Teething typically begins at around 6 months of age and can be unpleasant -- both for the baby and his anxious parents, who may be up all night comforting their crying child. When teething-associated discomfort is keeping everyone in the house awake, try these safe ways to comfort your baby and help everyone get a good night's sleep.
1. Teething Symptoms
Common symptoms of teething include swollen gums, irritability and excessive drooling. According to the Mayo Clinic, teething babies often chew on solid objects, from toys to their own fingers, to soothe the irritation. Excessive drool sometimes causes a facial rash. The University of Michigan Health System also asserts that many parents and pediatricians have associated diarrhea and a slight fever with teething, although there is no scientific basis for these symptoms.
2. Soothing Techniques
Soothe your teething baby and help him fall asleep by providing him with something to chew on. For example, the Mayo Clinic recommends providing your baby with a hard rubber teething ring. A damp washcloth is another safe way for your baby to ease the pain associated with teething. Rubbing your baby's gums with your finger or a damp washcloth will also alleviate the symptoms. Help your baby fall asleep by allowing him to chew on his pacifier or a damp washcloth while rocking him. In addition, the University of Michigan Health System also recommends distracting the baby by singing a quiet lullaby or patting him gently.
3. Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers
Administering over-the-counter medications, such as liquid ibuprofen or acetaminophen, is another option to help quiet a cranky, teething baby. The Food and Drug Administration urges parents to contact their pediatrician before giving your baby an over-the-counter pain reliever. Discuss the correct dosage with your baby's doctor and how often to administer the medicine. In addition, the FDA also strongly suggests parents use the dosing syringe or cup provided with the medication.
4. When to Call the Doctor
Although irritability, excessive drooling and facial rashes are common signs associated with teething, there are instances when your baby can develop other, more dangerous symptoms some parents mistakenly associate with teething. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, only “mild” fevers, or those not over 101 degrees, are associated with teething. If your baby spikes a fever higher than 101 degrees, is having trouble sleeping or suffers from extreme irritability or diarrhea, the Mayo Clinic urges parents to contact their pediatrician immediately.
- The Mayo Clinic: Teething: Tips for Soothing Sore Gums
- WebMD: Teething: Topic Overview
- University of Michigan Health System: Pain and Your Infant: Medical Procedures, Circumcision and Teething
- Food and Drug Administration: Know Concentration Before Giving Acetaminophen to Infants
- American Academy of Pediatrics: Teething: 4 to 7 Months
- Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images