The teething saga usually begins around six months after birth, though for some it occurs earlier or later. This can be a challenging time for parents with a child having mood swings, problems sleeping and reacting to general discomfort. As those first teeth come through, however, there are a few things you can do to ease things and help baby cope.
Stick to Your Nightly Ritual
By the teething stage, you'll likely have a nightly rhythm established already. Maintaining this can play an important part in calming your baby. You may want to add a few extras to help them go to sleep such as a warming bath or a gentle lullaby.
Despite your best efforts, however, teething can become overwhelming which means you have to be reactive. When baby stirs after dozing off, giving them a few moments alone can help them master the art of self-settling. This doesn’t always work of course so be prepared to have a few sleepless nights as you guide them through this change.
Mitigating soreness during the daytime can significantly improve nighttime sleep. This is the time to introduce a teething ring or teething toy as something to chew on for baby. Some varieties can be refrigerated and provide more relief. You’ll be using it a lot so the chewable should also be sanitized routinely to reduce bacteria. If your baby is already exploring solid foods, consider offering a crunchy carrot stick, cooling cucumber, or even some chilled fruit purée to help with teething.
Before your baby goes to sleep for the night, you can take a few moments to gently massage their sore gums. Use a clean finger or a moistened piece of gauze and apply soft pressure to ease the discomfort. This not only numbs the affected area but also offers the soothing comfort of your touch. As a parent, you might be a little nervous about performing this type of activity but it can certainly build a strong bond with your child and can make a big difference to their comfort during teething
Coping with Dribbling
A side-effect of teething is the excessive dribbling that can lead to rashes around the mouth in some cases. It’s a simple thing to clean up these little dribbles and prevent any problems. Some bibs nowadays have a silicone tip that aids with teething and they are well worth investing in.
The emotional upheaval of teething impacts both the child and the parent. When your little one is agitated and teary, giving some extra snuggles can make a world of difference. Hold them close to let them sense your heartbeat and remind yourself that this toothy ordeal is but a fleeting chapter in their life.
Teething is probably the first big milestone after birth and one that parents often struggle with. The thing to be aware of is that, once a baby’s teeth have come through, things will return to normal. Patience and care go a long way to helping you both cope.