How many times have you heard a frazzled mother state that their baby’s fussiness is being caused by teething? This baby-sized rite of passage can cause some grown-up sized discomfort, leaving both baby and parents overwhelmed. Recognizing the signs of teething, and knowing how to relieve discomfort can help the whole process go more smoothly for everyone involved.
Signs of Discomfort
Teething isn’t always a painful experience, but when it is, your baby will let you know. Some of the most common signs of teething discomfort include:
Fussiness or agitation
Chewing on anything that will fit in their mouth
A mild fever (below 100° f)
Mild diarrhea on the day the tooth erupts
Remember, these symptoms should be mild. If your child has a high fever or severe diarrhea or agitation, make an appointment to see your doctor.
There are a lot of ways to ease your baby’s discomfort. The easiest way is to give her something cold to chew on. This will reduce inflammation, numb pain, and help the tooth erupt so the pressure can abate. You can buy water filled teething rings and freeze them before giving them to your baby. Another option is to wet a clean washcloth, ring it out thoroughly until it is only damp, and freeze that for the baby. It will feel good to chew on and give your baby something to focus on.
If the pain your baby is experiencing is more persistent, you might want to give her a little medicine to take the edge off. The recommended dose of infant Tylenol or Ibuprofen should do the trick, and can also help to reduce a mild fever. If you’re more partial to holistic remedies, teething tablets and chamomile teething rings are readily available at whole foods stores, and at most regular pharmacies.
A Word About Fevers
While a low-grade fever (below 100° f) can be a symptom of teething, anything above that is usually an indication of something more serious. The baby could have some other sort of mouth ailment, such as thrush, that requires a doctor’s attention. If your baby is having trouble eating, sleeping, or is pulling at her ears, the culprit may be an ear infection, even if her fever is low. If she has diarrhea that is severe, or that persists for more than a few hours, a stomach bug is probably to blame more than her teething problems are. It’s important to monitor your baby’s teething symptoms, and take her in to the pediatrician if she has additional or severe symptoms that could indicate some kind of illness.