So, your little one is settling into a routine, sleeping a bit more and dropping a few (if not all) night feeds and you’re even starting to think that maybe, just maybe you’re getting to grips with parenting – cue teething!  Whilst some babies may breeze through the appearance of their first teeth, for others it can be the cause of distress and discomfort and for you a return to sleepless nights.

Teething symptoms

  • A barely noticeable rise in temperature may occur immediately before a tooth erupts. Any feverishness will be due to another condition and must be reported to your doctor
  • Your baby may be a little irritable, sleep less well and require more attention for a night or two. But teething will not cause hours of prolonged screaming
  • Your baby’s gums may look a darker pink and bumpy

Teething is NOT thought to be responsible for:

  • Excessive dribbling and the desire to chew anything he can lay his hands on. Most experts now believe both these symptoms are natural stages in oral development as opposed to teething itself.
  • A red cheek rash or small red area on a young baby’s cheeks. Although traditionally put down to teething, this is now being queried by some dental experts. They suggest it may be caused by a virus which can affect the lining of a baby’s mouth, and sometimes cause quite severe symptoms

Coping with teething discomfort

You may need to give your baby lots of extra cuddles and attention when he is teething.  There are lots of ways to try and help their discomfort:

  • Offer a dry, unsweetened rusk to chew on
  • Give a clean, gel-filled teething ring, cooled in the fridge to relieve his tingling gums. Do not place the ring in the freezer or dip it in honey
  • Use a barrier cream on his chin, to help prevent soreness from continual dribbling
  • Apply a teething gel with a clean finger. This may numb the gum and give temporary relief. The disadvantage of such gels is that their application may introduce infection into baby’s mouth and some babies may be allergic to the local anaesthetic they contain
  • Try regular sips of cooled, boiled water If your baby is restless or fretful from teething, give him a dose of a sugar-free paracetamol suspension suitable for babies. If this doesn’t soothe him, talk to your GP or health visitor as your baby may be unwell for another reason
  • Homeopathic teething granules seem to help some babies.