Teething, oh what a trial for you as the parent and your little one, as those first teeth start to come through the baby's gums. Cutting teeth is very painful for your baby, and the gums may become swollen and irritated. This process can start as early as the third month, or as late as one year. Six to nine months seems to be the average time for the new teeth to begin coming in, usually referred to as "cutting teeth."
Some babies do not seem to be bothered as much as others during this process, depending on the pain threshold. If you notice that the baby is cranky and irritable, is drooling and is fussier than normal, chances are the new teeth are the culprit. He or she may even run a slight fever during this time. Ear pulling is also a sign of teething. Chewing on the toys, their own fingers, or yours, eases the pain a little. All this will stop as soon as the tooth breaks through the gums.
Buy toys that are made for a child to chew on when they are teething. Teething rings are made to be frozen, and the cold offers much relief for an infant that is cutting his or her first set of teeth. Try rubbing ice on the gums while you are holding the baby. The cold soothes the pain and numbs the gums. You can also dampen and freeze a washcloth and give it to the baby to chew on.
Teething gels are made for babies, and temporarily stop the pain. You can simply rub the gel on the affected area. You can also buy something called a teether which has the gel inside. It is released when the child bites down on it. Talking to friends and family members that have been through the teething process with their own children may prove helpful. Their experience may offer you suggestions that will provide other tricks that can provide effective relief for your child. It also never hurts to consult with the baby's doctor for tips when your baby starts the cutting teeth process.
Certain pain relieving medication is available for children, and can help get your baby through his or her teething process. Always check with your baby's doctor before using any of these products to be sure that you are giving the correct dosage. You should also consult the baby's doctor if your baby seems to be in extreme discomfort or at any time you become overly concerned. The doctor may be able to provide a stronger teething gel, if your baby has a low tolerance for pain.
Don't worry. The process of cutting new teeth and all the child's pain and fussiness doesn't last that long. Before you know it, your baby will have a full set of his or her first teeth and all the pain will be forgotten, and you might actually get to sleep through the night, as well as your baby.