Teething refers to the process in which an infant’s first set of teeth start emerging through the gums. These teeth are often known as ‘baby teeth’ or ‘milk teeth’, usually arriving in pairs.
Generally, teething begins between 6 and 8 months of age, and it can take up to 2 years for all the teeth to come through.
For some babies, teething may cause no problem at all, but it can create a lot of discomfort and pain for many.
Some signs and symptoms of teething are swollen and tender gums, excessive dribbling, slight fever, fussiness, difficulty sleeping, crying, tendency to bite on things, red cheeks, earaches and mild diarrhea, to name a few. Some may even refuse to eat or breastfeed.
Teething babies can be difficult to handle, but you can help ease your child’s discomfort. There are many simple strategies as well as home remedies that can make the teething process easier for your little one.
Here are the top 10 ways to treat teething discomfort in babies.
1. Chilled Carrots
If your baby has started eating solid foods, a long piece of chilled carrot can be offered. The cold temperature will help soothe gum pain and the sweet carrot juice will make the baby full.
Chewing on hard carrots also will put pressure on the sore gums, which will provide relief.
- Peel and wash a large carrot. Chill it in the refrigerator for 15 to 20 minutes then give it to your baby. Make sure to keep a close eye on your baby, as any pieces of the carrot that break off might pose a choking hazard.
- In addition to carrots, you can offer your teething infant a piece of chilled cucumber, celery or apple.
Note: Do not give your baby anything that is frozen, as contact with extreme cold can be harmful.
2. Massage the Gums
Sometimes, a simple massage of the sore gums helps a lot in easing a teething baby’s discomfort. Gentle pressure helps reduce pain and calm the fussy baby.
- Use your clean finger or a moistened soft washcloth to rub your baby’s gums for a few seconds. The baby may resist in the beginning, but soon he or she will start feeling better.
- Also, massage the baby’s face and jaw area in a circular motion.
The herb chamomile can help ease teething discomfort in babies older than 1 year of age. It has anti-inflammatory properties that help relax the painful nerves. It even helps calm an upset stomach.
- Steep ½ teaspoon of dried chamomile flowers in 1 cup of hot water. Strain and give your child 1 teaspoon of this tea every hour or two.
- Mix 4 or 5 drops of chamomile essential oil in 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil. Warm the mixture in your hands, then use it to massage your baby’s jaw and around the ears. Repeat a few times daily.
4. Vegetable Juice Pops
Vegetables such as carrot and beetroot are good for babies. These vegetables contain anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce gum pain and irritation. Plus, carrots and beetroots help strengthen your baby’s immune system.
- Extract the juice of a few carrots and beetroots to get 1 cup of each juice.
- Mix the juices together and pour into ice pop molds that come with handles.
- Put them in the refrigerator to freeze.
- Remove the vegetable juice pops from the mold and give to your baby. The sweetness of vegetable juice and the cold temperature of the ice pops will help calm your baby.
To calm your fussy baby, try foot reflexology. It can be effective in soothing the baby as firstly, babies respond well to touch and secondly, certain pressure points on the feet help alleviate tooth pain and promote better sleep.
For teething babies, massaging the top of the foot, specifically the toes can provide some temporary relief.
- Rub some warm oil on your baby’s foot.
- Apply gentle pressure on the toes (at the bottom) with the help of your thumb.
- Finally, give a nice massage to the whole foot.
- Do this for no longer than 5 minutes. Repeat once or twice a day.
6. Arrowroot Cookies
Arrowroot cookies can also help alleviate teething symptoms. Being rich in starch, arrowroot helps treat a fussy tummy, a common problem in teething babies. Arrowroot is allergen-free and safe for small babies.
Plus, babies can chew on a hard arrowroot cookie for a long time without breaking it into little pieces.
To calm a fussy baby, offer him or her an arrowroot cookie.