Teething is an exciting milestone for your baby. Catching a glimpse of that toothy smile is so heartwarming! But teething can bring some tough times for parents and babies. When your child is cranky and in pain, it’s frustrating not to know how to help.
There are many products out there that claim to solve teething problems, but which ones are safe and effective? We put together our best tips for teething to help you find solutions. There’s also some pretty big warnings for what to avoid!
1. Distraction One of the best ways to keep babies and toddlers happy while teething is to distract them from pain and discomfort. Get out of the house, even if it’s just for a walk. At home, rotate toys to keep things interesting. Small children are fascinated by ordinary objects like kitchen utensils or empty boxes so let them explore. (With supervision, of course!)
2. Refrigerate Keep your child’s straw or sippy cup in the refrigerator. The cold mouthpiece will help soothe inflamed gums. You can also give cooled foods for your child to gnaw. A warning about foods, though: A tiny yet sharp tooth can break off a small bit of food and cause a choking hazard. Always keep a close eye on young children when eating.
3. Freeze Along the same line of refrigerating cups and food, you can make your own cold pack for baby’s sore mouth. Simply roll up a wet washcloth and put it in the freezer. Baby can chew on it to get some relief. Just make sure it isn’t too icy because that can hurt too! The thin, infant washcloths work really well because they don’t hold too much water.
4. Medications Sometimes—especially at night—teething babies need pain relief. Ask your doctor about the correct dosage of Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) or Acetaminophen (Tylenol) for your child. There are many over-the-counter, topical ointments on the market. Be cautious with these as there have been reports of adverse reactions. Talk with your dentist or doctor to get the best recommendations for your child.
5. Teething Toys Many toys for babies are designed to help with teething. But which one will your child actually use? It’s difficult to predict because each child has their own preferences. Some babies crave really hard plastic or wood while others may need a softer silicone or cloth toy. It may also vary depending on which tooth is coming in. Pay attention to what your baby likes to chew (we know of one who chewed on the kitchen cabinets!) and look for something made from a similar material.
6. Massage When babies start teething very early, it can be difficult for them to hold toys and manipulate them in their mouths. You can help by massaging baby’s sore gums. Just watch your fingers on those new, sharp teeth.
All children will have a different reaction to getting their teeth. It can be very overwhelming for new parents who want to help. It addition to discomfort, teething can also cause rashes from the changes in your baby’s saliva. Low grade fevers are also sometimes reported. Try our tips a for relief and talk to your doctor if symptoms persist.