My little one just had his bottom two teeth break through this week, when he was one week shy of 9 months. I know he’s been working on the teeth for awhile and he’s been “teething for about a month. These are the signs and symptoms you might see when your baby begins to teeth:
- Chewing on solid objects
- Sticking fingers in mouth
- Irritability or crankiness
- Sore or tender gums
- Decreased appetite
- Difficulty sleeping
Tips for soothing a teething baby:
If your teething baby seems uncomfortable, consider these simple tips:
Often chewing can help your little one’s teeth work their way through the gums, or it just helps to have a little counter pressure when the gums hurt. So, give them things to chew! If it’s cold, even better, since the cold will numb the pain.
- Rub Ice on Gums – Rubbing ice on the gums can be tricky, but even a little bit helps. I found that once I brought the ice cube to Ain’s mouth, he would suck for 2-3 seconds, then pull it away and look at it. Then, in just about 2-3 seconds he would want to bring it to his mouth again. After using this ice treatment, he was better able to focus on nursing (since his gums were numb).
- Or Crushed Ice – Put some crushed ice into a clean baby sock and tie off the top. Since it can “mold” around the gum, this is often helpful for painful teething. The fabric is easy and comfortable for baby to handle and babies like the texture of the fabric, too.
- Freezer Pacifier – During his teething pains, I always tried to keep a pacifier in the freezer. That way, if he was acting unusually fussy I would give it to him. This always helped during rough nursing sessions.
- Cold teething ring – Grab a teething ring made of firm rubber (The liquid-filled variety might break under the pressure of your baby’s chewing) and stick in the fridge.
- Frozen washcloth – A cold or frozen washcloth can be soothing on a baby’s gums. Put the washcloth in a freezer bag first while in the freezer, then take it out to give to your baby! (If putting in freezer, try either getting it wet first, or just stick it in dry. Babies will have different preferences.)
- Cold food – If your little one is old enough for solids, give them chilled cucumber – so soothing!, or any other cold fruit to chew on.
- If your baby tries to teethe at the breast (very painful!), fill a bottle with ice cold water (or even freeze the bottle upside down!), and let your baby gnaw on the tip of the nipple. They may or may not drink water, but this will help.
Hold infant and let him/her chew
- Teething Necklace, or other teething jewlery – my little one was very content in my arms with a teething necklace in his mouth!
- Rub your baby’s gums. Run your freshly washed finger over those sore gums. The pressure might soothe the pain. Or bend your pointer finger, and let him/her gnaw on your knuckle – as long as they don’t chomp down too hard!
- When the above methods don’t work, try giving him/her a warm bath – this will calm them down.
- Give him/her a small baby message using olive oil.
- Try rubbing their feet – see image.
- Clove Oil – Here is an easy recipe for Homemade Teething Oil using this from Mommypotamus.
- Try an over-the-counter remedy. If your baby is especially cranky, acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others) might help.
NOTE: Avoid using Orajel/benzocaine (or other topical anesthetics), as it numbs baby’s mouth and can make breastfeeding very difficult for baby. As of May 31, 2012, the US FDA recommends that parents not use benzocaine products for children younger than 2 years.
TIP: If the baby is drooling a lot, remember to keep wiping their chin to prevent rashes.
ALSO: Don’t stop breastfeeding when your baby’s teeth break through. Babies can’t bite while suckling. If your baby nips you when it has finished a feed, discourage future incidents by saying “no” and taking away the breast.
To get past a nursing strike:
- frozen pacifier, or any other numbing method used above
- relaxed position for Momma and baby (side-lying is a favorite of my son)
- pump for just a minute or two to get let down started, then try breastfeeding (so the infant doesn’t have to suck a lot to get a let down started)
Any other tips?