Teething Remedies to Help Your Baby Sleep
Teething Remedies To Help Your Baby Sleep
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also advises against using topical numbing creams and gels, as well as homeopathic teething tablets, because of potential negative side effects. Teething necklaces are also a no-go because they risk strangulation and choking. Instead, try one of these expert-approved teething solutions for nighttime and naptime.
What is teething?
Teething is the process where the tooth cuts through the gums and emerges into the mouth. Teething is often a painful and uncomfortable time for your child and quite often symptoms occur before any teeth start appearing through the gums.
How long will it last?
There is no telling how long it will take for a tooth to make its way through the gum. Some babies are unsettled and unhappy for only a few days before a tooth is visible, while for others it may be a more prolonged experience. By the time your child is 3 years old, all twenty baby teeth will have come through.
Teething is often a painful and unsettling time for your baby and new teeth can explain why your baby is discontent and apparently unwell. Parents generally accept that teething can be difficult, but they also want to know how long this phase will last and what remedies exist that will help reduce some of the pain and discomfort associated with teething.
Read on to understand more about this important but often frustrating step in your child’s development:
Symptoms of teething
The range of symptoms and their severity varies between babies; your baby may cut teeth with no complaints at all or teething may bring lots of pain and tears for your bub.
For most babies though, symptoms of teething can be minor and infrequent. The pain of teething can last for around 8 days, but if multiple teeth come through simultaneously, the pain can continue for longer.
Signs of teething
If your baby is teething, you may notice:
- Swollen red gums
- Cheeks that are flushed red
- A rash on the face (resulting from excessive drooling)
- Excessive drooling
- Biting, rubbing, or sucking the gums
- Changes in appetite
- Irritability and unsettled behavior
- The appearance of a blister on the gum
Symptoms such as fever, rashes (not caused by irritation from drooling), and diarrhea are not associated with teething. If your child is experiencing these symptoms, speak to your healthcare professional. Furthermore, if symptoms of teething last for longer than a few days with no sign of a tooth, it’s possible that your baby’s pain and distress may be due to other causes and you should contact your healthcare professional.
Tips to Help a Child Sleep During Teething
As a new mother, you will receive ample advice on parenting, which is bound to boggle your mind. Your baby will be in intense pain, due to which his sleeping schedule may get disrupted. Therefore, here are some useful tips to get your teething baby to sleep.
1. Give the Baby Something Cold to Chew On
Cold desensitizes nerves and reduces pain. This is why, nowadays, more toy companies are creating rubber or gel-core-based teethers that can be refrigerated. Teethers are special toys, made to be chewed on by teething babies. The pressure on a baby’s teeth, caused by chewing, can provide relief from teething pain. The instinct to begin chewing to reduce the pain of teething is natural in humans and animals. If you do not have any refrigerator-friendly teething toys, you can substitute it with a clean, frozen cloth, instead. Do not freeze teething toys, as that will make them hard and could hurt your baby’s teeth. Simply chill them before handing them to your baby. Also, always be present to supervise your baby when he is chewing something. Teething toys are designed to be chewed and not swallowed, so keep an eye on your baby.
2. Massage the Gums
Your baby might refuse to sleep alone when he starts teething. As you lay the baby on the bed, massage his/her gums with your finger. This will ease the pain and help put your baby to sleep. If he/she wakes up in the middle of the night, you can massage the gums again. As you massage your baby’s gums, you will be able to feel where the teeth are coming in. Focus on massaging these areas, in particular. Ensure that your fingers are clean before massaging your baby’s gums.
3. Give Chamomile Tea
Chamomile tea helps reduce inflammation, soothe stomach aches, boost immunity, promote relaxation, and induce sleep. Giving chamomile tea to a teething baby will provide relief from teething pain and even induce sleep. Chamomile tea can be given to a baby through a feeding bottle at room temperature or when mildly warm. You can even soak a clean rag in chamomile tea and freeze it before giving it to your baby to chew on. However, it should be noted that chamomile tea should not be given to babies who are less than six months of age. You can give it to a baby who has crossed the half-year mark, but it is advisable to consult a doctor before opting for this remedy. Make sure that the chamomile tea is at a slightly cool temperature, but not very cold. Also, while massaging the gums, a clean finger can be dipped into chamomile tea before the massage.
4. Feed the Baby Cold Food Before Bedtime
Cold soothes pain in the gums and a full stomach induces sleep. You can give your baby cold yogurt or cold fruits and vegetables, such as grapes or boiled carrots. However, keep in mind to give him age-appropriate food, i.e. fruits or veggies that can be chewed properly. An option here would be to buy a mesh feeding bag. This is used to start young babies on solid foods safely, without the risk of swallowing too big a piece, and choking.
5. Create a Calm Environment
To make your baby sleep, it is important that you set a sleeping schedule. When babies have a set pattern of sleep, their bodies adjust accordingly. A bed-time routine automatically makes them sleepy as bedtime approaches, as it subconsciously signals that it is time to sleep when certain activities are performed in a set sequence, for a period of time. It essentially works on the same principles of habit formation. The routine could include a warm bath, changing to pajamas, reading a short story, singing to your baby, or rocking him in your arms until he falls asleep.
Breastfeeding calms your baby. As your baby begins teething, he might gnaw on your nipples and hurt you. To prevent this, massage your baby’s gums prior to feeding. Breastfeeding is an effective way to soothe your baby and put him to sleep.
7. Use Pain-killing Medication
This should be your last resort if you’ve tried the other methods, without any positive result. Pain-killers can help alleviate your baby’s pain and put him to sleep. Always consult your doctor before resorting to medication. Do not buy over-the-counter pharmaceutical products for this. Painkillers such as Ibuprofen have special, diluted formulas made particularly for children and babies. Do not use adult painkillers. Also, consult your pediatrician before giving any medication to your little one.
How Long Does the Teething Pain Last?
It is hard to say how long teething pain lasts. For example, a baby might feel the pain for months before the teeth actually come through. Meanwhile, others may feel the pain once the teeth have formed in the gums and are making their way out. The intensity of pain may differ from one baby to another. However, the pain mostly goes away once the tooth has grown out of the gums. While your baby’s front teeth do come up in the first year, the backset of molars appear after the first year, so there is a period of relief from teething stress.
- Always watch your baby if he is chewing on something, be it a teething toy, rag, or food. A baby may choke on it, so be careful.
- Consult your physician before you give painkillers to your child.
- If the teething toy is secured on a string around your baby’s neck, do not leave it on when putting your baby to sleep. It could get stuck somewhere and end up strangling the baby when he/she rolls over.
- A common, but the dangerous home remedy is to rub crushed aspirin tablets on your baby’s gums. Do not opt for this remedy, as it may cause the baby to become extremely sick.
- Babies sometimes develop a habit of pulling their ear while teething, as the pain of teething may transfer to the ear canal. If the pain is excessive, consult a doctor, as your baby could be suffering from an ear infection.
- Do not use over-the-counter creams or gels on your baby’s gums as a numbing medication.
Here are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions we are asked when it comes to teething:
My baby has swollen gums. When will the teeth start to show?
If your baby’s gums are swollen and you can feel a tooth beginning to erupt underneath, it is most likely normal swelling and it should go down after the tooth cuts through. Symptoms such as swollen gums may occur around 4 days before the tooth actually emerges. If you are concerned, speak to your doctor.
How long does it take for the first tooth to come out?
There is no exact answer as to how long it takes for the first tooth to cut through, however, estimates are that teething can occur over an 8 day period. Symptoms may begin to occur around 4 days before a tooth begins to erupt. However, this can vary from child to child and the tooth may take longer or shorter than this time to erupt. Sometimes babies can grow multiple teeth at once, so it may seem like teething is taking a lot longer.
My baby is drooling and chewing on things, does this mean he/she is teething?
Drooling and chewing on hands and objects is normal behavior as your baby grows and may not necessarily mean that your child is teething. However, if drooling is accompanied by other common teething symptoms and you can actually see or feel the emerging tooth, this may mean your child is teething.
Does teething cause a fever?
No, teething shouldn’t cause a fever. The reason that fever is so commonly attributed to teething is due to the fact that the start of the teething period (generally around 6 months of age) coincides with the time that babies start to get more infections, as there is a decrease in antibodies that they receive from their mother. If your child has a fever, contact your healthcare professional.
Is teething causing my baby to wake up during the night?
There is conflicting evidence as to whether teething causes sleep disturbances. The pain and discomfort resulting from teething could lead to periods of wakefulness during the night. However, if your baby doesn’t appear affected by teething discomfort during the day, the wakefulness at night may not be the result of teething. Speak with your doctor if your baby is experiencing extended periods of wakefulness during the night.
Can teething cause a loss in appetite?
Your child’s gums will become sore and inflamed as a tooth pushes through, which can make your baby’s mouth start to hurt. This discomfort may turn your baby off eating. However, some babies may find that the counter-pressure from food feels good on their gums and this may make them want to eat more.
Does teething pain last for extended periods of time before a tooth appears?
Teething only causes irritation around the time your baby’s tooth is about to break through the gum. The teething period generally lasts for about 8 days, so longer periods of discomfort (commonly associated with teething) may be caused by something else.
It should also be remembered that your baby has 20 milk teeth that will emerge over 2 years, and these will all cut through at different times, which may make it seem like the pain and irritability can last for months.
Can teething cause diarrhea?
There is no evidence of an association between teething and problems with the digestive system. The most likely reason is that teething children are prone to pick up and chew on bacteria-ridden objects that ultimately cause diarrhea. Remember, the teething phase coincides with the time period that babies are most susceptible to infections. If your little one has diarrhea, always seek medical advice.
Looking after baby’s new teeth
Even before you can see your baby’s first tooth it’s a good idea to get into the habit of wiping their gums with gauze or a soft wet washcloth during bath time. The easiest way to wipe your baby’s gums is to wrap the gauze or washcloth around your index finger and rub gently over their gums. Getting your baby used to have their mouth cleaned as part of their daily routine should make it easier to transition into tooth brushing later on, too.
Once teeth start appearing, a soft toothbrush suitable for children can be used. Gently brush on the inside and outside of each of your baby’s teeth twice a day. Try not to use toothpaste until your child is 18 months old. When your child is ready to start using toothpaste, a small pea-sized amount is all you need, and be sure to use a toothpaste made specifically for toddlers. Replace the toothbrush as soon as the bristles start to look worn or splayed.
When teeth start appearing (or by the time your child is 12 months old) is the perfect time to visit a dentist. They can also provide further assistance on teething and caring for your child’s new pearly whites.
The appearance of your baby’s first teeth may be a painful experience, but it is also a momentous time. Your teething baby will need plenty of extra love and lots of cuddles as their new pearly whites push through their little gums.
Remember, if you’re concerned about your toddler’s teeth, see your dentist.