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Tips for Taking the Pain Out of Teething

When I started gathering my thoughts for this week's topic.

By
Cheryl Butler
July 6, 2007
Episode #022

Tips for Taking the Pain Out of Teething

Hey there!  You’re listening to the Mighty Mommy with some Quick and Dirty Tips for Practical Parenting. Today’s Topic:  That’s a Mouthful!

Tips for Taking the Pain out of Teething

When I started gathering my thoughts for this week’s topic, I realized that I would have more to say than would fit in my average five-minute show. Every child is different and will experience teething in his or her own way. Some children will never shed a tear about their new teeth. Others will be up all night experiencing pain and discomfort. Both of these scenarios are at the extreme end of the spectrum. In this episode, I’ll be focusing on the latter. I’d like to share with you some methods to help comfort a teething child. Please keep in mind that these are methods recommended by parents and are in no way a substitute for the advice of your pediatrician. If there is any question as to whether a method is right for you or your child, please consult your family doctor before proceeding.

I think it’s important to realize that when your child is in pain, schedules are going to be disrupted. Try to be patient and understanding when your wailing baby wakes you up at three o’clock in the morning. He doesn’t want to be awake any more than you do and he’s probably hurting worse than you are. Also, before you go running for that acetaminophen or ibuprofen, there are some non-medicinal things you can try.

Pressure to the gums seems to be most babies’ treatment of choice. I say this because whenever I see a teething child, he usually has his hand stuffed right in his mouth. As a parent, you can probably do the job a little better with a clean finger of your own. Are you brave enough to stick your finger in there? If you are, then massaging the gums will help most babies to relax. It might take a few gentle but firm rubs before your child can actually enjoy the gum massage you are providing. It will be a little painful at first but the pressure will soon help to ease the pain. If your child really seems to dislike it, then move on to something else.

Some children will prefer something harder to chomp down on to help relieve pressure. It’s even better if that something is cold. Do not give your child frozen bagels, hard vegetables, like carrots, or any other solid, frozen food item. These things are choking hazards and could be very dangerous if a piece breaks off in your child’s mouth. Stick with actual teething rings made for this purpose. You can put them in the refrigerator or in the freezer. If you have put a water-filled ring in the freezer and it has frozen solid, running it under some water before giving it to your child can soften it up slightly. This is good for the younger babies whose gums are still a little delicate.

If your child seems to prefer the softer items to chew on, you can wet a washcloth and put it in the freezer. I recommend putting a few of them in at once. This way, when the one he’s been chewing on is no longer cold, you’ll already have another one standing by. If you’re not opposed to your child having a pacifier, or if he already uses one, you can also keep a couple of these in the freezer. Keep a close watch on any pacifiers your child has been chewing on. If you notice any breakage or loosening of the parts, throw it away. Do not give a damaged pacifier to your child.

If you do decide to try some medication, always check with your pediatrician first. This includes any over-the-counter pain relievers such as Tylenol or Motrin. Also, check with your pediatrician before using any topical, pain-relieving gels. My experience with teething gels was not good. I know that some parents have found them useful, but the pain relief doesn’t last very long and some children dislike the numbing effect just as much as the teething pain.  One other option for medication is homeopathic teething tablets. These seem to be a popular form of pain relief used by many moms in my community. Again, please check with your doctor before using any type of medicine.

[[AdMiddle]There are many ways to help provide comfort when your baby is teething, but please remember that not all symptoms are necessarily related to teething. When teething, your child might also experience a low-grade fever, runny nose or loose stools. If your child is experiencing any of these symptoms while teething, it is still important to contact your doctor. Do not assume that the symptoms are due to teething or you will run the risk of not detecting something more serious.

Another symptom I didn’t mention is drool. Teething children are often drooling children. Help your child stay dry and wipe that drool away with a soft bib or towel. Excessive drool on the skin can cause an uncomfortable rash.

My final tip for this episode is probably the most obvious and the most important. Give your teething child some extra attention. Hugs and kisses are the best medicine around when it comes to babies. A little extra comfort from Mommy or Daddy can go a long way.

That’s it for now. Hope you enjoyed listening.

If you would like to request a topic for the Mighty Mommy, or if you’d like to share a wonderful tip of your own, you can e-mail mommy@quickanddirtytips.com. Also, if you haven’t already done so, please take a moment to post a review at iTunes. I’d really appreciate it.

The Mighty Mommy’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Practical Parenting is part of the Quick and Dirty Tips network at QuickandDirtyTips.com. This week Grammar Girl is talking about addictive versus addicting so be sure to check out her podcast!

This is your friend, the Mighty Mommy wishing you happy and fun parenting!

Music – “Golly Gee” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons "Attribution 2.0

Teething Baby image from Shutterstock

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