Welcoming a new addition to the family is a moment of pure joy for parents, but as your little one grows, new milestones and challenges arise. One such milestone that often comes with its fair share of excitement and anxiety is your baby’s teething journey. Teething marks a significant developmental stage in your child’s life as those first tiny teeth start to emerge, but it can also be accompanied by discomfort and sleepless nights.
In this article, we will provide you with essential tips and valuable information to help you confidently navigate this teething phase. From recognizing the signs of teething to offering soothing remedies and addressing potential concerns, we aim to empower you to provide the best possible care for your teething baby.
Recognizing the Signs of Teething
Babies usually start teething around 6 months old. Some babies show signs of their first tooth at four months years old and others don’t show any signs until after 12 months old. There are also very rare cases of babies being born with their first teeth but most babies will develop a complete milk teeth denture by the time they are three years old.
As your baby’s teeth begin to push through the gums, they may exhibit certain signs that indicate teething is underway. These can include increased drooling, irritability, chewing on objects, swollen or tender gums, disrupted sleep patterns, touching their face constantly, pulling on their ear, a slight increase in body temperature, a rash of the face, flush on the cheek on the side of the face where the tooth is coming out. Understanding these signs can help you differentiate between teething discomfort and other possible causes, enabling you to provide the appropriate support.
If you are still breastfeeding your baby when they start this process, try to offer them a chewing toy sometime before their feeding time and you can always use your finger before feeding to check if they are in the mood of latching or chewing.
Soothing Techniques and Remedies
There are various safe and effective methods to alleviate your baby’s teething discomfort. One popular approach is providing a clean and chilled teething ring or a damp washcloth for them to gnaw on. The gentle pressure and coolness can help soothe sore gums. Additionally, using your clean finger to massage your baby’s gums can provide temporary relief. It’s important to avoid using teething gels that contain benzocaine or other numbing agents, as they can be harmful to infants.
Every baby is different, so what might work for your friend’s baby might not always work in the same way for your baby and that is ok. Some other ideas to try are:
- Try to put a pacifier or baby ring in the fridge, cold yet not frozen.
- You can give them a sippy cup with cool water, only if the baby is older than 6 months.
- You can cut fruit and veggies, like melon for your baby to chew on.
- Give your baby a cool metal spoon for them to suck on.
- A warm bath can help your child relax and manage the uneasiness in a better way.
- If the discomfort continues, and you get the green light from their pediatrician, you can provide your child with baby acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
If all fails, remember that during this period of changes and restlessness for your baby, there is no better remedy than receiving your love and attention, so don’t be shy on turn on the snuggles and cuddles with your child. Nothing is more healing and reassuring as love, especially coming from their main take caregivers.
Maintaining Good Oral Hygiene
Even before the first tooth emerges, it’s crucial to establish good oral hygiene practices; in fact, it is recommended for parents to bring their baby to the Pediatric Dentist while breastfeeding – you can read more about the benefits of doing so here. Wiping your baby’s gums with a clean, damp cloth after feeding can help remove bacteria and prevent gum irritation. Once the first tooth appears, you can start using a soft-bristled infant toothbrush with a rice grain-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. Regular brushing, even with just one tooth, helps instill healthy habits and protects emerging teeth from decay.
If you implement games and music while you do these practices you can create a beautiful and fun family/play time for your kid, making dental care something that is part of their routine in an enjoyable way.
Common Concerns and When to Seek Professional Advice
Teething is a natural process, but it’s common for parents to have concerns along the way. One frequent worry is the timing of tooth eruption. Remember, every child is unique, and the order and pace of tooth eruption can vary. However, if your baby hasn’t shown any signs of teething by their first birthday, it’s advisable to consult a pediatric dentist. Similarly, if you notice any severe symptoms like a high fever or diarrhea, it’s essential to seek professional advice to rule out other potential causes.
If you see any signs of bleeding on your baby’s gums, we alert you to get an appointment with a pediatric dentist as soon as possible to make sure the bleeding is not a symptom of gum disease or any other dental issue. Likewise, if your baby’s temperature continues for three days in a row or this fever is accompanied by other symptoms, like not wanting to feed or constant diarrhea, you should visit your pediatrician to make sure there is not an ear infection, or a bacterial or viral issue happening besides the teething.
By being well-informed about the teething process and armed with practical strategies, you can help ease your baby’s discomfort and make the teething journey a smoother one for both of you. Remember, patience, love, and consistent care are key during this phase. Celebrate each new tooth as a sign of growth and embrace the beautiful smile that awaits your little one at the end of this teething adventure.