As mamas, we have all been there. And if we haven’t been there yet- we will be before we know it.
A fussy, crying, hard to console baby.
But it doesn’t have to stay that way. Here you’ll find some tips and tricks on how to help your baby when he or she is teething.
When to expect?
Teething is a rather painful and difficult time for your baby. Their first tooth usually appears at around 6 months old ( but can appear sooner or later- every baby is different).
Teething itself can be very different for each child. Some might experience teething at as early as 4 month, and others, like my daughter, as late as at 11 months. If your baby is 10 months old and doesn’t have any teeth yet, it is perfectly fine. You can consider yourself lucky, as with the first tooth new activity is added to daily routine – tooth brushing. If your baby is older than 12 months and you are still waiting for that first tooth to appear, it is recommended to visit your doctor, who will check if everything is fine.
What to expect?
Classic signs of teething include:
- Chewing on objects
- Tender and swollen gums
- Fever up to 38°C
- Problems with nighttime sleeping
A fever higher than 38°C and diarrhea aren’t indications of teething, so if your baby has them – talk to your doctor. If you have any doubts about your baby’s symptoms pay a visit to your doctor so he or she could evaluate the health of your baby. It is always better to be wrong than to miss a ailment,
10 Quick Teething Tips
For all of you busy moms looking for some quick info on teething, the list below has some suggestions on what I think should or shouldn’t be done for a teething baby:
- Don’t use any topical drugs
- Don’t use amber teething necklaces
- Do use cold gel or water teethers
- Do use frozen apple pieces or carrots
- Do use frozen washcloth
- Make frozen breast milk/formula popsicles
- Continue on breastfeeding
- Cuddle your baby
- Avoid or postpone any long trips or vacations
- Postpone vaccination visits if possible
For those of you who always ask “Why?” just continue with me.
Topical drugs for teething
Personally, I’m against all topical drugs because the baby eats it straight after the application. It needs to stay in place for some time to provide relief, but in a baby’s drooling mouth it is washed away instantly. If you use them you might do more harm than good.
Over the counter teething creams and gels usually contain a local anesthetic benzocaine or lidocaine. The FDA warns that dangerous and sometimes life-threatening side effects can be caused by them. If teething is very difficult for your baby please contact your doctor, he might prescribe oral analgesics for your baby. Don’t take my word for granted, you can read more about it here.
I also don’t suggest any homeopathic teething creams. In my opinion they work only 50% of the time, because of the placebo effect. By the placebo effect, I mean- a parent gives a homeopathic medication to their child, and that parent feels better and relaxes, which causes the sense their parent is relaxed, so they mimic their parents behavior, he calms down. I strongly suggest to use tap water instead of a homeopathic cream and just relax. You can read more about homeopathy and placebo effect here.
Amber teething necklace
Amber teething necklaces may not help your teething child. The claim is that amber releases a substance called succinic acid, which supposedly has analgesic effects which will be absorbed by the skin when amber is at body temperature. There is no scientific study to confirm this claim and succinic acid can be released from amber only if heated to about 200°C. Since or body temperature is not that high, it isn’t possible for succinic acid to be released from the amber.
These necklaces are also potentially harmful. Small amber pieces on delicate cords are choking hazards. Some of the necklaces come on thicker cords, the clasps are strong, and infants can easily get strangled by them.
Teething Remedy number one
The best teething remedy is cold. Applying cold to sore gums relieves the pain and soothes your baby. Teethers should be cold, but not ice cold, which also might cause gum irritation.
You can find plenty of different teethers on Amazon. T are usually made of plastic or silicone and filled with water or gel. They can be put into the fridge to cool and then given to your baby. Don’t put them in the freezer because it can destroy them. If you don’t feel comfortable with your baby chewing on plastic you might find wooden teethers, or cotton cloth ones as alternatives.
If you want to use wooden teethers make sure they are made of natural wood, well polished with a smooth surface and are big enough to grab and chew.
You also might use small cotton towel or washcloth. Before using it, please, wash it with ecological detergent, rinse thoroughly, dip in cold water, squeeze the excess and put into the fridge for up to an hour.
Chop an apple, carrot or celery info comfortable to grab pieces and put them into the fridge for about an hour. You will end up with a perfect, healthy, cool, soothing baby teethers, but if it is not the first tooth you’re expecting to erupt, please be cautious and always monitor your baby to avoid choking on food.
Frozen popsicles are a great way to soothe teething babies. Breast milk or formula popsicles are an effective and safe teething relief.
For baby up to 6 months old use frozen breastmilk or formula cubes in a mesh or silicone feeder. I recommend freezing fresh breast milk (never use thawed breast milk) or freshly made formula in an ice cube tray, put them in a mesh feeder and hand it to the baby.
Mesh feeders are a bit messy and definitely hard to clean. I prefer silicone feeders because they have handles that are easy to grab and the silicone sac is easy to clean.
For babies from 6 to 12 months old you can make fruitsicles. Blend breastmilk or formula and your baby’s favorite fruit together. See the recipe below:
My fruitsicle recipe:
- 50ml fresh breastmilk or formula
- 3 big strawberries (my daughters favorite berry)
Put fruits first into a blender and blend them well, then add milk ( or formula) and blend just a bit more. You can pour it to ice cube molds with popsicle sticks, or you can buy special baby molds designed to give your baby a better grip and the base is sturdy enough to hold the fruitsicle longer.
Some fruits that will work well with breastmilk or formula are:
Remember to add fruit that your baby is already familiar with.
Weaning and teething
If you are a breastfeeding mom and you were caught in the middle of weaning with teething, it is advisable to postpone the weaning. As a general rule, breastfeeding more frequently and intensively than before can help sooth a teething baby.
Yes, cuddle therapy- which basically means cuddling, kissing and snuggling the baby is a scientifically proven method to help with teething discomfort.
If it is possible, avoid vacations and long trips, not because of the baby, but because you also will be more tired and stressed. A teething baby requires all of your attention even during the night, which result with more cranky adults, due to the lack of sleep. Also a familiar routine is the best for a teething baby, so it is best to not add additional stress factors.
Vaccination during teething
There is no evidence that you should postpone vaccination if your baby is teething, al though some recommend to postpone the visit, especially if your child has the worst teething symptoms and looks already miserable enough. If you do postpone you will not mix possible vaccine side effects with teething symptoms.
Before making this decision always talk to your doctor.
Dear Mom, we all been there, all those cries, tantrums out of nowhere, sleepless nights and cups of coffee, and one thing we can tell you for sure is -you will handle it like a queen!
If you have any questions or additional tips on teething that you find useful, please share them in comments below!