It’s a natural part of life and we all have to go through it, but teething isn’t something toddlers deal with very well and every parent braces themselves for when “it’s time”. It can be quite painful with some suffering more than others, their young gums haven’t had a chance to toughen up yet and the sensation of cutting teeth is new to them.
Here are a few home remedies to help ease the discomfort and the result may be both you and your baby get some well-needed rest ;).
Keep in mind that there are commercial items you can buy such as topical gels, tablets and baby Tylenol that can help dull the pain, but consult your doctor or pharmacist first for recommendations and ask for what risks (if any) they may pose.
First, how to tell if teething is the problem…
- Cranky and irritable
- Gums are red and swollen (especially where tooth is coming through)
- Chewing on fingers and toys
- More drool than usual
- Trouble sleeping
- Redness or rash on cheeks or chin
- Sore ears
- Loss of appetite
- Loose stool or mild diarrhea
- Wash your hands well then rub your finger along the gums, massage them slowly but firmly.
- Soak a clean washcloth in water and freeze then let them chew on it. The cold will numb the pain. If that doesn’t work, try soaking a cloth in chamomile tea and then freeze.
- A common recommendation is to give the baby a frozen piece of food such as a waffle, bagel, carrot stick or popsicle but these can be a choking hazard if pieces aren’t large enough or chunks break off, do so only with close supervision.
- Freeze chewing toys and have them at the ready for when trouble starts making an appearance.
- Have them sip on cold water or juice, the coolness will soothe the mouth.
- Chilled metal spoons can offer relief when the toddler chews on them, but only give this to a child while they’re closely supervised, sitting and buckled in (high chair or car seat). A tipsy toddler can fall forward or trip shoving the spoon deep into the mouth and cause serious injury.
- Mix 2 tablespoons of olive oil with 1 drop of clove oil then massage onto gums. Clove oil is a natural analgesic but it’s too strong for youngsters if used full strength (will burn), make sure to dilute in olive oil first.
Notice a trend in this list? Chilled items work well, even feeding your child spoonfuls of chilled yogurt or pudding can help. Keep a tub of washcloths and rubber rings in the freezer so you’ll always have one ready during troublesome moments.
What about brandy? Rubbing brandy or other alcohol along the gums is an old wives remedy used for many decades but it is now recognized as unsafe to use on youngsters and no longer advised or recommended.
If your child is suffering for long periods of time and the above remedies don’t help, consult your doctor for a commercial product as advised above. If you have a tried-and-true that isn’t mentioned here, please share in the comments below (a desperate mom or dad will surely be grateful for the tips).