Teething can be a trying time for everyone involved. No parent likes to see their baby in pain, and the sleepless nights tend to make everyone cranky. As the mother of seven children, I can tell you that the teething experience is not the same for any two babies. I learned this lesson with my third child. I was traveling, of course, when my little guy went on a nursing strike. He stopped nursing and started screaming. After a whole day of this very unusual behavior, we headed to the ER, because I was certain that he had an ear infection.
I had once worked as a nurse in the NICU at the hospital where my son was seen, so I knew the pediatrician, and when the pediatrician told me that he didn’t have an ear infection, I told him flat out that he was wrong. Maybe it was my exploding breasts that made me so argumentative, or my baby, who continued to scream, but I was not going to leave until the doctor had found that darn ear infection.He never did. An hour after we left the ER, my son popped his first little tooth through, began to nurse again, and was back to his happy, little self. That event eclipses all other teething baby experiences.
What can you do to help a teething baby cope with the discomfort? Here are things that have worked for me, with that one exception:
1. Let the baby chew. Now, back when I was a new mother, many moons ago, people told me to let my teething baby chew on something, offering a variety of ideas of things to chew on, from frozen bagels to chicken bones. Do not let your baby chew on a chicken bone! Frozen bagels may work, but if your baby has not been introduced to wheat products and the like, you may want to choose something else.
A frozen teething ring is a longstanding favorite, but be certain to have several, so that the one that gets warm and mushy can be exchanged for a frozen one. I generally found my bent knuckle to be the best and most effective thing to use. I always had one with me, it never got lost, or dropped on the floor, and it didn’t make a huge mess like teething biscuits.
2. Numb the gums. There are many products on the market made specifically for teething babies. These numbing gels do bring some temporary relief for you and baby, and may help your little one relax enough to nap or play. Some people may suggest that you rub whiskey on the baby’s gums. I strongly advise against this choice of numbing “medication.”
3. Rub baby’s gums. This is among my favorite tips to ease a teething baby’s pain. Using your clean forefinger, firmly rub the baby’s gums back and forth. All of the drool will act as a lubricant, and most babies seem to love a good gum rubbing. Again, since you always have a finger with you, this trick is one that is always available.
4. Try pain relievers. I am not a big fan of medicating babies unnecessarily, but pain is pain. To my mind, there are few types of pain more difficult to cope with than mouth pain. For this reason, if one of my teething babies was in pain, I used an over-the-counter, oral, infant pain reliever. I usually saved this for before bed, but use your discretion, and the correct dosage. If you are uncertain of the right dose for your child, ask the pharmacist.
Teething is tough, but everyone and everything will make it through. You, your baby and the teeth will all, eventually, make it through to the other side, which is also known as “biting.”
“Infant Teething Pain Relief Tips,” ParentTime.com.