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Baby Teething – Managing Teething Symptoms

Posted Apr 12 2010 9:22am

managingteethingsymptomsBy Colleen Hurley, RD, Certified Kid’s Nutrition Specialist

It is one thing to be aware of a baby’s teething timeline as well as the signs and symptoms of teething, but managing teething symptoms is quite another story.  As part of the teething series, managing teething symptoms could arguably be the most poignant for parents because most moms and dads often feel at loss as to how to make their teething baby feel better.

Rule Out Mirrored Teething Symptoms

The first and most important step in managing teething symptoms is to be sure those symptoms are indeed teething.  Lots of symptoms get lumped into a general teething category- including fever, fussiness, diarrhea, drooling, or sometimes stuffy nose; but could also be signs of a cold or illness.  If symptoms persist or worsen, or fever continues to climb, do not assume it is teething and call your pediatrician.

Home Teething Remedies

There are a lot of simple tools around the house to help manage teething symptoms including:

  • Cold washcloth: run a cold washcloth under cold water or place in the freezer for a minutes and be sure to wash after each use
  • Teething ring:  a bpa free teething ring feels good on swollen gums but avoid ones with liquid inside because they may break.  Also, if you put one in the freezer make sure make sure it is not frozen solid because this can bruise already irritated gums so the fridge is a better place for storage
  • Clean fingers: wash hands first, then run a clean finger over baby’s gums  
  • Cold foods: if eating solid foods, try giving a chilled mashed banana or avocado
  • Teething biscuits: opt for a food allergen free first teething biscuit
  • TLC: good old fashioned tender loving care in the form of extra hugs and cuddling

Over the Counter Teething Remedies

There are several over the counter teething remedies on the market that may also provide some relief:

  • Teething gels: often debated, baby teething gels can provide temporary relief but can also leave baby objecting to the strange sensation of a numb mouth and run the risk of an allergic reaction
  • Pain relievers: should be a last resort and should not be used without consult your physician first
  • Homeopathic remedies: increasing in popularity, homeopathic teething remedies may also provide relief and are generally non-toxic however, little is documented about their efficacy (since babies cant’ speak) so they should only be used under the guidance of a health care professional

Coping with Teething Irritability

For all those other fussy, behavioral symptoms first make sure you are ok.  It’s trying to cope with a fussy crying baby so take a deep breath and try to relax.  Your baby will feel tense if you are tense so alternate times with your partner or enlist the help of grandparents, aunts, uncles, or babysitters so that you don’t get too burnt out.

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