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Teething is the natural process during which your baby’s teeth start to grow in. It can start as early as 3 months or as late as 12 months. Typically, new teeth appear somewhere between 6 and 9 months. It can take up to several years for all 20 milk teeth to appear. Those 20 teeth are all there but buried in the gums. During teething, the new teeth slowly slide and twist their way through gum tissue and this can hurt. Some of the signs of teething are:
Restless or disrupted sleeping
Refusal of food
Fretting that comes and goes
Chewing fingers and hands
Mild rash around the mouth
Loose stools and mild diaper rash
How to help your baby when teething is causing pain and discomfort:
Wipe your baby’s face often with a cloth to remove the drool and prevent rashes from developing.
Place a drool-absorbing cotton cloth under the chin while your baby sleeps. Lubricate with a mild emollient in the sensitive area to form a barrier against the drool.
Give your baby something to chew on. It should be big enough so it cannot be swallowed and strong enough so it cannot break into smaller pieces. You can freeze a wet washcloth for 30 minutes before giving it to your baby or use a teething ring that can be cooled in the fridge first or specially designed toys with textures or even a frozen bagel, a popsicle or a cold spoon.
Gently rub your baby’s gums with a clean finger.
Apply some teething gel (which contain local anaesthetics) providing pain relief from sore gums but be careful to check the gel’s exact contents
Change diapers frequently if stools are loose and protect against diaper rash.
Don’t force your baby to eat but carry on with breast or formula feeding as normal and try something like cold pureed apple on a cold spoon.
If your baby is really suffering, then your doctor may prescribe a suitable medication for pain relief but be aware that some controversy surrounds the use of pain medicines in babies.
Normally, teething does not require a visit to the doctor unless of course you are worried that something other than teething may be causing symptoms. After 2 or 3 days, your baby will be smiling and happy once more until the next bout of teething!