The appearance of your baby's first pearly whites is an amazing milestone. It's such a momentous event for parents.
For many of our babies however, those days of teething can throw them for quite a loop. Drooling, increased crying, a decrease in eating and difficulty sleeping may ensue. Parents are often left wondering what they can safely do to ease their little one's pain.
Fortunately, there is plenty you can do to get your baby or toddler over the bumpy road that is often teething.
Do gently massage those swollen gums with a clean finger and washcloth.
Do put a wet washcloth in the freezer for 30 minutes, and then give it to your tot to chew and suck on. This feels so good on their inflamed and red gums.
Do offer cold teething rings. Teething babies and toddlers love to chew and gnaw on things. A cold teething ring will fit the bill. Just be sure to avoid the liquid filled kind and take care not to freeze them, as hard teething rings can actually hurt those sensitive gums.
Do keep a bib or dry washcloth handy to dry all that excess saliva from your baby's chin. Applying a protective cream such as Vaseline or Eucerin to the cheeks and chin prior to nap and bedtime will help protect the skin from all the drool. Many babies do get drool rash, so do your best to protect that sensitive skin.
Do use the appropriate dose of acetaminophen or ibuprofen (for babies 6 months and older) if your tot is having trouble sleeping due to teething. Use sparingly and after consulting with your child's pediatrician.
Caution when it comes to some remedies.
Don't use teething tablets. The most commonly used tablets in the past were Hyland's Teething Tablets. In 2010, the FDA issued a warning about the potential for serious side effects with the use of these tablets.
Don't use oral numbing gels such as Baby Orajel. These products contain a topical anesthetic known as benzocaine, which has the potential for causing a rare but serious condition known as methemoglobinemia.
I have to be honest and say when my son was teething, it was horrible. I was game for trying anything that would offer the slightest bit of relief. I tried it all. Most effective for us? The super cold washcloth and a little dose of acetaminophen on particularly painful nights. We used that and a drool bib that he had for practically the first year and half of his life!
Dr. Mom's Bottom Line^ Teething can really be a pain for some babies and toddlers. Know that while a slight elevation in body temperature can go along with teething, any persistent fever greater than 100.4 degree F in a baby should be evaluated by a doctor. Keep these do's and don'ts in mind so you and your baby get through these teething days with fewer tears and more drool-filled smiles.