- Written by Lynn U. Nichols Lynn U. Nichols
Sooth your baby with the following options
If you could fill a bucket with all the drool and fussing your baby is doing these days, read on. You likely need tips on teething. Babies drool. It’s what they do as they haven’t learned how to swallow their extra saliva yet, but if your baby’s drool seems more robust than usual, it could mean she is getting ready to pop a tooth. Here are some ways you can soothe her, and hopefully gain some better sleep and more pleasant days.
Babies start showing signs of teething around three months and it continues until around 2 years when they have a full set of teeth. Bottom front teeth come first, followed by the top. Babies get their first pearly white between 5 and 12 months of age. That’s when things get messy and loud with a lot of drooling and fussing. It hurts when teeth push through tender tissue! Besides, having swollen gums makes it hard to sleep and eat, something your baby might put on hold when a tooth is coming in. Babies also can get low-grade fevers with teething, up to 101 degrees. Here are some ideas—traditional, homegrown and alternative—on soothing your baby’s pain:
Let her chew
Teething babies like to chew on hard and semi-hard objects. Biting down and applying pressure soothes swelling. The object can be as simple as a frozen wash cloth or her favorite natural rubber toy. If you want to get fancy, you can buy teething items specifically made for babies, including wood teethers or mesh teethers—gadgets with handles and a mesh bag for putting frozen fruit inside to raise the taste appeal.
But don’t let her suck on a bottle of formula, milk or juice for hours or at bedtime as this can cause tooth decay. You can also give her chilled applesauce, slushy juice, a cold spoon to suck on, or even a popsicle. Some moms go for a big piece of celery, watermelon rind or large carrot, but watch closely to make sure she doesn’t bite off bits that are too big to swallow.
Rub the gums
Use a clean finger or knuckle for a quick solution, or a damp washcloth to massage her gums. There are even gum massagers designed for babies that look like mini toothbrushes.
Visit your local natural foods store and you’ll find several options to soothe your baby’s teething pain. Homeopathic solutions are thought to help as are items containing chamomile. If you can’t make it to the store, brew some chamomile tea, chill it, and then soak a washcloth in it for your baby to chew on.
Cold helps reduce swelling. You can make slushies of frozen water, chamomile tea or even breast milk in ice cube trays. Turn them into a slushy delight and spoon-feed them to your baby. Or, simply wet a washcloth, wring it out, and place it the freezer. Let her suck, chew and drool.
When it gets bad, give a pain killer
If she’s especially cranky or if you detect a fever, it’s time to go for the hard stuff. Try baby acetaminophen or ibuprofen but never aspirin. When needed, use over the counter pain medicine at bedtime as your baby feels the pain more at night.
Avoid numbing cream
Pass on the numbing medication for your baby’s gums. Often saliva washes it away quickly and it may numb your baby’s throat, affecting his natural gag reflex.
Wipe his chin
Drool can cause skin irritation so keep a towel handy!
Like with every stage, this too shall pass. By the time your baby turns into a toddler at 2, you’ll likely be past teething and on to other things, like climbing every object in site, building forts out of your couches and bedding and spinning in circles until he’s giddy. Enjoy it all—even the drool.