Your baby is cranky, crying and drooling, and at some point during your efforts to calm her it dawns on you: Your little one is teething. This usually begins around six months old, but it can be as early as three months and as late as 12 months.
Although those little primary teeth are small, they pack a punch when coming in. You might notice red and swollen gums, flushed cheeks, heavy drooling, gum sucking, ear rubbing, sleeplessness, irritability and a fervid interest in chewing on everything a few days before a tooth breaks the gums.
While it is clearly uncomfortable for her, you can become distressed, too. Fortunately, there are some age-old natural remedies that can help relieve her symptoms and make you feel better as well. Here are some tips for parents to help soothe the symptoms of teething.
Massage Her Gums
Pressure on the gums takes away from the pain of teething. Rub your baby’s gums with a clean finger to help ease the discomfort. Or, get baby a fun and safe teether like the French-made Sophie la Giraffe. The 7-inch toy appeared on the scene in 1961, is made of hevea rubber and is Amazon’s most popular toy. Sophie is easy to hold and can stimulate a newborn’s senses with its attention catching spots and squeaker, according to Vulli, Sophie’s manufacturer.
Tame the Drool
Excessive and constant drool is no fun. While she can develop a rash on her chin, you end up doing several more loads of laundry. Protect her chin at bedtime (or in down time) with barrier cream like petroleum jelly.
Because the sudden burden of endless drool will require considerably more laundry, have plenty of soft baby burpies and drool bibs on hand to make teething easier on you. You also want to be sure the burpies are made of high-quality cotton, so as not to irritate baby’s skin even further. Try SwaddleDesigns for super-soft and stylish baby burpies and bibs.
Give Her a Chilled Washcloth
Keep a slightly chilled, clean washcloth in the fridge for baby to gnaw on. The soft fabric will massage the gums, and the cold will help numb the pain. For a particularly fussy baby, first soak the washcloth in chamomile tea to calm and relax her.
To keep it free from germs, keep the washcloth in a resealable plastic bag while it’s in the fridge. And make sure it’s not frozen, so it doesn’t hurt her when she bites down.
Give Her a Warm Bath
Before bedtime, give your baby a nice warm bath to soothe and distract her. Add lavender or chamomile baby wash to the water to help the relaxation process. Massage her softly as you towel dry her. After you put her to bed, give yourself a nice warm bath for your own liquid therapy.
Finally, don’t forget about the cuddles. She’ll need lots and lots of those — but don’t listen to the old wives’ tales about giving baby a small amount of alcohol. It is never OK to give an infant any amount of alcohol. After the first tooth comes in, it should get easier on both you and baby.