If you can imagine the worst tooth ache you have ever had, coupled with a headache and ear ache and times that by 3… that’s what your tiny little baby is feeling when teething. Teething can cause so much distress for baby and parents alike. The common signs of teething are biting and drooling but unfortunately that’s not all your baby may feel when going through active teething.
Active teething is when your baby’s teeth are cutting through the layers of their gums. Once you see the teeth break through the skin, the pain will usually start to subside. A great way to tell if your baby is teething is to put your finger on his gums and rub for a minute. Babies are born with an instinct to suck so if your baby sucks on your finger, then he’s probably not feeling much pain from teething. However, if your baby tries to bite down or grind on your finger while it’s pressed on his gums, then he is probably actively teething and experiencing some discomfort.
If your baby is actively teething he may show signs of being agitated and grumpy and this is common for a teething baby and… this is common for any adult who is feeling discomfort! Your baby will drool much more than usual, sometimes causing little pimples or a rash on his face. Some parents will notice baby tugging at his ear or hair and commonly mistake this reaction as an ear infection or headache. Pain from teething can travel up the face to the ear and the head and cause baby to react by tugging and pulling in those locations. Some moms have noticed babies refuse feedings when teething and again this is common because baby is experiencing pain in his mouth and will often associate anything near his mouth as the reason for the pain
My favorite way of helping a baby through teething pain is by tossing a wet facecloth in the freezer and letting baby chew and bite down on the cloth for a few minutes. This will not only help wear down the skin faster and allow the tooth to break through sooner, but it will also numb his gums to help relieve some pain. This is great to do before feeds and sleeps to help baby feel less pain. Teethers and traditional medicinal methods will also work but it’s important to always check with your doctor before offering any medication to ensure you are treating the right problem.
Usually teething happens for a few days and then will give you a break before the next tooth starts but sometimes you do get back to back teeth, and the teething process can take a few weeks. Comfort your baby, offer him relief and be understanding that his mood may be different until the pain subsides.
Debbie Fazio is a Baby Parenting Coach. She is a Certified Doula, Newborn Care Specialist, Happiest Baby instructor and the ONLY Board Certified Sleep Consultant in Canada. You can reach her on Twitter, Facebook, visit her website or ask the question below.