Teething Hacks for Tender Gums
It’s usually not too hard to tell when your baby is teething. Aside from general irritability and bouts of crying, infants cutting their first teeth tend to chew on their hands, drool, and have bright red cheeks. You may also notice a runny nose, mild fever, and diaper rash. It’s not surprising that your baby is feeling out of sorts. Their new crowns are cutting through soft tissue, and that hurts!
Teething usually starts between 6 and 8 months, with the emersion of the four lower incisors. Teeth always come in groups of four, and at 8-10 months you’ll see the upper incisors. Those are followed every few months by the first molars, eye teeth, and finally the second molars. The whole painful process should be over when your baby is around two-and-a-half.
In general, cold and hard objects help with teething, but all babies are different. You’ll have to use trial and error to see what works best, but these hacks can all provide a little relief and soothe your baby’s aching gums.
Babies love to chew on the care tags attached to towels and blankets. They’re so popular that you can even buy sensory blankets completely lined with textured tags. When babies are teething, chewing on a tag seems to soothe their gums, as does the soft feel of the soft fabric against their cheeks. Moon and Baby blankets and towels are purposely made with extra long tags, and the organic cotton and bamboo materials are completely safe for your little chewer.
Soak a washcloth in cold water, wring it out, then place it in the freezer in a sealed plastic bag. The cold will help to numb the pain and provide a welcome distraction. Just make sure the cloth is made from soft organic materials, a good rule for anything that’s going into your baby’s mouth.
If your baby uses a pacifier, turn it into a milky popsicle. Half-fill an ice-cube holder with milk (or breastmilk) and slot in the pacifier. Once frozen, you can give the treat to your baby for icy relief. You might want to make several at a time as babies really seem to love this one.
Rub their Gums
Putting gentle pressure on your baby’s gums can help relieve the pain of teething. Most babies love chewing on other people’s fingers and will appreciate a gum massage. Using a soft cloth will help to remove bacteria and food that can become lodged in the abrasions around the budding teeth.
This herbal tea has long been praised for its myriad health benefits and is used for everything from boosting the immune system to managing diabetes. Many parents swear by the calming effect it has on teething babies, particularly at bedtime. Use the tea in your frozen washcloth, or substitute for the milk in your pacifier popsicles. You can also dip the corner of a cloth is a cup of cold chamomile tea and rub it directly on your baby gums.
Teething Rings and Necklaces
There is a host of products specifically designed to comfort teething babies, from plastic rings to wooden necklaces. All are guided by the same principle that babies want to chew on something that’s hard, cold, or preferably both. Some are designed to be refrigerated, while others rely on the magical powers of natural substances like amber or elder wood. Regardless of which teething aid you choose, make sure it’s made entirely of non-toxic materials (no phthalates/BPA), and isn’t a choking hazard (no small parts). Never freeze a teething ring as the hard plastic can hurt your baby’s mouth.
When your baby is in pain, the most effective hack is you. Babies and toddlers want to be held when the discomforts of teething get too much, and a good cuddle may be all they need to be their cheerful selves again. Singing, rocking, and telling stories will both distract your little one, and let them know that they don’t have to go through the misery of teething alone.
The only good thing about teething is that it doesn’t last forever. Before you know it, your child will be waiting for the tooth fairy to arrive and growing a whole new set of permanent, and much less painful, replacements.
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