Babies' teething hurts. Here are some ways to make it better

Most babies will have discomfort when they teethe, and some will be in pain. Certain methods will make the process easier.

 Pediatrician with baby at clinic (photo credit: INGIMAGE)
Pediatrician with baby at clinic
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)

First, there was colic, then there was the four-month-old crisis. Now it’s time for teething pain. This challenging period can begin as early as three months, but some babies’ first teeth appear only when they turn one.

Dorit Ben Meir, a diagnostic and developmental therapist, sleep consultant and infant massage instructor, wants to lower your stress level and reassure you that every baby experiences teething differently.

Sometimes teeth appear without babies being aware and they might not have pain but for some babies the process is long, tedious and painful.

Signs that teething is starting

  • Increased salivation
  • Red and swollen gums
  • Lack of appetite
  • Daytime discomfort and restlessness
  • Keeps waking up during the night
  • Chews on hands for friction

 Baby (Illustrative). (credit: Ignacio Campo/Unsplash) Baby (Illustrative). (credit: Ignacio Campo/Unsplash)

Pain relief methods

  • Teething rings - Put in freezer or fridge and give to the baby; cold relieves the pain.
  • Massage - Massage the mouth and gums area. A silicone thimble can be used inside the mouth, while the massage relieves pain. Of course, if the baby signals that it’s unpleasant don’t push it.
  • Painkillers - Use drops or a soothing gel. Ask your doctor about appropriate use especially if the drops will sedate the baby. Excessive sedation may impact respiratory function.
  • Food -Give a piece of cold food if the baby has started solids.

Remember teething is a normal part of the developmental process. Stay calm and flexible. Give lots of hugs, massage, try to stay calm and patient when the baby wakes up during the night and always make sure to respond to crying.

This article was written in partnership with the JAMA parenting app.