The first few years of a newborn’s life bring several challenges, some being easier to overcome than others. One such test that can be difficult to bear is the teething stage. During this time, it’s important to know how to help your baby through the teething stage to limit those middle-of-the-night screaming fits that can come your way.
Most children begin teething between the ages of 4 to 7 months. By age 3, the average child will have 20 teeth in total. How can you tell if your child is teething even before you can feel or see the tooth starting to poke through? Symptoms of teething can include increased drooling, a low-grade fever, placing their hands and other objects in their mouths more often to chew on them, and of course, irritability. Some babies will also present with a bit of a face rash at this time. (See the AAP for more information)
A Prolonged Cuddle Session
Before you break out the remedies and comfort objects, it’s important to remember you are your child’s primary source of comfort. Sometimes, all it takes is a cuddle and rocking session for your baby to be at ease. Your warm embrace may distract their mind from the pain of the teeth attempting to poke through their gums for a brief period.
Use Your Clean Fingers and Massage Their Gums
Try to massage their gums if they allow it. Applying gentle pressure to the area can ease the sensation of teeth coming in. Of course, you’ll want to ensure your hands are squeaky clean before putting them in your baby’s mouth. Be sure to use caution as your baby may want to bite down on your fingers!
Try a Refrigerated Teether
Babies love to put their chompers on anything they can find during the teething stage. Fortunately, since most baby’s toys have a powder coating, they are safe to do so. A rubbery, cool teether is the perfect choice, being specifically designed for this purpose.
Almost every parent has a stash of teethers for when this stage begins—it’s one of the most soothing tools you can give them. As enjoyable as the cuddling and massaging sessions are, teethers may provide the same soothing effect and your child may enjoy being able to control the pressure on their gums themselves.
Do not place the teether in the freezer. This is much too cold to be safe for your baby as per the FDA.
Turn to a Pain Reliever
It may be time to give them a pain reliever if you have exhausted all your efforts and your bundle of joy is still in pain. First, consult your child’s pediatrician to ensure you use the appropriate type and dosage before using it. Most doctors will also advise against using teething gels and other such teething medications but a pain reliever may be acceptable from time to time. Again, only your child’s doctor will know what’s recommended for them and their medical history.
Knowing how to help your baby through the teething stage can be a blessing for you and your child. As a parent, you want to do anything within your power to make them feel comfortable; following these strategies is a great way to do that.