The timing differs for everyone, but most babies will start to show teeth around the age of 6 months. The first to appear are usually the two bottom front teeth, followed by the two top front teeth. You can usually tell when your first child starts teething, as he or she might start to drool more, chew on solid objects or act a lot crankier. But you don't have to sit by and watch helplessly as your child copes with sore, tender gums. There are many tips and tricks you can use to help soothe the pain and make your baby more comfortable. Try these 10 tricks.
The simplest thing you can do to help your baby's gums feel better is give them a light massage. The easiest way is to use a clean finger to apply light pressure to the gums, but you can also use a piece of moistened gauze or a washcloth to ease his or her discomfort.
2. Cold objects
Cold will feel good against your baby's inflamed gums and can help reduce the swelling. There are a number of objects you can place in the freezer for a few minutes to get the right temperature, like pacifiers, teething rings, spoons or even a washcloth. Some moms freeze washcloths with a mix of water and juice, milk or chamomile tea and tie one end in a knot for extra chewiness. Just don't give your baby something that's actually frozen, as extreme cold can be harmful.
3. Frozen fruit
Fruits don't usually get completely solid when you freeze them. Give your child small pieces of frozen bananas, strawberries, melon and watermelon to chew on. It's a great way to provide some relief while giving your baby a nutritious snack. If it's hot out, popsicles count in this category too, and you can easily make your own healthy versions with fruit juice.
4. Hard foods
Some babies like having a big piece of something hard to chew on, like a chilled cucumber or carrot. Gnawing on it will feel good and taste good, but you'll have to keep an eye out just in case pieces break off, as they could be choking hazards.
Sometimes the pain is enough to keep your child from sleeping well, which could result in a lot of tears and fussiness. If your child's health care provider is OK with it, try giving your child a pain reliever like children's acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Some doctors recommend using a cotton swab to rub the liquid directly on the gums.
6. Almond or vanilla extract
Almond and vanilla extract can help relieve some of the discomfort from teething, and they taste good, too! Place a drop of the liquid on a cotton swab and rub your baby's gums with it. This can be repeated as often as necessary.
Now's a good time to get your child acquainted with the feel of a toothbrush in his or her mouth – a small brush is one of the things you need for a new baby. Your child can chew on the brush to his or her heart's content, but be on the lookout for choking or pulling bristles out with any teeth that have already come in.
8. Teething ring
A teething ring is a tried and true toy for your child to chew on. Some of today's models even vibrate, which feels good and gives your baby a nice distraction from the pain he or she feels inside the mouth.
9. Frozen yogurt
Frozen yogurt is a healthier alternative to ice cream, and some types of yogurt come in kid-friendly tubes that you can freeze yourself and give to your child for an easy snack.
10. Ginger snaps
Try giving your child a ginger snap to suck on – the ginger can help soothe inflammation and it'll taste yummy, too.