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.
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 - “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.
Lastly, Dr. Redcross reminds parents, “Be sure to give yourself breaks. Get as much rest as you can. And 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.