Teething is a natural process that every infant goes through, but it can be a challenging time for both the baby and the parents. As the baby’s first teeth start to emerge, they may experience discomfort and pain, leading to fussiness, irritability, and difficulty sleeping.
In this article, we will explore effective ways to ease the discomfort from teething in infants. From soothing remedies to expert tips, we have got you covered. Let’s dive in!
Teething can be a daunting phase for parents, but there are various methods to help alleviate the discomfort and make the process smoother for your little one. Here are some tried and tested approaches to ease teething discomfort in infants:
1. Chilled Teething Toys: A Cooling Relief
Babies love to chew on things when they are teething, as it provides counterpressure to soothe their sore gums. Offering chilled teething toys is an excellent way to provide cooling relief and comfort.
Place the teething toys in the refrigerator (not the freezer) for a short period to chill them before giving them to your baby. The cool temperature helps numb the gums, reducing inflammation and pain.
2. Gentle Gum Massage: Relieving the Pressure
Massaging your baby’s gums with clean fingers can provide immediate relief from teething discomfort. Simply wash your hands thoroughly, then rub your finger gently on your baby’s gums in circular motions.
The pressure helps alleviate the discomfort and provides a soothing sensation. You can also use a clean, damp washcloth to massage the gums gently.
3. Cold Washcloth: A Simple Remedy
A cold washcloth can work wonders in easing teething discomfort. Moisten a clean washcloth with cold water, then place it in the refrigerator for a few minutes until chilled. Once cooled, give the washcloth to your baby to chew on. The texture of the cloth and the cold temperature provide relief to the gums and help reduce inflammation.
4. Teething Rings: Safe and Soothing
Teething rings are specially designed to provide comfort and relief during the teething phase. Look for teething rings made of safe and non-toxic materials. Place the teething ring in the refrigerator to cool it down before giving it to your baby. The chewing action and the cold sensation will help ease the discomfort and soothe the gums.
5. Teething Gels: Temporary Relief
Teething gels can be used to provide temporary relief from teething discomfort. These gels usually contain a mild anesthetic that numbs the gums and reduces pain. However, it’s essential to consult your pediatrician before using any teething gel, as some may contain ingredients that can be harmful to infants.
6. Distraction: The Power of Play
Distraction can be an effective strategy to ease teething discomfort. Engage your baby in playful activities and provide them with toys that capture their attention. The diversion from the discomfort can help reduce fussiness and make the teething process more manageable. Singing, playing peek-a-boo, or offering colorful toys can all help distract your baby.
7. Breastfeeding or Bottle Feeding: Comfort and Nourishment
During the teething phase, babies may find comfort in breastfeeding or bottle feeding. The sucking action provides a sense of security and can help alleviate teething discomfort. Ensure that you are holding your baby in a comfortable position and thatthey have a proper latch. For bottle-fed infants, choose nipples that are designed for teething babies, as they are softer and gentler on the gums.
8. Cold Foods: A Soothing Treat
Introducing cold foods can provide relief to teething babies while also offering them nutrition. You can offer chilled purees, such as applesauce or yogurt, as the cold temperature can help soothe their gums. However, make sure the food is age-appropriate and consult with your pediatrician before introducing any new foods to your baby.
9. Natural Remedies: Time-Tested Solutions
There are several natural remedies that have been used for generations to ease teething discomfort. One such remedy is chamomile tea. Brew a weak cup of chamomile tea, let it cool down, and then soak a clean washcloth in the tea. Give the damp cloth to your baby to chew on. Chamomile has natural soothing properties that can help alleviate teething pain.
Things to Avoid When Easing Discomfort from Teething in Infants
1. Overuse of Numbing Agents
- Potential for overdose or allergic reactions.
- Some numbing gels can numb the back of the throat, causing difficulty in swallowing.
- Always follow dosing guidelines.
- Opt for safer alternatives when possible.
2. Jewelry or Beads (like Amber Necklaces)
- Potential choking hazard if beads break off.
- Strangulation risks if necklaces get tangled around the infant’s neck.
- Lack of scientific evidence supporting their efficacy.
- Avoid using them as a remedy for teething.
- If already in use, ensure continuous adult supervision and avoid letting the baby wear it while sleeping.
3. Over-the-counter Products with Benzocaine or Belladonna
- Benzocaine can lead to methemoglobinemia, a rare but serious condition where the oxygen carried through the blood is reduced.
- Belladonna has been associated with serious side effects in infants.
- Be cautious of over-the-counter teething products and their ingredients.
- Always consult with a pediatrician before using any new medication or remedy.
4. Giving the Infant Hard Objects that Could Break
- Potential choking hazards if pieces break off.
- Risk of injury to gums or emerging teeth.
- Avoid giving babies materials like glass, hard plastic, or anything breakable to chew on.
- Opt for FDA-approved teething toys and ensure they’re free from small parts.
By being cautious and avoiding these potential hazards, parents and caregivers can ensure that their teething infants are both comfortable and safe. Always prioritize safety and consult with healthcare professionals when in doubt about a remedy or product.
Teething can be a challenging phase for both infants and parents, but with the right strategies, it can be made more manageable. From chilled teething toys and gentle gum massages to distraction techniques and natural remedies, there are numerous ways to ease the discomfort from teething in infants. Remember to consult your pediatrician for personalized advice and recommendations for your baby. By providing comfort, soothing relief, and maintaining good oral hygiene, you can help your little one sail through the teething phase with minimal discomfort.