If you’re reading this post chances are you’re up all night because your baby is screaming in pain, s/he bites everything s/he sees during the day and s/he’s constantly hanging on your boob.
Your little one is teething and you’re desperately trying to find teething pain remedies that actually work? I hear you sister! My baby has gone through some awful phases during her teething time so I experimented a lot.
In this post I’m going to share some tips on how to bring relief to your little one and I’ll tell you what has worked really well for my daughter.
Teething symptoms and when does it start
Teeth can start to show up between 3 to 12 months of age and will continue to come until about your little one reaches 3 years old (yep I know, that’s a LOT of screaming and crying- God help us all…).
The symptoms include excessive drooling, sensitive red gums, irritability and crying (that is hard to control), chewing on different items, poor appetite, rubbing of cheeks and/ or ears, rashes around the mouth or neck and higher temperature (not necessarily a fever).
The two bottom front teeth are usually the first to appear, the two top front ones come after.
What can you do to help?
Isn’t breastfeeding a good solution for almost anything? Consolation, enhancing immune system, strengthening the mother-baby bond… and yes, relieving the teething pain.
The sucking itself is how babies seem to get some comfort. However, during teething your baby might bite your nipple; if that becomes a problem for you, try to rub your baby’s gum with a clean finger and then offer the breast.
On the other hand, what can also happen is that your little one will reject your breast. Sucking can actually irritate some babies and make the pain worse (it happened to us many times during the night). In this case, try to pump some milk and offer it to your baby in a slow-flow sippy cup.
2. Cold= relief
Cold items are safe and effective way to reduce the teething pain. Chewing on cold things will give your little one a nice, numbing sensation.
You can freeze a damp facecloth for about 20-30 minutes; when it’s cold enough, gently touch your baby’s gums or even let him munch on it for a while. It’s also a good idea to freeze the dummy (soaking it into water before) or water-filled bottle (upside down) and give your baby to chew on the frozen nipple.
American Dental Association recommends chilling a metal spoon in the fridge for a few hours (this worked really well on my daughter).
3. Offer a toothbrush
Chewing on a toothbrush will give your baby’s sore gums a comforting massage. Plus, it will get your little one used to brushing his teeth on a regular basis later on. It’s a win-win!
Babies also love to ‘bite’ on the hard texture of wooden spoons- it gives them the so-wanted pressure against the growing teeth.
4. Massage the gums and the face
Who doesn’t love a little baby spa?:)
This very simple solution often eases the pain in the quickest way. You can use your clean finger to gently massage your little one’s gum.
You could also just give your baby your own knuckle to ‘bite’ (probably only if they don’t have many teeth yet or if you’re resilient to pain!).
Few times a day try to rub your baby’s face, particularly the jaw and cheek area in a circular motion. It should give him some nice relaxation time and it might just hit the right spot.
5. Chamomile tea
Chamomile has been known for centuries as a herbal remedy for different medical conditions.
Although I can’t say for sure this tea really worked on my daughter, chamomile is an ingredient in some natural teething products and many other mums are swearing on it.
You can pour some cool chamomile tea on a spoon or wet a washcloth in the tea (instead of water), then freeze it and offer it to your baby; remember to check if the tea is caffeine-free.
6. Warm bath
This should be treated more as a distraction from the constant discomfort than an actual remedy.
Warm water from the bath will help your little one to relax muscles in the body. If you play with your baby and sing to him during the bath, he should take his mind off the pain.
What can you buy to help?
1. Teething toy
There are so many of them on the market but I especially like this funky monkey (it rhymes, yay!); its ergonomic shape makes it easy to hold for your little one and it’s dishwasher friendly. You can safely put it in the freezer but if you’re looking for something that will bring your baby even more relief when frozen, I advise you to get any teething ring that is filled with water, like this one. Just don’t overdo with the freezing time- the toy may become too hard for your baby to enjoy if you put it for too long.
Another great product is a teething glove that your baby can wear on her little hand. It’s especially great solution for babies whose hand coordination is not fully developed yet- this way they can use it as a traditional teething toy without your help.
This is an awesome little invention where you can put a piece of a fruit or veggie (or any other fresh food) that your baby can chew on. There’s no need to worry about bigger pieces of food getting into your baby’s mouth- that’s why using them is also a safe way to introduce your little one to solid food while they go through weaning and teething phase. They can be dismantled and easily cleaned; you can freeze the silicone (BPA&latex; free) part as well.
This is like a little miracle water! It’s all natural so won’t have any side effects and you can’t really overdose it. Although I found it has a short-time effect, it really helps with relieving the pain within minutes of giving it to your baby. Many other parents also swear by it.
Which products should you avoid?
For your little one’s safety you should avoid:
- Teething medications (and some over-the-counter remedies) which contain benzocaine or lidocaine. These ingredients can damage your baby’s health so make sure you always read the label of any pain relief tablets/gels you’re planning to buy. Better yet, consult it with your GP before offering it to your baby.
- Teething necklaces and bracelets (or any type of wearable teething jewellery). These items pose a chocking hazard, mouth injury and infection. Even though it’s quite popular within parents, it’s better not take the risk and stay away from them.
When should you contact the doctor?
You should normally be able to deal with the teething phase at home. However, you need to contact the GP if your baby seems very uncomfortable or if the teething pain affects the way he eats or drinks.
How can you look after your baby’s first teeth?
Before the first teeth appear, or when they just begin to break through, you should simply use a warm, soft cloth and run it over your baby’s gums. You can also use a wet cotton wool; it’s best to do it twice a day (just like you do it yourself in your daily routine) to remove all the harmful bacteria.
When your baby’s first teeth actually show up, use a small, soft toothbrush for gentle cleaning.
Until your child learns how to spit (at about 3 years of age) it’s better not to use a toothpaste or use just a tiny bit of fluoride toothpasste (no bigger amount than a grain of rice). If your little one swallows too much of the toothpaste he may become sick – so if you want to use it, do it wisely.
That’s all from me for now.
Do you have any hidden tricks or secrets for babies’ teething? Please share it with us and write them in the comments below!
Wishing you less crying and more joy:)
Good luck mamas!