Teething Do’s and Don’ts Every New Mom Should Know About
Is your baby fussy and gnawing on whatever object he can get his hands on? He could be teething! First time moms, don’t panic, we at Baby Care Weekly got you covered. In this article, we will guide you through baby’s teething process and what every new mom or first time parents should know about it.
What is Teething?
Teething happens when baby’s first set of teeth start to emerge from his or her gums. This usually happens when baby is about six months old but it can start any time between the ages of three months to 12 months. When baby reaches three years old, he or she will have a complete set of 20 primary teeth.
Here’s an image showing the general age that babies grow and lose their different primary teeth.
Signs and Symptoms of Teething
No parent wants to see their child in excruciating pain. Teething can be tricky for new moms because babies experience it differently. Some babies will drool excessively when their teeth grows out while others will not show any obvious signs.
The important thing is you be on the lookout for any changes that baby experiences and be prepared to find ways to help soothe any unpleasant sensations that accompany these changes.
The following are some common signs of teething:
- Red, swollen gums
As baby’s first teeth begin to grow out can cause the gums to look red, swollen and, in some instances, bruised. If you look into baby’s mouth long enough you’ll see the gums bulging with the small hint of the emerging tooth.
- Drooling excessively
Teething will stimulate baby to drool excessively but it’s normal for baby to drool so this does not automatically signify teething. Make sure to look out for other signs and constantly check if baby’s clothes are soggy so you can change it to clean ones. Use safe silicone bibs to protect baby’s clothes and skin from drool and other mess.
Baby’s skin can become irritated if it comes into contact with drool. When baby drools excessively because of teething, the spittle could drip into baby’s chin, mouth and neck and cause rashes. Make sure to wipe baby’s spittle off regularly. You can also apply baby-safe lotion to moisturize and create a layer to protect baby’s skin.
- Chewing constantly
The painful sensation caused by the growing tooth could drive baby to constant chew and chomp on whatever is within reach. Teething babies love to chew because the counter pressure that results from gnawing offers quick pain relief. This is could also be baby’s own response to the unfamiliar sensation inside his or her mouth.
- Fussiness and irritability
Notice any changes in baby’s temperament? The pain and unfamiliar discomfort caused by teething can cause baby to become irritable and fussy. If baby is acting particularly restless, tugging at his or her ears and rubbing cheeks, this could be a sign of teething.
- Changes in sleeping patterns
All the unfamiliar things and sensations happening during teething can affect the quality of baby’s sleep. Observe baby’s sleeping pattern for any changes such as restlessness at night and constantly waking up for no obvious reasons.
- Changes in eating habits
Teething may also affect baby’s eating habits in different ways. Some babies may refuse to feed because their gums become too sensitive. Other babies find relief from the counter pressure that results from gnawing something so they might feed more than usual.
Note: Some of these signs could mean that baby is sick. Contact baby’s doctor if symptoms are severe or persistent.
How to Relieve Baby’s Teething Pain?
Teething can be painful and unfamiliar to baby so it is important for you to be on the lookout for symptoms that are causing discomfort. Here are some of the things you can do to relieve the pain that results from teething:
- Let baby chew on a teething ring
Teething rings offer an effective and safe solution for teething babies who can’t stop chewing on things. Some mommies recommend putting the teething ring on the fridge for a few minutes because the cool sensation can give added comfort to painful gums. Do not leave the teething ring too long inside the fridge though because frozen rings will only worsen baby’s pain.
- Gently rub baby’s gums
You can also soothe baby’s sore gums by gently rubbing with your clean finger. Instead of your finger, you can also a small, clean and cold washcloth to massage baby’s gums.
- Apply baby-safe teething gel
Teething gels work as both anesthesia and antiseptic. Use a clean finger or cotton pad to apply a tiny amount gently on baby’s gums to soothe pain and prevent infection. Make sure to use teething gels especially formulated for babies. Consult your doctor for the proper use and dosage.
Teething Do’s and Don’ts:
Here are some additional teething do’s and don’ts that first time parents should keep in mind:
- Do keep a watchful eye on baby as he or she might try to bite different objects.
- Do make sure the teething rings or toys you give to baby are safe, BPA-free and made from non-toxic materials.
- Do keep a clean washcloth around to wipe baby regularly and prevent rashes.
- Do use silicone baby bibs to protect baby’s skin and clothes from drool and other messes. Silicone bibs are easier to maintain and clean than regular cloth bibs.
- Do be careful when using over-the-counter pain relievers and treatments as some of these may not be appropriate for very young children. Consult your doctor when thinking of getting any medication for your child.
- Read instructions on pain relievers and other medications prescribed by your doctor.
- Don’t use pain-relieving medication for babies younger than four months. Always consult your doctor when thinking of getting medication of any kind.
- Don’t give small toys or objects to baby because he or she can choke on these.
- Don’t disregard severe symptoms like fever that lasts longer than a couple of days. A persistent fever that is higher than 100.4 degree F should be evaluated by a doctor.
- Don’t use amber teething necklaces. The therapeutic claims of these accessories are not yet scientifically proven and they pose a strangulation and choking risk.
Got teething stories and tips? We’d love to hear them!
Here’s a video of babies doing funny stuff to relieve your teething stress!