The Trials of Teething
Wondering why your just-started-sleeping-through-the-night bundle of joy suddenly started waking up crying every couple of hours again? Chances are it's teething time. The real trials of teething actually start before those pearly whites break through.
When does teething start? There's no set timetable -- it can be anywhere between three and 12 months.
What signs should I look for? You might notice your baby drooling more than usual. He'll probably try to chew on everything in sight; slight pressure on the gums actually helps alleviate some of the pain. He may start waking up in the middle of the night again if he's uncomfortable. Some teething babies start eating less; others start tugging on their ears as a response to the discomfort.
What can I do to help make my baby feel better? Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to help relieve teething pain:
- Numb the gums. If you decide to try a gum-numbing gel, be sure to choose one without benzocaine. You can also go with a homemade remedy: Freeze a wet washcloth in a resealable plastic bag and let your baby chew on it as it defrosts.
- Soothe the gums. Babies' own fingers actually make great teethers: They're reasonably soft and impossible to lose! Wooden teething toys can be useful, but be careful of those with paints and finishes. Choose products that use non-toxic paints and finishes or those that are unfinished. You might also want to try water-filled teething rings that can be chilled in the refrigerator.
- Ease the pain. Over-the-counter infant pain relievers (like acetaminophen or ibuprofen) will help reduce your baby's discomfort. If you're not sure about dosage, ask your pediatrician first.