There are a lot of developmental events during the first year of life of a child. One of them is teething. Usually eruption of the first tooth happens around the 6th month of infancy. Teething, however, varies from child to child. Some occur as early as the 3rd month, while others may take a year. Signs of teething should be observed carefully so as not to mistake other medical conditions for teething. This is a stressful time for the baby since there is pain, and babies generally have low pain tolerance. Because of this, this time is also stressful for the parents, especially during nighttime. Signs of teething include waking up at night, drooling, irritability, and cough because of the drooling. Sometimes mild fever, warm cheeks, and diarrhea also occur. When you see these signs, there are actually interventions you can perform to help alleviate the pain your baby experiences. But keep in mind that not all babies react to the same kind of interventions. Follow the ones listed below in reducing teething pain.
- Give teething aids. Babies tend to be gratified when they have something in their mouth – may it be food or finger. Especially during teething, they need to chew on something to relieve the discomfort they experience from pain. There are available chewing toys nowadays. To further alleviate the pain, you can freeze or chill the toys prior to giving them. This causes temporary numbness to the gums and soothes the babies.
- Render massage. Rubbing or massaging the gums of the baby also helps. You can use your finger, a wet/frozen washcloth, or even a cold spoon for this. Gently touch the gums and begin massaging the contour.
- Give cold water. The principle is the same as applying cold pressure to the gums. It has a cooling effect, numbs the gums and therefore reduces the pain being experienced. Be conscious on when to give cold water. It is alright to do so if the weather’s warm. Otherwise, your baby might catch a cold or even flu.
- Provide teething gels and tablets. You can also apply teething gels on the gums to help relieve the pain. They have a cooling effect on the gums. However, most pediatrician do not approve of these since the babies can undergo the normal teething process without them. Sometimes, parents confuse other problems to teething, and this leads to overuse of teething gels and tablets.
- Give pain reliever. Acetaminophen or ibuprofen can be given to babies when undergoing teething. But keep in mind that they should be your last resort. Try other interventions first before you give pain reliever. Otherwise, after some time, your baby will develop tolerance to the medication and pain relievers will no longer have the desired effect. You should also consult first with your pediatrician before giving any pain medications to your baby.
Teething is a normal process that every infant undergoes. It is hard to watch them suffer with pain, but you should not immediately panic and give pain relievers. Assess the situation first and try non-pharmacologic interventions. The best way to know what to do is to consult your pediatrician.