strong.
Place one or two drops of chamomile oil on a wet cotton swab and apply to the gums twice a day. The blue oil has a soothing effect on irritated skin and gums.