For most infants, teething can be a trying and painful time. Although you may have had the occasional mum to comment "Teeth? Oh, I had no idea *insert baby name here* was even teething until I noticed a mouth full of pearly whites." If you are one of these mums, lucky you, but this article is for the caffeine swilling, sleep deprived, hardcore mums who would sell their soul for a few hours of peace without a clingy, screaming teething baby in tow.
When teething, babies can become irritable and grumpy
Thankfully this period doesn't last too long, but the shattering echos of a crying, teething baby are still firmly etched in my mind and probably will be forever.
All of my bubs teethed horribly, to the point of having blood visible under the gums. I tried every product known to man including baby paracetamol, but I had concerns about using it regularly. So here are tips that helped me during this exhausting time.
1 Give them something to chew on
Babies have a natural urge to bite down on when they are teething. If you give them something to bite down on, this can help the teeth to break through. Wet washcloths are good for this purpose as are water filled teething rings which you keep in the fridge. The coolness helps reduce painful swelling. If your baby refuses cold items you could try rubbing a clean finger on the gums and pushing down lightly.
2 Chamomile tea and homeopathic remedies
Chamomile is a cost effective natural relaxant and can help to calm and soothe an irritated baby. Infuse 1 tea bag in a cup of water, then let it cool. This can then be given with a teaspoon when needed. There are also several over the counter teething remedies available. These can be used safely as they are derived from natural ingredients.
3 Try an amber necklace
Some people believe this is hippy-la-la tripe, but at my wits end, I bought an Amber necklace for my 3rd child and his symptoms seemed to be greatly reduced. In my opinion, it's worth a try. You can read more information on the healing properties of amber here.
Malene Thyssen- Wikimedia Commons
4 Topical teething gels
Teething gels are applied to the source of the pain. They provide a numbing sensation to the irritated gums and can help reduce pain.
5 Medication and analgesics
Types of analgesic pain relief include baby paracetamol or ibuprofen. These should be used at the parents discretion and always according to the instructions on the bottle.
Getting a break is also necessary. Even if you feel your baby needs you it is important you also take care of yourself. If you have a friend or relative who is happy to look after the baby for a while, now is the time to take advantage of this. Get a couple of hours rest or do something you enjoy.