Babies grow so fast! It seemed like yesterday you first looked at that cute little face welcoming the world with a large, toothless smile.
As the first few months passed, you got used to the causes of your baby’s discomfort and learned how to make things easier for him.
Around six months, a new challenge appears for both you and your baby: teething. Once you notice the first signs of teething, you can start preparing for more or less discomfort. Here is what you need to know about teething.
Signs That Your Baby Is Teething
When your baby is so small that they cannot express themself other than through crying, it might be difficult sometimes to identify the causes of his discomfort, especially if you are a first-time mom. With teething, the signs are quite clear but can be confused for something else and overlooked, especially if the baby doesn’t react too bad or he just has an unusual teething pattern.
You should expect the first tooth to emerge around 6-7 months, but signs can be observed much earlier than that, even at 4 months old. You will likely notice:
- Excessive drooling
- Baby chews everything he can find, sometimes with determination
- Troubled sleep, waking up from sleep crying
- Refusing to eat solids, nursing much more than usual
- Baby puts his hands in his mouth, producing a lot of saliva
- Side-effects of chewing so many objects can be diarrhea and/or little red bumps around the mouth – they are both caused by bacteria entering the system, so make sure you sanitize the objects used for comfort and your baby’s hands
- Red, swollen gums, white tissue observed under the gum (it’s the tooth,) skin tags that seem to hang from the gum, bleeding
Solutions for Teething Discomfort
When it comes to the itchiness and pain caused by teething, there are many solutions you can use to alleviate your baby’s discomfort. Here are some suggestions:
- Breastfeed whenever needed, especially if your baby refuses to eat solids. If your baby is not breastfed, observe how well he feeds on formula and offer foods that help him comfort (see below.)
- Foods that help alleviate pain and discomfort: yogurt popsicles, raw fruit, and vegetables from the fridge, soft foods, spring onions, etc. Avoid foods that can scratch the gums, like toast or breadsticks.
- Over the counter medication and gels for teething – speak with your docotor before using those, because many of them contain lidocaine and other strong anesthetics that might be just a bit too much for your baby.
- Teething toys: rings filled with water that you can put in the fridge, teething collars (wood, silicone, crochet beads,) natural rubber toys like Sophie the Giraffe.
Teething goes well until your baby is 2-3 years old, so eventually, you will become an expert at helping them get over their discomfort. It is good to know that the first teeth cause less pain than the next ones, and canines and molars can be quite a challenge. Make sure you eliminate other causes of discomfort if your baby seems to be struggling a lot and keep them happy and calm through this tough and exciting period of their childhood.