Teething Tots

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

As many of us already know, the trauma of teething can be just as painful for the parent as for the baby. The first tooth can appear anytime between the third and twelfth month, but typically teeth begin to bud sometime around the sixth month. Seemingly overnight, your little angel suddenly develops sore gums, cries frequently, dribbles constantly and might even develop a temperature. Teething can be quite disconcerting for new parents, but it’s inevitable, so it’s best to be prepared for the storms ahead.

Here are the typical telltale signs of teething:

ג€¢ Red, raised and clearly sore gums
ג€¢ Rosy cheeks, which are often warm to the touch
ג€¢ Excessive drooling, which often leads to a rash on the chin
ג€¢ An increased tendency to chew on objects, and gnaw on fingers
ג€¢ A slightly raised temperature
ג€¢ Crying, irritation or an overall unwillingness to sleep
ג€¢ Refusing to feed ג€“ whether by bottle or by spoon
ג€¢ Ear tugging, cheek rubbing or a general increased touching of the jaw area

There are especially developed teething gels (such as Bonjela) on the market and it is of course possible to give babies who are really suffering small doses of infant paracetamol (such as Calpol) to help with the pain. However, parents often feel uncomfortable medicating their child and look for other, more natural everyday solutions.

Other than the use of over the counter painkillers, babies seem to receive the most effective relief from having something cold placed on inflamed gums. These can include:

ג€¢ Teething rings ג€“ which can be sterilised and placed in the freezer prior to use
ג€¢ Cold drinks
ג€¢ Something cold to suck and chew on, such as a frozen banana, a chilled carrot or a fruit ice lolly

Some babies go off their food temporarily while they are teething, and then their discomfort increases due to hunger, leading to yet more tears and unhappiness. During this time it’s advisable to offer chilled comfort foods that will soothe sore gums, without requiring the effort of chewing. Good suggestions of easily swallowed cold foods include yogurt, fromage frais, fruit jelly and chilled fruit purees, all of which are sweet so will encourage your baby to eat, but are also relatively healthy.

Although your own parents and grandparents may advise to rub brandy on a teething baby’s gums, never give your baby alcohol in any form, as the effect will only be temporary and it may do more harm than good.

The good news is that, by and large, teething doesn’t last that long, and before you know it, there’s a gleaming little pearl emerging from your baby’s gummy smile. It’s best not to interfere until the tooth is fully through, but once it is you should take good care of your child’s dental hygiene by brushing twice a day either with a soft bristled baby toothbrush, or with a damp gauze pad.

In the early days there is no need to use toothpaste, but once a few teeth are through you can use a pea-sized amount of infant toothpaste especially designed for milk teeth. It’s a great idea to get your child used to daily dental care so that later on, as a toddler, there is no built-in resentment towards teeth cleaning. On that note, it’s advisable to favour minty flavours of toothpaste rather than strawberry, so that your child won’t be tempted to eat it!

Finally, your baby’s first dental check up should ideally occur before the age of two years. Keep smilingג€¦

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Some babies sail through to toddlerhood with barely a blemish on their bums; some babies seem to be permanently covered in angry red welts. Most babies encounter some degree of irritation, usually between the ages of nine and twelve months, so what can be done to soothe the tenderness and prevent further occurrences? Causes: Nappy […]

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