Babies are so cute…except when they cry for an hour straight in the middle of the night. If your new one has a case of the cranky pants, teething may be the culprit. Here’s some advice on how to soothe aching gums so baby (and you) can get some shut eye.
Why it hurts
The baby’s new teeth are getting ready to push through his gums, creating potential tenderness and swelling. While some babies endure this phase without blinking an eyelash, others get irritable and fussy. They good news is once those little white caps become visible, the uncomfortable part is done.
How babies react
Drooling, biting, and keeping their parents awake often appear on the list of teething symptoms. The drool is a good thing – saliva is produced in excess during teething to moisten the gums and reduce inflammation. Biting eases the pain, creating counterpressure against those teeth poking just beneath the surface. And crying, well – it just comes with the territory.
What you can do
Keep a soft, cotton washcloth on hand to wipe baby’s drool. This will help prevent rashes from forming around the baby’s mouth and neck as a result of having consistently damp skin. Be prepared to wipe all day! Raising the baby’s head with a crib wedge will help prevent gagging when excess saliva enters the back of the baby’s throat during naps or bedtime.
Gently rubbing the baby’s gums may ease discomfort, but when you need your fingers back, cool teethers are soothing, too. Try running cold water over a washcloth or popping a rubber teether into the fridge before giving them to baby. Keep in mind that liquid-filled teething rings may spring a leak, and chilled carrots or cucumbers may break off in parts and pose a choking hazard, so be sure to keep an eye on your little one when they’re gnawing away. Exposure to excessive cold from frozen teething rings is not advisable, either.
When there’s a fever
Check for other symptoms, especially if it’s a temperature of more than 102 F. The fever may not necessarily be associated with teething and could indicate something else, such as a virus. In cases where the baby seems to be in a lot of pain and having trouble sleeping, it may be advisable to administer a dose of Infant’s Tylenol.
Hang in there – teething won’t last forever, and afterward, the baby’s new, toothy smile will be irresistibly cute! Before you know it, you’ll be calling upon the Tooth Fairy and watching even bigger teeth emerge.