Teething Tots: How to Keep Your Baby Well Fed When Breaking in Teeth
June 11, 2014
It’s never easy watching your baby drool and stick her hands in her mouth to cope with the pain of teething. As those cute little teeth break through, your little one may not know how to relieve her sore gums and alleviate the pain.
Beyond crankiness, drooling and loose stools, your baby may also cut back on feedings and eating solids when coping with new teeth breaking through.
Ensure that your baby is well fed and comfortable with these teething remedies that are said to soothe the pain during this pivotal developmental stage.
The Basics of Teething
According to the medical experts at the Mayo Clinic, most babies begin teething around 6 months of age. “The two bottom front teeth (lower central incisors) are usually the first to appear, followed by the two top front teeth (upper central incisors),” the experts explain.
You may notice that your baby has the following symptoms when teeth are trying to break through:
- Chewing on solid objects
- Irritability or crankiness
- Sore or tender gums
Although loose stools and fevers are often associated with teething, the Mayo Clinic says this is simply not true. Teething can cause signs and symptoms in the mouth and gums — but not elsewhere in the body.
Soothing the Pain
If your teething baby is pushing away food and having sleepless nights, finding a remedy to soothe his gums can help.
The experts at the Mayo Clinic recommend the following:
- Rub your baby’s gums: Use a clean finger, moistened gauze pad or a damp washcloth to massage your baby’s gums. The pressure can ease your baby’s discomfort.
- Offer frozen teethers: Cold or frozen objects can help soothe the pain. Place a teething ring or damp washcloth in the freezer and let your little one gnaw on it. Add a healthy twist to this remedy by placing frozen fruit in a mesh bag and let your baby suck on it to relieve gum and tooth pain.
- Try hard foods: If your baby is eating solid foods, you might offer something edible for gnawing. A chilled carrot or peeled cucumber may keep her busy, comfortable and well fed during the teething stage. Make sure that you are closely monitoring your little one when she is eating hard foods, though, because any pieces that break off could pose a choking hazard
- Dry the drool: Excessive drooling is part of the teething process. To prevent skin irritation, keep a clean cloth handy to dry your baby’s chin.
- Try an over-the-counter remedy: If your baby is especially cranky, acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others) might help, according to the Mayo Clinic. Avoid teething medications that contain the pain reliever benzocaine. Benzocaine products have been associated with methemoglobinemia — a rare but serious condition that reduces the amount of oxygen in the blood. Before using over-the-counter remedies, it is important to consult with your pediatrician to ensure it is the best option for your baby.
To encourage your child to eat, you can also use food as a teether; just be careful that you don’t overfeed your child.
Something cold to eat could encourage your child to resume a normal feeding schedule while obtaining some relief from teething. Try any of the following foods:
- Bagel: Tear off small pieces of a cold bagel and let your child suck on it while obtaining the carbs and nutrients he needs
- Frozen Banana: The cold exterior will help soothe your child’s gums while the mushy interior will provide your little one with vitamins and potassium.
- Fresh Fruits and Vegetables: Any type of food that is a little hard on the outside but soft on the inside will do the trick by providing your child with a hard surface to soothe the gums and a soft texture to swallow. Make sure, though, when feeding your child fresh fruits and vegetables, that you cut them up into small pieces and monitor your baby for signs of choking.
Although you can’t completely take the pain away as discomfort from teething is inevitable, you can help your baby gain the nutrients he needs and give him a little TLC along the way.
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