When your baby starts teething, you might see a number of symptoms including an increase in drooling and chewing, grizzles turning to crying, and some very red cheeks. So how can you soothe his unhappiness?
* Simply rub your clean finger over your baby’s sore gums to numb the pain temporarily. It really can help and is useful to know if you’re out and about with nothing else to help you.
* Give your baby something to gnaw between his throbbing gums – it feels soothing for him. Your baby will probably search out something himself to chew on, but try a peeled raw carrot (although avoid carrots once the teeth actually start to come through as a bitten off lump could be a potential choking hazard).
* Anything cold will soothe sore gums. Keep a teething ring in the fridge, or a stock of frozen flannels to hand, partly defrosting them before passing to your baby. Also try putting chilled water in his bottle.
* Teething gels or powders (sugar-free versions) numb your baby’s gums, and have been used by mums for years. Always follow the instructions, and don’t use more than six times a day. Be careful if you breastfeed – a baby with a numb mouth may not be able to feed properly.
* Infant paracetamol should be used as a last resort and generally not given to babies under 3 months old. Luckily most teething babies are beyond this limit. Just remember to check that it’s teething making your baby miserable and not something else.
* Cuddles! Your loving, warm cuddle is reassuring and soothing – it can be the miracle solution your baby’s looking for.
Why does teething hurt?
“Teething pain is caused by pressure on the gum from the tooth that’s coming through. You may notice your child’s gum is red and tender, or one cheek may be flushed,” says Annette Maloney, health visitor.
“To ease the pain, offer a cooled (not frozen) teething ring to chew on. This helps the tooth cut through and relieves swelling and tenderness.”
She adds, “Sugar-free teething gel or granules gently massaged onto the gum will take away some of the discomfort. If your baby’s distressed, an oral painkiller such as infant paracetamol will help.”
“Teething powder worked for us”
“If Max was grizzly, all I had to do was give him some teething powders. They worked instantly. I told all my friends, who couldn’t believe the difference once they tried them.”
Gillian, 38, mum to Leon, 4, and Max, 22 months
“Our daughter didn’t take to teething toys”
“Lola has finally sprouted two front teeth two months after she first started teething and following a terrible bout of sleepless nights. We tried lots of solutions, but found she prefers to teethe on my chin rather than use the teething toys we bought.”
Deborah, 32, mum to Lola, 8 months
“When my youngest started teething, sleep went out the window”
“Paulie started teething around 2 months old. It began with red cheeks, dribbling, a runny nose and a bit of an upset tummy. He went from being extremely contented to incredibly needy, screaming in pain and wanting to be held all the time.
Samantha, 30, mum to William, 8, David, 2, and Paulie, 7 months