Think your baby has his first pearly whites on the way? Here’s the nine golden rules of teething you need to know.
1. Knowing the early warning signs really helps
Your baby won’t teeth in quite the same way as any other baby on the planet, so play detective and learn his warning signs. Common symptoms include:
- Dribbling or coughing – he’s making extra saliva as he teethes.
- A few choice nappies or an out-of-the-blue nappy rash from swallowing all that extra drool.
- A warm or flushed cheek.
- Trouble drinking, eating or sleeping.
- Pulling at his ear, chewing his fingers or batting his face.
- Being clingy or cranky.
2. It’s not only the tooth that’s coming through that’s hurting
Did you know, when your baby is born, the crowns of all 20 of his milk teeth were almost completely formed. You might not see his front teeth for a few months, or his molars for a few years, but they’re growing! Don’t dismiss that he’s still teething even when there’s not so much as a swollen gum.
3. Have teether friends
These will give your little one emotional comfort and something to knaw on, so be sure to invest in a tasty new pal for your little one! What’s more, you’ll need more than one kind – different teeth will cause different pain, so aim to get a couple made from different shapes and surfaces.
This award winning toy isn't a bestseller for no reason. Not only does Sophie look super cute, she'll help relieve your little one's sore gums.
Add teething gel to this clever little monkey to relieve your little one's sore gums.
Sophie the Giraffe's friend, the Kiwi bird has been designed to stimulate all of your baby's senses. If you don't like the look of him, check out the rest of the gang - Gabin the Bear and Lazare the Cat.
Designed to fit in your little one's hands, Gertie has a cute quack your little one will soon recognise.
4. Cold works
Keep a sealed tub of teethers in the fridge for your little one. If he’s already weaned, keep some chilled cucumber sticks and bananas in there as a gum-easing snack.
5. Nothing works better than the crook of your little finger
Wash your hands thoroughly, then let him relieve his discomfort.
6. Remember, teething doesn’t cause a fever
There’s no evidence to link teething to fevers, so don’t attribute a raised temperature or diarrhoea to his fangs. Ear infections can present very similar symptoms to teething, so as a general rule, if you’d be worried by his symptoms if he wasn’t teething, see your GP.
7. Use pain relief when you need to
If pressure isn’t enough to appease your teething baby, your next step should be to reach for a sugar free teething gel with a mild local anaesthetic to numb the pain. Make sure it’s one made specifically for infants as brands vary, and stick to the recommended dose and frequency. If he’s still in pain, medicine containing paracetamol or ibuprofen, but don’t use this as a long-term treatment: the rule is not to give it for more than three days without seeing your doctor.
8. Comfort him the way you know best
Whether that’s cuddles on the sofa, or walking with him in a front sling, settle him the best way you can.
9. Watch out for any extra discomfort
Teething can lead to other issues that add to your baby’s discomfort, so get there first with these simple tips:
- Dribbling can lead to a rah on his chin, so smear on a barrier of cream before it goes red.
- Sucking as he drinks can trigger pain - if you find your baby bobbing on and off your breast, see if he finds it easier to drink facing the other way. Swap the arm you’re holding him with if you’re bottle feeding, or let him feed from both breasts on his most comfortable side by popping his body under your arm like a rugby ball to find from the second boob.
- If he’s weaned, be led by him: he might find munching on something dry like toast brings relief, or find soft foods better.