Teething : How to help your baby
The teething process might be uncomfortable for some babies, as the first set of teeth that erupt out of your baby’s gums might cause swelling and soreness. For some babies teething is not a particularly painful process and they go through it without too much fuss. However for some babies there is a considerable amount of discomfort during the process. The following is a short guide to your baby’s teething journey.
At what age do the primary teeth first appear?
For most babies the primary set of teeth (usually the lower two appear first, followed by the upper two) appear at around 6 months. However this is an average age and it varies from 3 to 12 months of age. Between 2 and half years to 3 years is when their full set of milk teeth all come out.
How do I know that my baby is teething?
Sometimes the actual teeth take longer than a few days to appear but there are symptoms of discomfort that are related to the teething that you can look out for. For example:
Drooling– A sudden increase in drooling might be seen in your teething child.
Irritability– Your child will be overly irritable and sensitive due to the pain that he is going through.
Rash on his chin– due to the constant contact with the saliva (due to the increase in drooling) rashes may form on the skin. To prevent this, parents can gently wipe it away or put petroleum jelly so that there isn’t any direct contact between the skin and the saliva.
Refusal of food– the baby might turn away from breastfeeding or the bottle because the sucking motion increases the pain in the gums. A good way to encourage your baby to eat is by giving him cold or chilled foods that will numb the pain.
Biting– An obvious sign would be if your baby is biting anything he can get a hold of to help him relieve the itch in his gums.
Red, swollen gums are another sign of the newly approaching tooth.
What can I do to relieve some of the discomfort?
Babies are usually quite unsettled when they begin to teeth and there are some methods to help relieve the distress that teething causes.
*Rubbing the gums in gentle circular motions helps. Your baby might initially pull away from this but will quickly start to find it soothing.
*Teething rings(water, gel or rubber ones are available in the market).
*You can dip a clean dishcloth in water, freeze it and then let your baby chew on it.
*Frozen bananas would be welcomed, only if your baby is already on solids.
*Very cold yoghurt, pureed fruits or other such cold treats will lessen the discomfort(as well as encourage him to eat in spite of the uneasiness).
*There are some medicines, gels etc. you can give your baby but only do so if your baby is in extreme distress and after you have consulted with your physician.
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