Just when you think you’ve cracked it, sleeplessness once more is afflicting you and your child! As an infant begins to sleep through the entire night more consistently what is often experienced by the weary parents is that the child will start to teeth. Once more the exhausted parents are enduring sleepless or certainly sleep depraved nights.
Paediatricians will tell you that a baby as young as 3 months old can begin to teeth although usually it doesn’t occur until the five to six month stage. It can begin as late as 12 months. For all twenty of the deciduous teeth to emerge through the gums it can take a few years.
Cutting teeth is a phrase often used in this stage of an infant’s development. The teeth are not actually cutting the gums. What is occurring is a group of chemicals being released in the baby’s body which make some of the cells in the gums to expire and fall apart which facilitates the teeth to be able to come through.
Parents often think their child is sick because the symptoms of teething can begin to manifest a good while prior to the first teeth exposing themselves through the gums. The following is a list of typical teething symptoms:
- Whatever the baby can put in his mouth he will begin to chew
- Even the most passive of babies will begin to become more irritable and harder to comfort
- The baby will often have a runny nose. With teething, the fluid coming out of his nose will be clear. However, if the fluid is yellow or green the baby is likely to be suffering from a cold or an infection.
- Excessive drooling
- Swelling of the gums caused by the drooling
- A rash around the baby’s mouth is often seen caused by the drooling
Upon discovering these symptoms in your baby you should feel his gums. You may be able to feel the milk tooth underneath the surface. There are suggestions below to assist in alleviating the pain or discomfort experienced by your baby.
- Medicine’s as recommended by your baby’s paediatrician
- A dummy which has been cooled in the fridge. The coolness helps soothe baby’s gums
- Teething rings. These can also be placed in the fridge or freezer. Be careful not to let the baby get his hands on anything breakable or too small which he could choke on
- Giving the baby (as long as over six months old) food to chew on like a rusk (unsweetened). Cooled (but not chilled) food is good like slices of bread, carrot sticks and bananas for example.
- Gripe water has been noted as an aid to teething. It is often used for problems with colic and gas. When teething, the infant is usually fussier than normal which can affect his breathing and cause him to take in more air than usual. This, then leads to gas. Gripe water is known to relieve gas, which in turn then helps to relax your teething baby. It doesn’t necessarily help with the pain felt by the baby but it is a comforter because it alleviates the gas problem.
- Rubbing the baby’s gums using a clean finger can be can very comforting to him. There are some gels recommended by your doctor which can assist this
- A distressed baby can benefit enormously from lots of cuddles and comforting
- Be patient. The baby will be hard to please and irritable.
It does not take more than a few days for each tooth to emerge. However, the whole cutting teeth experience in a child will take place many times until all the milk teeth have come through.
By Eirian Hallinan