Teething can be distressing for some babies, but there are ways to make it easier for them. Every baby is different, and you may have to try a few different things until you find something that works for your baby.
Teethers give your baby something safe to chew on. This may ease their discomfort and distract them from any pain. Some teethers, like the MAM Mini Cooler and Clip teether, can be cooled first in the fridge, which may help to soothe your baby’s gums. It also has a teether clip which keeps teether safe and clean.
The instructions that come with the teether should tell you how long to chill it for. Never put a teether in the freezer, as it could damage your baby’s gums if it gets frozen. Also, never tie a teething ring around your baby’s neck, as it may be a choking hazard.
For babies over four months old, you can rub sugar-free teething gel on their gums. You can get teething gel from your local pharmacy. Teething gels often contain a mild local anaesthetic, which helps to numb any pain or discomfort caused by teething. The gels may also contain antiseptic ingredients, which help to prevent infection in any sore or broken skin in your baby’s mouth.
Make sure you use a teething gel that’s specially designed for young children and not a general oral pain relief gel, as these aren’t suitable for children. It’s best to talk to your pharmacist or GP before using a teething gel for babies under four months old.
If your Baby is Chewing
One of the signs that your baby is teething is that they start to chew on their fingers, toys or other objects they get hold of. If your baby is six months or older, you can give them healthy things to chew on, such as raw fruit and vegetables. Pieces of apple or carrot are ideal. You could also try giving your baby a crust of bread or a breadstick.
Always stay close when your baby is eating in case they choke. It’s best to avoid rusks, because nearly all brands contain some sugar. Avoid any foods that contain lots of sugar, as this can cause tooth decay, even if your child only has a few teeth.
Paracetamol and Ibuprofen
If your baby is in pain or has a mild raised temperature (less than 38C), you may want to give them a sugar-free painkilling medicine that is specifically for babies and young children.
These contain a small dose of paracetamol or ibuprofen. Children under 16 years old shouldn’t have aspirin. Always follow the instructions that come with the medicine. If you’re not sure, speak to your GP or pharmacist.
How Long Will Teething Last?
There’s no set date when your baby’s first tooth will arrive. Most babies start teething at around six months, but it can happen at any time, from before birth to after their first birthday. Teething could carry on for a year or more. Your little one should have all of their milk teeth by the time they are two and a half years old.