Natural Teething Solutions

Teething can be gruesome to most parents. Those baby teeth are starting to come in breaking through the gums which can cause much discomfort to babies. We are actually going through this phase right now with our son so I thought I would share some natural teething solutions with you. His teeth are a little late coming in at 10 months, though this is not unusual. There is actually a wide range for what the normal age is for teeth to come in. Some babies get their first tooth as early as three months, while others not until their first birthday.

Teething, though painful for babies, is just a natural part of development. Much like colic, it can be quite taxing on the parent. Distinguishing teething apart from sickness can be a little tricky because some common signs of teething could actually be symptoms of a cold or ear infection.

Signs of Teething

My son was a colicky baby and after he was 3 months old it was hard to tell if his fussiness was from gas or teething. Probably the most common sign that baby’s teeth are soon to arrive is crankiness and trouble sleeping through the night. Here are a few other indications:

  • Excessive drooling
  • Ear pulling
  • Irritability
  • Disruptive sleeping or eating patterns

Contrary to what your mother or grandmother might have told you, teething doesn’t usually cause fever or diarrhea. If your baby is running a temperature above 100 or has diarrhea it is best to consult with your pediatrician. Teething can cause discomfort in the jaw which may lead to ear pulling. However, if your baby is tugging on their ears and it is accompanied with fever and loss of appetite it could be a sign of an ear infection.

Natural Teething Solutions

Because it can be hard to tell if baby is coming down with an illness or just displaying signs of their new set of choppers appearing I prefer to err on the side of caution. There are safe, natural ways to soothe teething pain without the use of medicine.

1.) teething toyTeething toys and rings. Mouthing objects is a common part of oral development, though a teething infant will want to chew on things to help ease discomfort. Offer teething toys and rings for your baby to chomp down on. If the gums are swollen, try offering an ice ring but don’t leave it in the freezer until it becomes rock solid. You could also offer a cold washcloth by wetting it and placing it in the freezer for 30 minutes.

2.)gum massager Massaging baby’s gums. Use your finger or wrap a washcloth or gauze around it to rub the gums for relieving pain and discomfort; just be sure you wash your hands before placing in baby’s mouth. You can also purchase gum massagers if you prefer which have soft, textured nubs for massaging. These are shaped and designed like toothbrushes which can also promote healthy habits for teeth brushing.

3.) Offer a pacifier or a bottle. Giving your baby something to suck on such as a pacifier or bottle can help to alleviate teething pain and will not harm your baby’s teeth when used as a means of soothing. My son likes to gnaw on the spout of his sippy cup when his gums are bothering him so I’ll put a little bit of cold ice water (1-2 oz) in it to give to him. Neither of my kids liked pacifiers after their first month, but I know many moms who take a regular pacifier and squeeze the nipple under running water to fill it up then freeze it for a few minutes.

Offering a bottle once your baby has been weaned off of them won’t cause any harm as long as you:

–          Don’t put baby to sleep with a bottle (this can lead to cavities and tooth decay)

–          Only give it at meal times so baby isn’t sucking on it all day or offer a small amount of water in it.

–          Do not put juice in the bottle. The American Dental Association advises against offering juice to infants and toddlers because of the sugar content. Watering down juices as a means of diluting offers very little nutritional benefit. You are better off giving your baby fresh fruit as opposed to fruit juice.

4.) Cold fruit or veggies. Mesh feedersmesh feeder are a great way to offer solid foods to babies without the risk of choking because baby eats what goes through the mesh. These feeders make great teethers as well when used with cold or frozen fruits and vegetables. I recommend avoid fruits with tiny seeds that can pass through the mesh, however, such as strawberries.

5.) teething tabletsHyland’s Teething Tablets. These are homeopathic tablets made of all-natural ingredients to alleviate teething pain. An easy way to give them to your baby is to crush them with a spoon and add a little bit of water to give them.

Hyland’s also makes a teething gel, however this product is not made of completely natural or organic ingredients. It contains parabens, which many parents prefer to stray away from. The FDA advises against using teething gels containing the anesthetic benzocaine as it can pose risks to infants and in severe cases even lead to death.

Proper Teething Hygiene

A good practice is to clean baby’s gums prior to teeth coming in. You can do this simply by using a wet washcloth or a gum cleaner. Once your baby’s first tooth emerges, however, it is time to begin brushing. Taking care of baby teeth is essential for the health of the gums and permanent teeth. Here are the guidelines for proper brushing and hygiene according to the ADA:

  • Use warm water to brush teeth with a soft infant toothbrush. Non-fluoridated toothpaste is ok once your toddler makes 2, but only use a pea-sized amount and one that is specifically for toddlers
  • Brush teeth at least twice a day and after meals, especially after eating sweet foods such as fruits.
  • Once baby has 2 teeth, begin flossing.
  • Offer baby water after meals to wash off excess food, preferably tap as most commercial water supplies have fluoride added. If your tap water is not fluoridated, there are bottled water brands that contain added fluoride to them – just be sure not to give baby too much.
  • Schedule your baby’s first dental exam by the age of 1 or when your baby has 6-8 teeth in place (usually by 18 months)

If your baby still seems irritable after trying these natural teething solutions you should consult your child’s doctor before offering any pain medication. You should never place aspirin on a tooth or rub alcohol on the gums. Your doctor may advise the use of acetaminophen or ibuprofen for relieving teething pain depending on your baby’s age. You should only give these under your doctor’s advice for proper dosing instructions.

Reference: http://www.parents.com/baby/health/baby-teeth/http://kidshealth.org/parent/general/teeth/teething.html#

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