Be Prepared: Tips to help your teething baby

by Bailey Bouwman

Teething is a milestone that happens at many different ages and stages during your baby (and child’s development). Some kids will just breeze through teething, and others will really struggle. You may notice your child get unusually cranky, miserable, or maybe a tooth will just appear.

What can you do to prepare for teething? And how can you support your little one to have a better, more enjoyable teething experience?

Teething doesn’t just stop at age 2…. Your child will begin to cut molars again around age 5 and may experience the same discomfort and misery. These are things I recently learnt. I was so surprised because I thought we were done!

When will I know if my baby teething?

All people are different, and so are their teething symptoms. You might just wake up to a new tooth, or maybe you’ll experience one of these symptoms

  • Mouthiness – gnawing on everything
  • Decreased appetite.
  • Increased drooling
  • Red & Swollen Gums
  • Maybe a small temperature increase

It can take several days for the tooth to break through, and once erupted, symptoms usually decrease.

My children all experienced eruption cysts with their back molars – large scary looking blisters in the back of their mouth. This can be totally normal experience, but very concerning. After a few dentist visits the teeth eventually erupted on their own.

When Can I Expect My Baby to Develop Teeth?

Typically, teething starts around the age of 6 months. Some children may experience this sooner, and others later. Typically, the first teeth to erupt is the front bottom teeth (lower central incisors) followed by the upper teeth/.

What’s the best way to soothe sore gums and support teething?

Uncomfortable babies can be soothed with simple at-home strategies:

Gentle pressure on the gums

Massage your baby’s gum using a clean finger to ease their discomfort. The pressure on the gums is often soothing to baby.

Providing your baby with something soft and textured to chew on can be advantageous during this time, including silicone teethers of any shape and size. Some children may enjoy chewing on pacifiers like the Sweetie Soother.

Provide something cool

Chilled spoon or teething ring can be very soothing to swollen gums providing relief. You can purchase speciality teethers that can be frozen for this purpose.

If your child is experimenting with solids, opting for a silicone feeding pouch like this one from Haaka with frozen fruit can be a great way to reduce the swelling and provide a cool treat on hot days. Breastmilk can be frozen into cubes and placed in the pouch for a similar experience.

Try an over-the-counter solution.

One of the best pieces of advice I was given from a mama --- if you were cutting a tooth, what would you want right now? Pain relief.

Some children who struggle with teething may warrant infant over-the-counter pain medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen to soothe them during this time.

What about….

There are many recommendations for teething babies that circle the web as recommendations from mothers of the days past. These were tools and techniques parents tried, but over the years increasing research discourages their use:

  • Homeopathic teething tablets & gels – some of these contain belladonna and other ingredients in amounts greater than recommended leading to health concerns.
  • Teething medication with benzocaine or lidocaine as it could be fatal.
  • Teething necklaces, bracelets and anklets pose choking and strangulation risk.

Must-haves for teething babies

  1. Teething toy
  2. Frozen Teether
  3. Bibs for all that drool
  4. Over-the-counter pain medication

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