Teething! One more new parenting adventure to add to the list. Teething is a natural process that affects babies in different ways and at different times, so it can be hard to know what to do when there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. The good news is that teething is temporary. Check out my top 10 tips for taking a bite out of the challenges of teething.
- Choose the right teething toy
So many cute options, but many of them are too big for your baby’s mouth. Choose a toy that gives them the ability to chew toward the front and back of the mouth to help soothe the areas where those pearly whites are erupting and help with jaw development.
- Pressure feels good
A firm rubber teething toy will provide more relief, because pressure feels good on their little gums.
- Cold soothes
Cold has a slight numbing effect, so wet a clean washcloth and stick it in the freezer. When you need it, grab it out of the freezer, give it a quick rinse under cool water and give it to baby to chew on. Avoid liquid filled teethers that are designed to be frozen – they can cause freezer burn and may be too hard for baby.
- Cold food helps too!
If your baby is on solids, give them cold food such as applesauce or yogurt. Look for items without additive sugars.
- Breastmilk makes a good popsicle
One of my favorite treats to give to my teething baby is a breastmilk popsicle. Freeze breastmilk in a silicone or mesh baby food feeder for them to suck on. For babies eating solids, frozen fruit also works!
- Consult your doctor for proper medication dosage.
When nothing is working to soothe your baby’s discomfort, especially at night, check with your doctor to see if a weight-appropriate dose of acetaminophen (Tylenol) may be appropriate. Or, for babies over six months only, ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil).
- Avoid products with benzocaine
Benzocaine is a popular over the counter product that causes numbing. Unfortunately, it also could cause a blood disorder condition called methemoglobinemia, which affects the amount of oxygen carried through the blood in children under 2 years old.
- Exercise caution with amber
Amber necklaces are a popular but unproven choice many parents make for teething babies. But they also carry the very real risk of choking, so use with caution.
- Embrace (but wipe off) the drool
Babies tend to drool a lot more during teething, but that doesn’t mean they can’t still look cute. Get bibs. Lots and lots of bibs. This will not only protect their cute outfit, but also help prevent a rash, which can happen if drool sits on their skin for too long.
- Schedule an appointment with your dentist!
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends scheduling your child’s first dental appointment as early as when the first tooth erupts, or by their first birthday to establish a dental home for your little and help with prevention or emergencies.
Remember, baby teeth will come in at different times. Ideally, all 20 baby teeth should be in by 33 months of age. Before you know it, you’ll be rewarded with a sweet, toothy smile.