By Vicki Thrasher Cronin
Licensed Parent Educator, Pre-K Teacher
Things seem to be rolling along pretty smoothly all in all and then one day your baby seems to be more cranky and more difficult to comfort. This may be the beginning of the teething phenomenon. And everyone you know will have some information about teething for you! Talk with your baby’s doctor and do some research, including a conversation with your mother. Ask her about your teething experience and what soothed you. The teething experience has a genetic link to it!
From the askdrsears website: “Actually babies don't ‘cut teeth,’ nor do teeth ‘erupt.’ Teeth slowly slide and twist their way through gum tissue. But sharp teeth pushing through sensitive gums do hurt, and babies protest.” Select the link to kidshealth.org, for practical tips for dealing with teething:
• Wipe your baby's face often with a cloth to remove the drool and prevent rashes from developing.
• Give your baby something to chew on. Make sure it's big enough so that he or she can't swallow it and that it can't break into small pieces. A wet washcloth placed in the freezer for 30 minutes makes a handy teething aid - just be sure to wash it after each use. Rubber teething rings are also good, but avoid the ones with liquid inside because they may break. If you use a teething ring, be sure to take it out of the freezer before it becomes rock hard - you don't want to bruise those already swollen gums!
• Rub your baby's gums with a clean finger.
• Never tie a teething ring around a baby's neck, as it could get caught on something and strangle the baby.
• If your baby seems irritable, acetaminophen may help - but always consult your child's doctor first. Never place an aspirin against the tooth, and don't rub whiskey on your baby's gums.
Your baby will have her own style of teething. And, while it may resemble yours (ask your mother), comforting your baby will require your patience, creativity and compassion. Before you decide to use any kind of pain reliever or numbing product, be sure to discuss the product with your baby’s doctor. The best way for your baby may well be to ride out the teething phenomenon on a day-by-day basis, reminding yourself that this, too, shall pass!