Teething can be just as stressful for parents as babies, as the increased amount of discomfort can lead to a great deal of crying and distress. Babies who are teething may sleep less or show little interest in eating. Thankfully, there are a number of simple things that you can do to ease your baby's teething pain and bring relief to everyone involved.
Pacifiers can be used to soothe distressed gums by cooling them down in the fridge beforehand. The principle is similar to applying ice to a pulled or strained muscle, as it helps cut down on inflammation. Make sure that you do not freeze the pacifier, as this can be painful and cause more distress than relief. Look for pacifiers that are specifically designed for teething or explicitly state that they can be chilled, which can be found at most baby stores. Alternatively, chilled spoons or teething rings can be used.
In a similar vein, feeding your baby cool or cold foods can have a therapeutic effect on gum inflammation. Things like cold applesauce and other soft foods can work wonders, and can help make feeding times much easier as your baby's teething pain is reduced. Avoid hard foods, even if they're cold, as this can increase discomfort. Soft, mushy solids, like bananas or apples, can provide relief if your baby is on a solid diet.
Massaging the inflamed area on your baby's gums can help bring some relief to teething pain. Again, to use the pulled muscle analogy, a massage can help reduce inflammation and provide some degree of comfort. Use your clean finger or soak a washcloth in cool water and apply a light amount of pressure to the area where teeth are coming in. Take care to not use too much pressure, as this can increase discomfort.
There are a number of different medications available for babies who are suffering from severe teething pain. Some medicines are topical and are applied directly to the gums to provide relief at the source of the discomfort. However, if your baby is drooling significantly during their teething phase, this medication can simply be washed away. Painkillers are another alternative, which can increase comfort levels and make it easier for your baby to eat. Medication should be a last resort, of course, and you should always consult with a pediatrician (such as one from Stones River Dental) to ensure that the medication that your baby is given is safe.