A contented baby becomes a little fussier. A baby that has been sleeping through the night starts to wake up again. Baby drools so much his clothes need to be changed many times a day…sounds like teething has begun!
Babies’ first teeth usually erupt through the gums when babies are between 4-7 months old, but there will some babies who get teeth earlier or a good bit later than the norm. Babies often begin “teething” weeks or months before the first tooth arrives. Symptoms include fussiness, drooling, and chewing on anything baby can get into his mouth. Initially parents may think baby has an ear infection. Tooth pain can radiate into the area of the ear, causing baby to pull on his ear. Mild diarrhea and diaper rash are not uncommon among teething babies. While doctors disagree as to whether or not a fever in a baby can be caused by teething, most grandmas will say it can!
It can be tempting to give over-the-counter pain reliever to a baby, but teething can last a long time. Frequent use of pain relievers for teething is not safe or recommended. Likewise, use of antihistamines to help a teething baby sleep is a dangerous practice and is never recommended.
Fortunately, there are some comfort measures you can offer your baby during this season.
1. Keep some wet washcloths in the freezer. Baby will love to chew on them. The cold will feel so good on his gums.
2. Invest in some teething toys for baby. Look for all natural ones.
3. Distraction. Take baby on a stroller ride. Read him some board books. Give him a back rub.
4. Frozen applesauce or cold and soft baby food may be more comforting to a teething baby than warm foods. A teething baby may refuse his bottle or might not want to nurse. If a breastfed baby begins biting or chewing while nursing (ouch!) quickly end the nursing session, or pull the baby in very close. This is counterintuitive, but it makes it so the baby has to open his mouth and unable to bite.
5. Let baby play (supervised) in a warm bath to which you have added 1/2 cup baking soda. The bath will be a distraction and a baking soda bath may help with the pain and inflammation. Given right before bedtime it may help him to sleep better.
6. Chamomile Tea – Keep some chamomile tea bags on hand during this season. Make a cup of chamomile tea and give baby a teaspoon every hour or two. This tea will keep in the refigerator for 24 hours. No need to sweeten, it isn’t a bitter tea. (And never sweeten anything for baby with honey before he is a year old.)
7. Make your own teething oil. Store-bought teething oils often include a lot of ingredients that are hard to pronounce. You can make a teething oil with 2 tablespoons of extra virgin coconut oil, 1 tablespoon dry chamomile flowers, and 1 tablespoon of whole cloves. Heat together gently for an hour or two. (Do not simmer or boil, though.) Strain out the cloves and chamomile. Massage a bit of your teething oil onto baby’s gums as needed.
Continue reading below to see what Earth Clinic readers have found helpful for their teething babies!