One of the hardest things about being a parent is when your child, no matter what their age, is ill or in pain. The feeling of helplessness is overwhelming, and it’s made even worse if they are too young to be able to tell you what’s wrong.
The first time you’re likely to experience this is when they start teething.
Thankfully there are a number of signs and symptoms that tend to accompany teething, so it’s possible for you to work out what’s wrong with your little one.
Children tend to experience some, or a combination of the following:
- Red or flushed cheeks
- Drooling (more than usual)
- Red/swollen gums
- Ear rubbing (this will be on the same side the tooth is coming through on)
- Reduced appetite
- Restlessness and difficulty sleeping (especially at night)
- Increased biting, gnawing, or gum-rubbing
- Increased temperature (usually shortly before a tooth breaks the surface)
Ways to reduce pain
As the teeth start to push up, your baby’s gums will become swollen, and it’s this which causes the pain. For some it doesn’t cause much discomfort, for others it can be a really difficult and painful time, lasting a few days, to months as teeth keep coming through.
There are lots of teething and pain relief products in the form of medicines and tonics available, both over the counter and via your GP. Some of these are more effective than others, though one downside to gels and rubs is that they often wear off quickly, thanks in part to your baby’s increased drool. Equally, it is important to look at the sugar content in any medicines you are planning to use, as sugar can ironically be one of the leading causes in tooth decay.
If you want to try to use some alternative methods instead of, or as well as traditional medicines, there are some other options too.
For fast, instant (although temporary) relief, you may find that rubbing your finger over your baby;s gums is a great help. The pressure relieves the pain, though, it is a fleeting help for when you’re perhaps out and about!
Teething rings offer the same sort of help, but for a longer period of time, although is only beneficial in children who are able to manipulate objects themselves. Solid, silicone based rings are the best, as liquid filled ones can’t be sterilised, and do have the risk of leaking.
For added pain relief, you can always put the ring in the fridge to provide a cooling effect. It’s best not to put them in the freezer, as this can make them too solid, and this will ultimately hurt the gums even more.
For a stylish ways to help with your baby’s teething, try teething jewellery. These have been specially designed to not only look stylish for you to are good for your baby to teeth on. Take a look at Mama & Belle
With my first child I used Aston & Parsons teething powders. A traditional herbal medicinal product used for the symptomatic relief of teething pain and the symptoms associated with teething based on traditional use only. They worked wonders.
A dummy can also help, as a teething baby will often chew on the teat. However, if your child currently doesn’t have a dummy, they may not be interested. Equally, you may not want to use this option if you are breastfeeding.
How old was your child when they got their first tooth, and what did you find helped most with teething pain? Pop over to our Facebook page and get involved with the discussion.