Babies start teething around six months, with symptoms including irritability, drooling, and a desire to chew on objects. Pain relievers designed for babies can help, but should only be given after consulting a doctor. Other tips include wiping drool to prevent rashes, giving clean objects to chew, and cooling teething rings or towels. Topical pain relievers can also help, but should be used carefully.
In most cases, babies start teething around six months. Some start earlier, about three months, and some wait until about 12 months. Teething symptoms include irritability, drooling, and a desire to chew on objects. Other teething symptoms include sleep disturbances and refusal to eat.
Often a telltale symptom of teething is a fussy baby. If a baby is very irritable or won’t sleep due to teething, a pain reliever designed for babies can help calm him down, as it helps soothe his aching gums. A parent should only give the child acetaminophen or ibuprofen after consulting the child’s doctor and should only give the child the dose indicated on the package. Aspirin is not suitable for children, as it can cause a serious illness known as Reye’s syndrome.
Other teething symptoms include salivation. Drool can cause a baby’s face to develop a rash if not cleaned up. The parent should wipe the drool with a washcloth often to prevent it from irritating the baby’s skin. Applying petroleum jelly can help protect your skin from drool.
During teething, a baby’s gums will appear swollen, which leads to other teething symptoms, including a refusal to eat or chew on objects. A child can put his fingers or toys in his mouth to deal with the pain. Because a child’s fingers or toys can contain bacteria, a parent should give the child something like a clean washcloth or a ring of gum to chew. Liquid-filled teething toys should be avoided because they may burst if the baby chews them too hard.
Cooling the teething ring or towel first can further ease the pain. A cold, hard fruit, such as an apple, can also help ease your baby’s pain. The teething ring or cloth should always be washed after use and before being given to the baby again.
A parent can also try cleaning a child’s gums with a finger or, after teeth start to appear, use a cold, damp washcloth to soothe pain and reduce swelling. Topical pain relievers designed for teething can also help reduce teething symptoms, but a parent should be careful not to use them too often or in too large doses. Overuse of a topical pain reliever can numb your child’s throat. Before using a topical gel on a child’s gums, a parent should talk to their doctor to make sure it’s safe to do so.