The first sign of teething? So much drool; so little sleep. Add to that cranky, clingy and weepy behavior and a whole lot of chewing and you know those chompers are coming through. Not sure how to soothe a teething baby? We’ve rounded up our best tips to ease your child’s discomfort.
1. Rub baby’s gums. Wash your hands, and then give your baby a gentle gum massage. The pressure from your fingers will counter the pressure of the teeth breaking through. It will feel good and offer your little one some relief from sore, swollen gums.
2. Refrigerate a pacifier. Chilling a pacifier will make it even more soothing and may lightly numb the gums to dull the pain.
3. Wear baby-safe (and baby-approved!) teething necklaces. Teething necklaces look stylish and give your child an easy-to-grab item to gnaw on. Check out our roundup of some of the most stylish teething jewelry.
4. Try teething drops. Teething drops can be a life-saver for sleep-deprived parents. Ask your pediatrician for recommended products.
5. Make milk popsicles. Some babies and toddlers refuse to eat while teething, mostly out of discomfort. Keep your little one fed and hydrated while soothing those gums by making milk or formula popsicles. Use BPA-free popsicle forms and fill with either breastmilk or formula. Popsicles can get messy as they start to melt, so slip a bib on your babe and place them on a washable towel or blanket, or over flooring that can be cleaned easily.
6. Serve frozen apple chunks. Cut a large piece of apple, let it chill in the freezer for an hour or more, and offer it to your baby. As with all foods and toys that your child gums on, stay close by to make sure no pieces break off, which could present a choking hazard. A frozen bagel works too. Place frozen fruit in a mesh feeder to reduce choking risk.
7. Try different types of teethers. As you know, babies have strong preferences on lots of things, and teethers are no exception. For shopping help, check out our list of top teethers, from wood and rubber options to teethers you can freeze for cooling comfort.
8. Wear your baby as much as possible. If your teething tot is clingy, strap them into a structured carrier, facing inward. They'll feel comfort from being close to you, and you can still get things done. Win-win.
9. Keep baby’s face dry. Wiping the waterfall of drool that comes with teething from your baby’s mouth, chin and cheeks helps prevent skin irritation, which can add to a baby's discomfort during teething time.
10. Freeze a wet, textured washcloth. Moisten a textured washcloth, wring it dry, and place in the freezer before giving it to your baby. Terrycloth or a ribbed texture will offer added relief by creating friction as baby gnaws on it.
11. Refrigerate a small spoon. A spoon is something your child can hold on their own, chew on, push against their gums, and even play with to distract themselves from teething pain. Keep a few spoons in the fridge so you always have one at the ready. Those new teeth can really sneak up on you.
12. Serve chilled purees. Put pureed foods in the refrigerator prior to feeding your baby so the food is cool on their gums. It will feel nice and may encourage your child to eat more.
13. Become a chew toy. Wash your hands in cold water and then offer a chilled pinky for your child to gum on. You can also show your child how to gum on their own fingers, to help them self-soothe.
14. Give your child a foot massage. Studies in reflexology have identified connections between toes and the head and teeth. Gently massage your child’s foot while focusing on the toes to see if that provides any comfort.
15. Offer extra cuddles. Cuddles are the best treatment. If you're nursing, offer the breast more often than usual to ensure your baby is nourished and to provide additional comfort. Bottle feeding? Snuggle during and after feeding time.