Whenever your baby cries, it tears at your heart strings. What do they need? Are they hungry? Do they require a diaper change? Maybe they’re just lonely?
There’s another possibility: your baby could be teething. If your child is ~6 months old, they might have sore gums from their soon-to-emerge teeth. As a parent, what can you do to ease their pain?
It’s a blessing that we’ve all forgotten how it felt to teethe. Can you imagine the discomfort of feeling your teeth grow through your gums? Needless to say, your poor baby is feeling pretty uncomfortable right about now. We’ve put together a few tips to make the teething process a little easier:
Signs of Teething
Since your baby can’t speak, it’s hard to know what’s bothering them. How do you know if they’re teething? These symptoms all point to the start of the teething process:
- Crankiness, fussiness, or irritability
- Red and swollen gums
- Chewing and biting objects
- Less of an appetite
If you notice any/all of these symptoms, your baby is probably dealing with some discomfort from their gums. What can you do to help them manage it?
Teething Tips to Try
Hearing your baby cry is always a little concerning, no matter how exhausted you might feel. You want to do anything you can to help them feel relaxed. Try these quick tips to help your baby feel a little better:
Whenever a joint is inflamed, using a cold compress offers immediate relief. You can apply the same principle when treating sore gums. First, put a spoon in the fridge (not the freezer). Then, press it gently against your baby’s gums. Make sure to hold it there yourself; leaving them unattended with a spoon is a choking hazard.
If your child is receptive to it, you can try to lightly rub their gums to relieve pain. Start by washing your hands thoroughly. Then, apply your finger or knuckle to your baby’s gum, and begin to gently massage it. Alternatively, you can rub their gums with a soft washcloth.
Talk to a pediatrician about medicine
Is your child dealing with severe pain? It might be worth asking your child’s doctor about. Whenever you’re giving medicine to a child, make sure to choose one that’s designed for babies. Always double-check the dosage before giving it to your baby.
If your baby doesn’t mind eating cold food, the cooler temperature can help to soothe their gums. Try to puree vegetables or fruits, and then store them in the fridge before serving them.
Tricks to Avoid
Some of the advice you find online should be taken with a grain of salt—especially when a young child is involved.
You might find some recommendations for “teething jewelry”: Amber necklaces are used because the succinic acid in the amber is a natural pain reliever. But parents be warned: teething jewelry poses a choking hazard. If you give your baby any object to help with teething, make sure to monitor them at all times.
Once your baby starts teething, it’s a sign that they should start seeing the dentist. It’s only a matter of time before their first tooth emerges.
Want to learn more about taking care of your teeth? At EK Dental, our Winnipeg dentists are passionate about educating patients on their oral health. Check out our other blogs to read more about dental care!