Tips for Teething

Teething is a difficult time for both babies and parents so any help or advice is usually welcome. One of the biggest issues for parents is whether their baby is ill or has started teething. The reason for asking this is that many of the signs of teething are similar to those for a cold or viral infection.

So, it helps to know what to look for when deciding between the two.

Teething gum test

The classic way of finding out if your baby is teething or not is the 'gum test'. This involves you (gently) running your finger along the edge of your little one's gums. If you feel a slight ridge or notice a couple of small bumps then these are signs that the milk teeth are about to come through. Another sign is pinky red and swollen tissue around the site of a ready-to-emerge tooth or a bluish coloured blister on the gum. This blister forms above the area where a tooth is due to break through. But if your baby has a fever (anything over 38C), is coughing and sneezing, has yellow or green mucus running from their nose and appears to be getting worse then contact your GP. These are all signs of an infection.

If your little one has developed an obsession in chewing and chomps on anything he/she gets her hands on (which includes you) then this indicates that he/she is teething. This is particularly the case if it is accompanied by tiredness, swollen gums, excessive dribbling, loss of appetite and general fussiness. Expect your baby to be tearful and clingy at this time.

The one piece of advice we can give is to remain patient and accept that this is an ongoing process. Every baby goes through teething and some will have an easier time than others. Give your baby more attention and cuddles than usual and be prepared for more sleepless nights. Keep a supply of cloths or towels to mop up the extra drool or vomit as some babies are sick during teething. Also expect to change his/her nappy more often than usual! There are various ways of easing the symptoms of teething which include painkillers such as Calpol and Nurofen, teething toys, teething rings, cold flannels to wipe away the extra drool and teething gel for swollen gums.

A bit of 'hands on' care will help such as massaging your baby's gums to ease the soreness or playing music to take his/her attention away from the pain and discomfort.