(StatePoint) Caring for a baby can be very rewarding. It can also be exhausting. Along with those amazing first-year milestones can arise teething misery that disrupts the entire household.
Having a better understanding of what to expect and some smart strategies for relieving your baby’s discomfort can make the process smoother.
What to Expect
While most babies teethe around six months, that first tooth can appear any time between three and 14 months. Teeth typically come in pairs, starting with the bottom front two, followed by the top front two. Your baby’s primary pearly whites should be completely in by age 3.
Many babies show early signs when a tooth is on the way. In a study published in Pediatrics in 2000, researchers at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation followed 125 children from their 3-month check-up through their first birthday and found that during teething, there was a notable increase in biting, drooling, gum rubbing, sucking, irritability, wakefulness, ear rubbing, facial rash, decreased appetite for solid food and mild temperature.
What to Do About It
While teething can be stressful for child and parents alike, these recommendations can help you naturally ease your baby’s discomfort:
“The pressure of an emerging tooth beneath the gums may be relieved by counter pressure,” says Dr. Ken Redcross, primary care physician and founder of Redcross Concierge. He recommends massaging your baby’s gums with a moistened gauze pad or washcloth.
Teething toys allow your baby to ease discomfort on their own. Firm rubber teething rings are a good choice, as they’re unlikely to break from the pressure of your baby’s chewing.
Contact with cold items can have a soothing effect. Offer cold foods, teething rings and washcloths. Stick with chilled, not frozen items. Extreme cold can actually make matters worse.
Brace yourself for active evenings. According to Dr. Redcross, “When the tooth moves through the bone and gum, it tends to come in stages, with more activity at night, so a baby may be more irritable at bedtime.”
Because teething may cause your baby to drool excessively, it can also be the indirect cause of skin irritation. Dry your baby’s chin regularly. Then, apply soothing calendula cream. Absorbent sheets can help manage the problem overnight and during naps.
For babies 1 month and older, Dr. Redcross recommends Camilia, a plant-based homeopathic medicine from Boiron used to relieve teething symptoms naturally, including painful gums and irritability. These claims are based on traditional homeopathic practice, not accepted medical evidence and are not FDA evaluated. These hygienic liquid doses are pre-measured, easy to use, and small enough to carry anywhere. Made without benzocaine, sweeteners, flavors, dyes and preservatives, parents can use Camilia worry-free. To learn more, as well as download a free teething guide, visit CamiliaTeething.com.
Lastly, Dr. Redcross reminds parents to take care of their own needs during these teething struggles. “Be sure to give yourself breaks. Get as much rest as you can. And don’t be afraid to ask for help,” he says.
Using a mix of these new and tried-and-true teething methods, your entire household can get through the teething process with less stress and more smiles.
Photo Credit: (c) FamVeld / iStock via Getty Images Plus