A baby’s very first set or pair of teeth that shoot through the gums appear from ages 4 to 6 months. In some other babies, this could be much later. This first set of teeth, which often shows up causing much discomfort for babies is referred to as teething. The emerging baby teeth or milk teeth are greeted with excitement from parents but visits babies with uneasiness and come with a number of signs and symptoms.
Teething in most babies can last until age 2 or 3. Also, the severity of pain varies as a child grows older and as more or bigger set of teeth grow.
Some of the commonly known signs and symptoms of teething in babies include:
- Raised temperature
- Swollen and sore gums
- Biting hard on objects
- Puppling the ears
- Changing sleep pattern
A rule of thumb when a baby begins to develop any or multiple of the above signs or symptoms is to gently run clean adult fingers over their gums to feel any tooth growth. Chances are that you may discover the new growth early and help relive the pain with the necessary care, attention and therapy that they require. This action is also great for nursing mother’s who can run cool water on their fingers and across their babies gums right before breast feeding to help ensure their babies do not bite at the nipples.
Remedies for Teething
Care should be observed to avoid introducing any object that can cause irritation in the mouth or possible choking. There are teething toys known as teethers that are designed to help with teething.
Other remedies include:
- Gum massage – run a clean finger gently over your baby’s gum
- Chewing on cold objects or on cold pacifiers
- Frozen fruits or vegetables like apples and carrots
- Medication – talk to a paediatrician about safe child pain relief
Things to Expect When Your Baby is Teething
As may be observed, teething is a big deal for babies. And as there is no biological clock to warn parents when their babies would start teething, they are expected to be watchful of any sudden change in their baby’s mood and/or body temperature. Healthy and cheerful babies could lose their cheerfulness and sometimes almost lose sleep.
A couple of things to note would include:
- Chances are that they are in pain so be gentle with them
- Most babies are cranky when teething and become easily irritable; not to worry, they’ll soon come out of it
- Breast feeding mothers should engage their babies intermittently and with needed attention. Try to let them have teething soothers to chew on before breast feeding. Due to discomfort in their gums, some babies may not nurse well while others might find comfort at nursing
- Some babies may prefer the uninterruption of milk flow from bottles and chances are that some mothers might prefer this as well since they are saved the pain from teeth bites. The importance of breast feeding in helping to create a bonding experience should however not be pushed aside
- Cold helps to desensitise and reduce pain; therefore have something cold on hand for your baby to chew on
- Some babies have teething blisters, which break when the tooth eventually grows out
Teething Biscuits – Pros and Cons
Teething snacks offer remedies to teething babies and can sometimes be an alternative to teething toys. The age of a baby should however be considered when considering introducing teething biscuits. A number of pointers to a baby’s readiness for teething biscuits besides demonstrating interest in eating are a stable posture which include an ability to control the muscle functions of the head and neck, and the ability to sit.
- Older babies may prefer teething biscuits to chewing on cold items
- The texture of these biscuits helps to pacify a baby’s tender gums
- They provide stimulation and help soothe a baby’s gums
- They also help to strengthen a baby’s gums as they get prepared for solid foods
- They dissolve after a while in a baby’s gums and can pose a choking hazard in younger babies
- Some argue that chewing on food during teething can lead to oral hygience concerns
- A number of teething biscuits do not have nutritional value
The remedies to teething would typically vary from one child to another; as such attention should be given to identifying what soothes a baby best. The goal is to ensure that the teething experience is as least painful as possible.