Is your baby crying more than usual? Is he fussier than normal? It's possible that he's already teething. Teething is the process of teeth erupting through the gums. It's an exciting time for the parents but it's extremely painful and uncomfortable for the baby.
It can begin as early as the baby's second month but it can also start later on at about 6 months of age. Some dentists say that there is a family pattern to teething. Some are early and some are average, while others are late teethers.
The first tooth that usually appears is one of the lower central incisors. As the tooth comes out of the gums, the area may appear red or swollen. Sometimes, there's even a fluid-filled blister that appears over the erupting tooth. The first tooth to erupt is usually the most sensitive and painful. Large molars can also be very uncomfortable.
How To Tell If A Baby Is Teething?
Signs and symptoms vary from one child to another.
The most common sign is irritability. As the tooth emerging from the gum becomes more painful, the fussier baby becomes. He may seem restless and cry all the time.
Drooling is also common since this is stimulated by teething. The extra saliva in the mouth of the baby can also cause an occasional cough or gag. This is nothing to worry about as long as the baby doesn't have any signs of cold or flu.
• Other Signs:
- chin rash
- cheek rubbing
- ear pulling
- low grade fever
• Cold-like Symptoms
Some babies also have cold-like symptoms such as runny nose and coughing.
You'll also notice that a teething baby would find it hard to sleep. A teething baby would wake up in the middle of the night more often than usual.
So What Do You Do Now?
Soothing teething pain doesn't have to be that difficult.
• Something To Chew On
First, try giving your baby something to chew on. This would help alleviate the pain. You can give teething rings and teething toys that are safe for the baby to chew on. This will help relieve the pressure of the new tooth slicing through the gums. It's good to buy those that are filled with water as you can chill these inside the refrigerator.
A baby can also chew on frozen waffle or bagel. Just make sure that when the food begins to thaw, you take it away to minimize risk of choking.
It would also help to massage or rub the baby's gums with a clean finger or washcloth. Massaging the area very gently can help circulate the blood so that the swelling can go down more quickly.
• Topical Gels
Another way to relieve your fussy baby is with the use of topical gels. This can effectively relieve the pain of teething but only temporarily.
For severe pain, a dose of Tylenol can help but be sure to consult your doctor first before administering any pain relief medication. Use this only as last resort if none of the other tips work and your baby continue to be sleepless at night.