Just when you start to feel you got the baby routine down, teething happens! On average, baby teeth start to erupt around 3-9 months of age (but can happen as late as 14 months without concern.) You may start to notice excess drooling, the baby biting on everything, or putting their hands in their mouth more often. It is also common for babies to be irritable or more clingy than normal. This is also around the time the baby’s own immune system is being tested, so things like fever or a runny nose can happen around the same time but are not directly related. There is no research that supports babies experience pain during teeth, but as a new mother myself, I have witnessed the change in my baby’s demeanor due to teething. There is inflammation around the tissue as the tooth starts to push through bone and gum that may be the culprit of the teething fussiness. The teething pains tend to happen right before or as the teeth cut through the gumline. It is also very normal for babies to grind their teeth as they start to come in. This can sound like they are chewing on rocks but in common.
What should you do then your baby has pain from teething? Here are the top 3 things I have found that helped:
1) Something cold to chew on: Put teething toys in the refrigerator and take them when needed to help soothe an achy gum. My baby was a fan of the baby teething feeders. I would slice up a banana into 1 inch spears, freeze them, and then stuff them into a mesh teething feeder. A cold wet wash rag was also comforting. I would pinch a baby wash rag in the middle and only wet the outer half of the rag. I then put the rag in a small ziplock and then place in the refrigerator. That way when I hand it to her to chew on, she has an area to hold onto that isn’t too cold for her hands.
2) Extra TLC: Although this seems obvious, a loving cuddle or skin on skin time helps release endorphins for our baby and helps them feel better. Do whatever helps soothe your baby such as nursing, a pacifier, rocking or baby wearing. Remember, this won’t last forever and who doesn’t want extra cuddle time!
3) Over the counter pain medications: I recommend medication as a last resort. If your child has shown signs of teething all day, it may be beneficial to give them over the counter pain medication to help them sleep through the night. Acetaminophen/Tylenol or ibuprofen/Advil (only for babies 6 months and older) can be given to help with teething pain. It is important to avoid medications or gels that contain benzocaine or belladonna as an ingredient since they can cause dangerous side effects for babies.
Amber bead necklaces are not recommended since they have been associated with strangulation (https://www.mysuncoast.com/2019/05/07/mother-sues-etsy-after-son-was-fatally-strangled-by-teething-necklace-purchased-site/?fbclid=IwAR2u4H9QNk7cCX5mY8WDAaHSNgqUYBTvBsSLyik909Saxcg1JoVOWNjVhyA), but if you choose to use them make sure to remove when your child sleeps. All 20 baby teeth will finish erupting when your baby is between 2-3 years of age. Please feel free to contact us if you have any concerns about your child’s teething at 512-646-4500.