By Bamidele Wale-Oshinowo
It’s always a joy to witness your baby’s milestones even though some are attached with growing pains like the one babies experience when teething. Well, the good news is that you can make the teething process a more comfortable period for your child by first identifying the symptoms, then applying suitable remedies.
Know The Signs
When babies are between 5-7 months, symptoms such as fever, runny nose and diarrhea usually speculated to be teething signs must first be evaluated by your child’s paediatrician to rule out an infection, malaria or common cold. With these out of the way, you can then focus on teething symptoms and remedies like:
1. Red Puffy Gums
As your child’s first sparkling crystal white tooth is about to sprout, you may notice swollen and bruised red looking gum bulging with the emerging tooth, beneath the skin. Your baby will most likely be in pains.
During the early stages of teething, babies gnaw and chew on anything they can get their hands on with reckless abandon; from their fingers, yours and their toys to cramming their fist into their mouth, dribbling, and biting.
3. Excessive Drooling
Even though babies drool quite a bit when teething, it is important to note that drooling on its own is a normal developmental sign which could be mistaken for teething. Nevertheless, it might be teething if other teething signs discussed here are present.
4. Disturbed Sleep
Fussiness at night usually occurs as each tooth erupts, leading to disruption in your child’s sleep. This process tends to occur more at night than during the day which is why most babies are more irritable at night.
5. Ear Tugging Or Pulling
This can also be caused by ear infection. Teething related ear tugging occurs when pains from the jaw is transferred to the ear canal, making the baby extremely uncomfortable.
6. Feeding Habits
While teething, there is usually a change in your baby’s feeding habit. Some babies tend to want more of breast milk than solids such as cereals, fruits or other solids they previously enjoyed. This is because the spoon could be irritating their inflamed gums. Others might tend to eat very little because they are uncomfortable with both sucking the breast and chewing semi-solid foods. A few other children however tend to eat more, doing this probably helps reduce the pain and pressure on their gum; I have seen this happened in one or two children over the years.
An enzyme released during teething, combined with swallowing excessive saliva, can cause runny stools locally called jedi-jedi.
- Breastfeed or bottle feed.
Using a cold towel on your baby’s sore gum works like magic! Put a clean small towel or washcloth in the freezer or pour very cold water from the fridge on the washcloth and place this on your baby’s sore and swollen gums.
- It is important to use teething rings that are BPA free. Keep chilled in the refrigerator or freezer (see instruction leaflet) and place on your baby’s swollen gums to ease irritation. It works! Avoid the ones filled with liquid just in case they break.
- Rubbing clean fingers (especially the fore-finger) on baby’s sore gum also works brilliantly but make sure that they are clean.
- Thick allergen-free biscuits can also be beneficial to your baby during this period.
- Cold Banana is advisable for babies that are 8 months and older.
- Apply a little Vaseline around your baby’s mouth at bedtime. This usually prevents night-time soreness around the mouth.
- Applying a little sugar-free teething gel on your baby’s sore gum might help. Bonjela is common in this part of the world and can be used from 2 months upwards. Teething gels usually numb the pain for about 20 minutes. You can combine this with one home remedy such as using the teething ring for longer pain relief.
- Common Pain Relieving Drugs: Paracetamol is considered to be safe in children but always ask the pharmacist for the appropriate dosage. Preferably, get your paediatrician’s prescription.
- Teething Granules or Powder: You might also want to get a prescription for this. It is known to relief babies temporarily from teething-related pains.
Overall, be calm as you try to help your little cutie through this major milestone.