3 Ways to Ease Teething Pain
Teething can seem like nature’s idea of a practical joke. After all, a baby’s first tooth usually arrives somewhere between 4 and 8 months, just after you’ve finally gotten your little one to sleep through the night. Teething can be a painful process for both you and Baby. Thankfully, there are several things you can do to ease your child’s teething pain.
Massage her gums.
“Begin a regimen of massaging and cleaning the baby’s gums as soon as she is born,”
suggests Michael Hanna, D.D.S., a pediatric dentist in Missouri. Whether you breastfeed or bottle feed, clean your little one’s mouth after feedings, whenever possible. “Using a clean piece of gauze or a washcloth, rub your finger along the gum pads, cleaning out any leftover milk,” he says.
If you continue this through the teething stage, you’ll accomplish two things: First of all, your baby will be used to having her gums cleaned after meals, which will make tooth-brushing easier down the road. Second, the pressure from the massage will make teething a little less painful.
Use teething rings and soothers.
Some babies and toddlers instinctively soothe themselves by grabbing anything within reach and biting on it, but chomping down on hard toys can damage incoming teeth. As an alternative, offer your baby a chilled (not frozen) plastic teething ring and check it every day to make sure he hasn’t bitten through it.
If your child is attached to his pacifier, don’t take it away now. He finds comfort from the
pacifier, and he can use it to massage his gums. Other teething favorites include wet, cold
washcloths or frozen, slushy applesauce, teething biscuits and mini-bagels.
For kids who eat solid foods, Hanna recommends freezing a banana, cutting off a small
slice and wrapping it in a washcloth. “The cold helps numb the gums and ease the pain, and the hardness helps break down the gum tissue,” he explains. Just make sure the banana doesn’t get loose from the washcloth and become a choking hazard.
Try pain relievers.
Teething babies tend to be crankiest in the evening. “Don’t be afraid to give them infant
Tylenol to help them sleep through the night,” says Hanna. Topical gel treatments can be
helpful also, but be careful to put only the tiniest dab right on the site of the pain, he says. “If you use too much, a child can swallow it and numb his throat.”
© Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved. Used with permission.