When the first teeth begin to grow, between the age of four and eight months, a baby may experience a lot of discomfort; the gums may redden, become tender and swollen. Some babies will sail smoothly through this phase of teething, but others may experience teething problems, like becoming fussy and irritable and may even develop sleeping problems. When babies have teething problems, they tend to suck on their thumbs. The condition is most common for the first 2-4 teeth, but may occur when other teeth emerge too, and this can go on till the age of three. Teething gels and painkilling syrups for babies can give relief. But you can also try some of the home remedies listed below.
Apart from giving the baby love and cuddling and being patient during the teething phase, some of the following remedies can be of great help:
- Let the baby suck on a water-filled soother that has been chilled in the refrigerator. The cold temperature will have a soothing effect by numbing the gums and giving relief from pain.
- Take an ice cube and wrap it in clean muslin cloth, then apply it gently to the baby’s gums. Make sure the ice does not directly touch the gums, and keep it moving so that no one area becomes too cold.
- Apply the rounded part of a spoon chilled in the fridge – not in the freezer – to the part of the gums where a baby’s teeth is breaking out. It will numb the area and give relief from pain.
- Let your baby chew on a frozen peeled banana. It will thaw quickly, and relieve teething pain in the gums, but make sure you take away the banana when it becomes too mushy.
- Giving your baby extra affection, like cuddling or carrying the baby around wherever you go, as it can give relief from the pain, and have the additional benefit of distracting the baby it he/she is feeling uncomfortable.
- Gently massaging the baby’s gums with a clean finger can also relieve the pain.
- Mix two drops of clove oil in one tablespoon of vegetable oil, and rub it on the baby’s gums to soothe them. But first check it on your own gums to see that it’s not too strong; if it is, mix some more vegetable oil.
- You can buy some anaesthetising teething gel from a medical store that can help in giving relief from the pain or swelling in the gums. You need to make sure the gel is alcohol-free and is specifically recommended for babies.
- Soon after the teething phase begins, start brushing them to keep them clean. You can begin with an ultra soft toothbrush or alternatively rub the gums gently with a clean muslin face washer.