Easy ways for parents to help a teething baby

Q. What is unpredictable, with no real time frame, makes your baby a world-class drooler, and gets everyone feeling a bit cranky??

A. Teething!

It’s uncomfortable for the bub and it makes life tough for us.

Little toothy pegs, cutting through your little one’s precious gums. Making their gums look sore, giving them a flushed cheek or two, and meaning that EVERY SINGLE THING goes into their mouths to help ease the pain, even if only for a moment.

Not to mention the potential disturbed sleep… can we blame that on some type of sleep regression?!?

As if all of those symptoms weren’t bad enough, your bub might even have a rash on their face thanks to all the increased saliva.

But before we sink our teeth into this (ha ha… could not resist), can we just take a moment to clear up the common misconception about teething and having a temperature. There is no evidence to support that a baby who is teething or has teeth erupting will have an increased temperature (defined as over 38 degrees in the research literature). This means that if your baby has a temperature over 38 degrees, we cannot contribute it to the teething process, and still have to assess and manage it accordingly.

Teething normally starts at around 6 months old. But guess what… these little things don’t read textbooks and it seems that when it comes to teething EVERY BABY IS TOTALLY DIFFERENT.

So… what CAN you do to help your teething bub?

Give them something cool (not frozen as that is just too cold) from the fridge for them to bite down on. A rubber or silicon teething ring is ideal for this, but of course a wet flannel will work just as well. If you are using a teething ring that has liquid inside of it, be mindful that once the teeth have emerged this might crack. Some mums have mentioned that a mango stone from the fridge has been a game changer for their little one!

Gum massage is great. The feeling of pressure on the gum is really soothing- that is why everything goes into the mouth!

Side note: if everything is going into your baby’s mouth… does that mean you need to sterilise absolutely everything?? As a general rule, babies under 6 months old should have items that are placed in their mouths regularly sterilised. Once they are above 6 months old, good old hot soapy water should do the trick. Make sure you read the instructions on the teether/ toy as to how to actually wash it though. Anything with a hole (eg good old Sophie the giraffe) shouldn’t be submerged in water. Read more about this here. One great alternative to Sophie is a Matchstick Monkey teether- which is great for teething babies and does not have a hole!!

Side note to my side note: As they are now mouthing everything, what a great opportunity to get down on your hands and knees and see what potential choking hazards might be around the house that they could reach.

Wiping away excess saliva, and perhaps even applying a barrier cream to the affected area will help with the rash.

Hmmmm… homeopathic teething granules. Have you seen these? There is no solid research to say that these actually work. I did occasionally use these for my children and feel that they did actually work. Perhaps it was the brief distraction? Maybe it was the fact I felt I was doing something to help?? Not sure. You be the judge on those ones!

If the baby is old enough to have Calpol, of course this will help with symptom relief. It is of course your decision if you want to give it, but if your little one is unsettled from the pain, some paracetamol might be a good shout. It goes without saying that you need to follow the administration guidance on the pack, and don’t forget to channel your inner Taylor Swift while you shake the bottle for at least 10 seconds before you give it. This helps to ensure the medication is evenly distributed.

There is a common belief amongst grandparents that teething babies can be given a cold raw carrot or similar to chew on. In terms of risks vs benefits, I would personally advise against this from a potential choking perspective. If your child has started solids, instead choose appropriate cool foods.

And tips to help with little one’s sleep?!

Ahhh the days/ weeks/ years of bad sleep thanks to teething. Nobody really warns you about this!!

It makes sense that night times are often tough, because there are less distractions to preoccupy your little one at night. Then thanks to getting little rest, everyone starts off the day already cranky… cue the vicious cycle.

The amazing Chloe, mum and Holistic Sleep Coach from Hush Little Baby, reminds us that when lying down there is increased pressure in the head. This means that the pain from teething can be intensified. She recommends considering naps in the carrier during the day, so that they are more upright (and being nice and close to you will be comforting, too!). Being a bit more flexible on sleep location and timings might also make things easier too.

Have you found anything else that has helped your little one? Sending you lots of love and strength, and hopefully those little teeth pop out really soon!

Sammy x

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Why not check out our popular Ouch Pouches– wipeable first aid kits for busy parents.