There is no way to know exactly when to expect your baby’s first tooth / teeth. For some it can be as early as three months, for others as late as seven months or older. Nevertheless, symptoms tend to appear weeks, sometimes months, before the first tooth emerges. The red cheeks, the drool - so much drool – and your little one putting everything into their mouth are sure signs that teeth are on the way.
Having a teething baby can be challenging for both baby and parents – the interrupted sleep patterns, changes to feeding, the consistency and frequency of number two nappy changes (!) and, well, the poor wee things can generally just be out of sorts. One thing that we do know is that the most painful part of teething is when the tooth is cutting the baby’s gum. Once you start to see the tooth / teeth, you can be rest assured that the worst is over……. well that’s until the next set of teeth start to come through…..
With regard to catching dribble, LOMIE muslin Scarf Bibs are the ticket. They are soft on your baby’s skin and super absorbent, keeping your baby free of dribble rash. But if you’re looking for ways to soothe your baby’s sore mouth, please read on for some handy hints. They use items from within the home and are ones which we personally found helpful to get our son’s smile back. All should be undertaken with adult supervision.
1. Cool their mouths down
Giving babies something cold to suck, or chew on, can provide a numbing sensation and help relieve pain. Here are a few easy tips to soothe your little ones mouths down by cooling it down:
- A cold spoon
- A frozen muslin, flannel or washcloth
Soak three quarters of a clean, small muslin square in cooled boiled water, keeping one corner dry for your baby to hold on to. Wring it out and fold it carefully to not get the dry end wet. Pop it into a freezer-safe bag and pop it in your freezer for up to an hour – until it becomes cold and stiff. Help your baby hold onto the dry part and then let them chew. I’ve not tried it personally, but I’ve also read that the above can be repeated using chamomile tea (make sure it’s decaffeinated). Chamomile has been used as an herbal remedy for thousands of years in a number of cultures. It is naturally calming and can help settle your baby.
- Frozen breastmilk
Pour breastmilk into an ice cube tray, and freeze. Wrap the frozen cube in muslin cloth before giving to your baby to hold on to. There won’t be any unfamiliar flavours, and the texture of the muslin with the cool cube will be soothing.
2. A gum massage
Applying pressure to your little one’s gums can also help in relieving teething pain. Firstly, make sure your hands are clean, then using the pad of your finger rub in a circular motion all along the gum line on the inside of your baby's mouth. You can do this both inside and outside along the jawline.
Something to chew on is sometimes the only teething remedy a baby really needs to get through the pain of teething. Natural teething rusks are great for those babies old enough for solids. They are very firm and dense and so babies can naw away on them over a long period of time. I found it very difficult to find rusks, off the shelf, that weren’t loaded with sugar (even organic brands, I mean wtaf, why?).
So, here’s a great easy recipe to make them at home:
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup finely ground oatmeal
- 2 Tbs coconut oil
- 1 mashed banana
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 5-8 Tbs water
- Preheat oven at 180 degrees Celcius.
- Combine all ingredients well in a bowl. Roll on a floured surface & cut into fingers (adult sized fingers rather than baby sized ones! i.e. large enough to not be a choke hazard). If the dough is a little too sticky to handle, pat a little flour onto the exterior to make it easier to handle. If the dough is a little too dry, add a little more coconut oil.
- Bake for 10 minutes, then turn & bake for a further 5-10 minutes. The edges should be starting to become golden & the centres set.
- Allow to cool completely.
- Store in an airtight container at room temperature - or in the fridge to also have a cooling sensation.
4. A frozen mango pip
Again, this is only recommended for babies old enough for solid foods and once fruits have been introduced. Freeze a mango pip, with a small amount of flesh remaining, and present it to you baby a couple of minutes out of the freezer, so it’s not too cold. This can be a little messy, but it’s a fun, soothing and sensory-rich activity for the wee one. Mango is also rich in Vitamins A & C, with the pulp providing fibre.
5. A big cuddle
Teething is a tough time for babies. They are feeling uncomfortable and out of sorts. It’s not uncommon that they could refuse all options listed above. Sometimes all they need is a cuddle. When you think about it, if you feel a bit under the weather all you really want is a nice cuddle and a snuggle on the sofa right? A cuddle can make a big difference. Distraction is a great technique too and so playing games and trying to take their mind off things could also help.