There is nothing more painful to a parent than seeing their infant hurting and not being able to do much to stop it. This especially holds true if this is your first time around. Having your child get their first teeth is one such occasion. When those first teeth begin to erupt it often causes discomfort at the site. Your baby relays this to you by crying. While you can’t stop teething or prevent it, there are several things you can do at home to relieve your baby’s pain and help get him through this phase.
Most babies get their first teeth between four and seven months. In the weeks or days prior to the tooth coming through your baby’s gums he might drool more than usual, have trouble sleeping, and exhibit signs that he is hurting. Some babies also get a low-grade fever. The bottom middle teeth are usually the first to pop out, followed by the top middle two teeth, than the ones on either side of the mouth, both top and bottom. If you press lightly on the area where you think a tooth is getting ready to emerge, it likely feels a bit harder than the surrounding gums.
Soothing the pain
There are many easy and quick methods for alleviating the pain of getting teeth at home. If you’re not prepared for teething and don’t have any of the traditional teething rings sold at baby supply stores, simply make your own. Wet a washcloth and place it in the freezer until it hardens. When your baby is in pain, grab one and let him chew on it. It should last for at least 30 minutes before you need refreeze it. Prepare several washcloths as your baby nears the teething age so you’ll be prepared no matter when it happens.
Some babies feel relief if you lightly rub the gums with your finger or an infant toothbrush. Putting pressure on the area helps relieve the discomfort by massaging the gums. Look for a topical numbing cream that you can dab onto your finger before placing it in your baby’s mouth, but check with his doctor before use to make sure it is safe. If you use this method, always wash your hands well with soap and water to prevent passing any germs to your baby.
Over-the-counter pain medications designed for infants are another option and are particularly good for nighttime. They relieve the pain and let you both get some sleep. Your baby’s pediatrician is a good resource for determining the safe dosage of pain medicine. Write down the time when you give your infant the medication so you can make sure you don’t give him another dose too soon. An added perk of pain medication is that it can also help bring down a fever if your baby has one associated with teething.
Never numb an infant’s gums with alcohol. Even a small amount can make him very sick. The use of bourbon or whiskey is a very old method of treating teething pain and is no longer recommended by doctors. Make sure anyone who cares for your baby knows this to prevent a tragedy.
Teething is never fun, but keeping your baby comfortable is a good way to help you both get through the pain and possibly sleepless nights. Before you know it, your baby will have a mouth full of teeth and teaching him to take good care of them with healthy foods and regular brushings will be your next step.