Teething is a milestone for babies. But I feel it is a big milestone for the parents too. Teething monster strikes these babies badly and we need to prepare ourselves well before its arrival. There are many signs associated with teething. It is important for us to identify those signs and help our little ones.
This symptom cannot be missed. Whenever the baby is teething, he drools a lot. You might notice that the t-shirts gets soggy due to the saliva. Take a soft dry cloth and keep the skin dry to avoid rashes.
You might notice that babies who are teething wake up at night gagging and coughing. This is again because of the excess saliva produced. This is not a reason to worry unless the baby doesn’t have any other symptoms of flu.
Rash on face/neck
The drooling can cause rashes around the mouth, chin or neck. Make sure that all these ares are dried frequently. You can use a good moisturiser. Nursing creams can also be helpful.
The gums are irritated and thus, the baby tends to chew on his fingers, toys or anything that he can get his hands on. Biting soothes his gums. You can offer sterilised teether or rattle.
The swollen gums with teeth trying to erupt cause a lot of pain to the little ones. This makes them cranky and clingy.
The sprouting teeth can cause more irritation and pain at night. That may cause sleep disturbance in your little one.
Loss of appetite
The paining and irritated gums make it difficult for babies to eat. Breastfeeding babies sometimes go on nursing strike while teething. Older ones refuse to eat food. Try to give your child whatever he is able to eat.
Ear pulling/cheek rubbing
Again a sign of irritated gums. Gums, ears and cheeks share nerve pathways. So they tag their ears or rub cheeks. This is also associated with ear infections.
Myths associated with teething
Teething does not cause fever ! The increased irritability makes the babies chew on everything. That might cause a stomach infection, and hence, fever. Never take a fever lightly and blame teething. If a baby has a body temperature above 101 degrees F, consult the doctor immediately.
Baby chewing fingers must be teething
Babies discover their hands at the age of three to four months and we all know that the best way to explore is to put them in their mouth. That does not mean that they are teething.
Runny nose and cough
Teething is not associated with runny nose and cough.
If there are more than two bowel movements, consider checking with your doctor.
Its too early/late for baby to be teething
Some babies have teeth very early and some are late bloomers. Every baby is different. Thus, do not worry if your baby does not have the teeth yet. If your kid beyond 1 year old has no teeth, it’s a good idea to visit a paediatric dentist just to make sure the teeth appear to be developing correctly.
Precautions to be taken
- Wash hands frequently. The dirty hands transfer germs to the mouth and can cause stomach infection.
- Take care if giving water or gel filled teether.
- While giving fruits and vegetables to chew, make sure none of them can pose a choking threat.
How to soothe the pain
- Put a clean and wet washcloth in the freezer. Later, offer it to your baby. It helps in numbing the gums.
- Massage the gums with clean fingers. The counter pressure soothes the pain.
- You can distract the baby from the pain by giving him toys to play or a new activity to do. Love ad cuddle him as much as possible. The healing power of touch can work wonders.
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