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Watching your baby going through the teething stage can be tough. Here are our top tips, so you can be prepared with all the facts and essential products
How do I know if my baby's teething?
There are lots of signs that your baby is teething. The most common are dribbling and drooling, flushed cheeks and trying to gnaw on anything that comes near them – even your hand! They also might pull on the ear of the affected side. Cutting teeth can be an uncomfortable process for babies and for parents too. But thankfully there are lots of things you can do to help them through this phase.
Tips to soothe sore gums
First, try rubbing your own clean finger over the affected area to soothe it. Just the rubbing action may help ease the pressure of a tooth pressing on the gum. If you don't have a teething toy to hand, pop a flannel dampened with water in the fridge to cool a little, then give it to your baby to chew on.
Teething rings and toys come in all shapes and sizes – rings, stars, bears, balls, giraffes and more. Check the teethers are BPA-, PVC- and phthalate-free, which could be harmful to babies. It's also a good idea to choose ones without a liquid filling, to avoid risk of leaks. Cool temperatures are soothing to sore gums, so you could put the teether in the fridge before giving it to the baby for a double soothing strategy.
Teething in older babies
If your baby is weaned, you could give them soft foods, such as a banana or cucumber, to chew on. Again, pop them in the fridge first for a double soother. Always supervise babies with teething toys, flannels, food or other teething items.
Medicines and homeopathic remedies
You can give a baby who is three months or older baby paracetamol to ease discomfort. Follow the dosage instructions on the label. If you prefer to try a homeopathic remedy, try teething granules and powders, which come in small sachets ready to be poured into the baby's mouth.
There are several teething gels available with a local anaesthetic action that works to numb the area slightly and relieve soreness. Simply massage a small blob of product onto the affected area, following the dosage instructions that come with the product.
How long does teething last?
Every child is different. Some babies are born with a tooth, others may not cut a tooth until after their first birthday. Also, bear in the mind it's only the pushing through the gums that is painful, which only takes a few days, and that not all the teeth will hurt. As soon as you can see the tooth, it shouldn't be hurting your baby any more. By the time your child is three, they will probably have all 20 of their first teeth.
By Anna Penniceard