As a parent, you can often feel powerless during a teething phase. After all, a teething baby can be difficult to console. So what can you do to help?
We’ve outlined some helpful tips and tricks to support you and your child through their teething phase. Everything from what symptoms to expect, how long the teething phase should last and, most importantly, what you can do to help. So without further ado, here’s everything you need to know about teething:
What to expect
Typically, teething begins around the 6-12 month mark. But don’t worry too much if your child starts teething slightly sooner or later – most children can still expect to have their first set of milk teeth by 3 years old.
Now, depending on whether it’s just one tooth or a group of teeth erupting, the symptoms and duration of each teething phase can differ quite dramatically. One month your child could experience no symptoms at all – the next, they could be uncomfortable for weeks.
So, how can you best support your baby through each teething phase? Firstly we recommend getting familiar with the most common symptoms of teething. Teething symptoms include:
- Swollen gums – check if your child’s gums are red and sore to the touch
- Flushed cheek(s) – if only one cheek is flushed, they could be teething on that side of their mouth
- Constant chewing – notice if they’re chewing and gnawing on things more than usual
- Drooling – excessive dribbling can indicate that your baby is teething
- Rashes – raised (or flat) red patches that appear on their face
- Mild temperature – reaching up to 38C
- Grabbing their face/ears – pay attention if your child uncharacteristically starts grabbing the face or ears
Tips for your teething baby
Now that you know what to expect (and what to look out for), we can start exploring practical ways to support your teething baby! Here are five tried and tested ways to help your child through their teething phase:
Teething is uncomfortable (if you’re lucky enough to have your wisdom teeth, you’ll understand), so be sympathetic with your child and offer them additional care and attention.
Activities like playing games and reading can distract them from any uncomfortable sensations, whilst gentle rocking and cuddling them can help to soothe them.
Always carry a cloth
Perhaps not the tip you expected, but a useful one nonetheless! If, during their teething phase, your child is drooling more than usual, having a cloth on hand can help prevent further discomfort from teething rash or chapped skin.
Try teething rings
Teething rings are a lifesaver for any teething baby. Both durable and safe to chew on, teething rings help to relieve the pressure in your child’s gums. Just place them in the fridge beforehand to reduce inflammation.
(Note: never place teething rings in the freezer – if they freeze, they could end up damaging your baby’s gums.)
Gently massage their gums
If your teething rings have gone awry, you can always use a clean finger to massage your baby’s gums. Not only can you relieve some of their discomfort, but you can also feel where their teeth are coming through and how they’re progressing.
Use pain relief
Sometimes distractions just aren’t enough. If your baby is in pain and nothing else seems to be working, you can use pain relief to alleviate some of their more severe symptoms.
Pain relief like paracetamol and ibuprofen are safe for children 3 months or older and are proven to be far more effective than teething gels. However, if you’re unsure, ask for advice from a pharmacist or GP.
Teething is temporary
If your child is experiencing teething symptoms, we hope that these tips and tricks can help them along their teething journey. Although we cannot speed up the process, we can do our best to make it more comfortable for you both.