Cranky Babies & Teething Blues: Help Is Here!

It’s a natural part of life and we all go through it, but teething isn’t something toddlers deal with very well. Every parent braces themselves for when “it’s time” since sleepless nights and “irritated” days have arrived.

It’s usually quite uncomfortable with some poor bambinos suffering more than others, tender 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 treatments to help ease the discomfort and the results glorious: Both parents and babe get some well-needed rest ;).

Keep in mind there are commercial products available for purchase such as topical gels, tablets and baby Tylenol–each promising to help dull the pain. Consult a doctor or pharmacist first for recommendations and ask for what risks (if any) they may pose.

First, how to tell if teething is indeed the problem…

Signs & Symptoms:

  • Cranky and irritable
  • Gums are red and swollen (especially where tooth is coming through)
  • Fever
  • Chewing on fingers and toys
  • More drool than usual
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Redness or rash on cheeks or chin
  • Congestion
  • Sore ears
  • Loss of appetite
  • Loose stool or mild diarrhea

Effective Home Remedies

  • Wash hands thoroughly then rub your finger along the inflamed area, massaging slowly, firmly.
  • Soak a clean washcloth in water and freeze then give to gnaw on. The cold numbs 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 may be a choking hazard if pieces aren’t large enough or chunks break off, close supervision is vital.
  • Have frozen chewing toys at the ready for when trouble starts making an appearance.
  • Sips on cold water or juice, the coolness will soothe the mouth.
  • Chilled metal spoons offer relief when the toddler gnaws on them, 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 utensil deep into the mouth and cause serious injury.
  • Mix 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 drop of clove oil, massage over gums. Clove oil is a natural analgesic…Careful! It’s too strong for youngsters if used full strength (will burn). Make sure to dilute in olive oil beforehand.

Notice a trend in this list? Cool items do the trick, even feeding the child spoonfuls of chilled yogurt or pudding can be beneficial. Keep a tub of washcloths and rubber rings in the freezer so one is always ready for service during troublesome moments.

What about brandy? Rubbing brandy or other alcohol into the inflamed soreness is an old wives treatment embraced for many decades–the practice is now recognized as unsafe to use on youngsters and no longer encouraged or recommended.

If your child is suffering for long periods of time and the above remedies don’t work, consult pediatrician for a commercial product as advised above. Do 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).

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    • annie

    Just want to say something about the teething gel as for baby orajel I am not a fan of using this and it worries me for the babies a woman I know used this on her son it made his gums tough and he had problems teething he was almost two before his first tooth came in if you do use this I would recommend massageing it in so it can help the tooth come in also I’m concerned about if some gets in the babies throat numbs it and they strangle on their salvia I may be a worry wort to say but I work with babies and never advise that gel to use for any of my parents all of them use the frozen cloth or teething rings

      • Sierrah

      I heard some where that rubbing butter on thier gums helps.

    • Erin

    Should also mention that, until you know the signs well enough to be sure it’s teething, check with your doctor to confirm the cause – ear infections have many of the same symptoms.

    • Jessie

    i was told to take a old recieveing blanket cut in squares (hankerchif size) then take a pice of bread cut off the crust spread butter on both sides (a small amount) sprinkle sugar on it then wrap in the cloth square use a rubberband to fasten. put in a ziploc bag and throw in the fridge or freezer till you need them. before you give to baby wet it a small bit so the sugar seeps through. give to baby and watch them enjoy 🙂 the cloth helps massage the gum so the tooth can come through.

    • Jan

    Annie, I think you might be worrying unnecessarily. There was a recent study about teething gels with benzocaine being very dangerous, and I will not give that to my twins, but Orajel Naturals is made with cloves and should be safe. My girls really don’t like it so I stopped giving it to them, but they love Hyland’s teething gel. I rub a dot on their gums, so there is no risk of them choking on it, and I give them two Hyland’s teething tablets under the tongue. These are homeopathic, very safe and work wonders!

    • Danielle

    Humphrey’s teething tablets or homeopathic chamomile has worked for me. I have used baby orajel for a few as a last resort for extreme cases when the baby is screaming in pain and it’s two in the morning and nothing else is working.

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